I see that the previous governor of the Great State of Alibam has been handed a seven year prison term by the Yankee government. [Link] The former chief executive officer of the corrupt HealthSouth corporation was given a lesser sentence but a greater fine.
There seem to be several lessons in this affair that appear to be rooted in politics. The most obvious of these is the greater sentence handed down to the former governor than to the corporate oligarch. The rationale for this will likely be that the crime was greater for the former governor as an elected official enjoying the public trust.
One has to question that attitude. I remember viewing a television address by an Alibam governor, who was clearly inebriated at the time, declaiming that he was a crook but he was the peoples’ crook. I fear that the young age when I saw this and what I have seen since have ingrained this into my view of state and lower, if not federal, government. The issue is not whether elected politicians will steal and do wrong, but whether they will do so in the execution of their duties.
Sadly, this latter qualification is often difficult to ascertain. The former state chief executive claims that he took a “donation” from the former CEO so he could retire a debt incurred in association with the governor’s attempt to enact lottery legislation. A vision that an education lottery will benefit the state is one of the former governor’s core concepts that has been consistently rejected by the superstition and mysticism ridden electorate of the state. The matter has nothing to do with any logic or analysis but has been solely determined by often hypocritical religious beliefs that one makes an individual decision whether one gambles but imposes a ban on all others doing so. Hence the popularity of other states’ lotteries throughout Alibam.
In this regard it is unclear whether there is any substantive difference between the current and former governors other than political party. That the current governor has engaged in questionable contracting practices that have enriched the state’s corporate oligarchs is common knowledge. There is also little doubt that the incumbent has spent more taxpayer money on advertising his improvements than has been spent on the improvements themselves. It is thus unclear if he has been as diligent in fulfilling the public’s trust as his predecessor. The most obvious difference is their political affiliation.
It also seems noteworthy that the corporate oligarch received less incarceration but a greater monetary penalty. Given the holdings of the two however, the greater fine was a lesser one fractionally. Hence the obvious criminal here receives the lesser sentence overall. Aside from the clear criminal or at lest, self serving, intent, the only obvious differences here are political affiliation and personal wealth.
There may be some lessons to be learned here. The obvious one is that health care needs to be divorced from the profit marketplace. The second is that perhaps we need a law somewhat akin to that of the English that an elected official cannot be held liable to petty legal offenses committed during their term?
Or maybe we need a way to dispose of political parties entirely?
Powered by ScribeFire.