December 11, 2008

Hair Brained: Let's Call a Spade a Spade

blagojevich-scottolson.jpgLincoln. Churchill. Newton. Tolstoy. Vonnegut. Twain.

Names that evoke thoughts of leadership, contemplation, wit, wisdom, and political courage. Names that are separated by decades, centuries, distance, and political ideology.

Yet the one thing they share is a serious issue that's being tossed about with yet another name recently in the news. They all suffered from mental illness.

And according to several "news" reports: so does Ron Blagojevich.

Blagojevich made "a few" bad judgments because "he has some sort of mental problem" [CBS]. The Sun-Times asserts his "glossy locks -- perfectly sculpted in rain or snow -- may be an indication of a sickness beneath his scalp." The Associated Press has even weighed in, "Ill. governor parlor game: Psychotic or political?"


This is intellectually lazy, shitty, shoddy, and flat-out stupid reporting.

Ron Blagojevich's mental state is not at question here. He is accused of abusing his position of power and failing to serve the best interests of people of Illinois. He was arrested for attempting to selfishly manipulate the public trust and for betraying the state (and nation) he swore to protect.

If Blagojevich is ill, I'm not indifferent to his personal pain, but that does not excuse him for what appears to be a blatant attempt to personally benefit at the public's expense. History has shown that great leaders can face and overcome incredible challenges, even when neurons malfunction and dopamine levels fluctuate wildly.

There are countless people, far less famous than Lincoln, Churchill, Newton, Tolstoy, Vonnegut, and Twain who have made great strides to improve the lives of others, to lift up the dreams of the next generation, and to lift their own heads high when serious illness cast a debilitating pall on their lives.

If found guilty, I hope that the millions of people who have overcome serious mental illness are not lump-summed with a man, who whether or not he is ill, is certainly, and unequivocally an asshole.

Posted December 11, 2008 07:13 PM
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