Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is an innocent man. At least, that’s what he maintains.
The embattled governor has been accused by federal prosecutors of attempting to sell the Senate seat that was held by President Barack Obama, before his inauguration, to the highest bidder. An FBI investigation, apparently, also found that the governor threatened to withhold money for children’s health care if a hospital executive did not make a contribution to his campaign, as well as his attempt to get several Chicago Tribune editorial writers fired in exchange for state aid for the ailing Tribune Co.
Most recently, the man facing an impeachment trial that starts today was interviewed by NBC’s “Today” show. During the questioning, Blagojevich attempted to relate his situation to that of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi.
A state governor caught on tape auctioning off a U.S. Senate seat, bargaining with children’s health care funds and attempting to quiet the ever-important voice of the fourth estate should not be likened to great heroes of human rights. Mandela, King and Ghandi all fought with their impassioned souls and insatiable hearts to win rights for others. They were challenged because their message of change was hard for many to swallow, but eventually justice had its victory.
No matter what good Blagojevich has done for Illinois during his governorship, his actions that lead to the accusations of corruption and his stubborn refusal to acknowledge his wrongdoings and accept responsibility for them will forever stain his tenure. Heroes of human rights are remembered for their commitment to bettering the lives of people around them, not utilizing their place in society for selfish, greedy gains.
Blagojevich, you’re no Ghandi.