Blagojevich sentenced: An American Dream squandered

Blagojevich sentenced: An American Dream squandered
Rod Blagojevich

The ex-governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is going to jail.

To me, what is most tragic is how the son and grandson of immigrants deceived his constituents and squandered his American Dream.

He came from humble roots. His father was Serbian and survived a Nazi prison camp during WWII. His mother was the child of immigrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Blagojevich was a friend to immigrants. He supported the creation of a state immigration policy office in 2005 and Welcoming Centers for immigrants in 2006. Many of his policies were pro-immigrant.

He wasn't like the governors of Arizona and Alabama, who support laws that would restrict and punish undocumented immigrants in his state.

But this legacy won't be remembered.

What will be remembered is how Blagojevich's greed and corruption drove him to care more about personal gain than he did about the people of Illinois - a state where around 14 percent of the population is foreign-born.

We expect integrity of those we elect to office. We hold them up as role models. To me, it was great to see the son of immigrants win the highest office in the state.

And equally disturbing to see him throw it all away.

In sentencing Blagojevich to 14 years in jail, U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said it best.

“When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily or quickly repaired,” Zagel said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “You did that damage.”

Blagojevich will go to prison on Feb. 16 and he will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence, or almost 12 years in prison.

In the end, Blagojevich said he was sorry. But he qualified that by saying he didn't know he was breaking the law.

I don't buy that explanation and neither did the jury who convicted him.

Blagojevich did speak one truth.

"My children have had to suffer," he said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "I've ruined their innocence….It's not like their name is Smith. They can't hide. I have nobody to blame but myself."

Their dreams are shattered too.


Leave a comment
  • I feel very sorry for the children, but as the judge said today, (paraphrasing) - perhaps if he'd been thinking about his children in the first place he would have acted differently.

  • Teresa ... thank you for writing. I agree with the comment of the judge.

    Please allow me to stridently disagree ... nearly everything about Blago has been calculated and planned ... from his marriage to an alderman's daughter to his choice of jobs to his political career.

    He was a fraud ... and in the end it got him a 14 year sentence, destroyed whatever reputation he had, and sullied his family and extended family.

    Were I a teacher I would devote a class in ethics to the state of Illinois ... not the State ... but the "state of the State." The list is, sadly, long and notorious.

  • Blago has a psychological problem. Tragic! Machine style politics is a dirty dirty business! People will sell out their own mama and people for a a bit of scratch. These clowns sell their soul and their is a social cost. The selling out of our children's education by not protesting mayoral control of schools. Daley and Rahm have made an art of selecting totally incompetent CEO's of schools as measured by any metric in comparison to education policies in real world class public schools. Arne Duncan was a messenger boy under Vallas. He was selected to run CPS! Huberman was even worse and now Brizard's mismanagement of central office is even worse than Huberman's. Brizard is lazy and incompetent. His answer for latinos is hire charters. Time for folks to hold their alderman and the mayor accountable for not supporting schools in a meaningful way.

Leave a comment