I actually feel sorry for Rod Blagojevich. On March 15th, he reports to prison for 14 years.
I know. I know. Call me crazy. But I have pity for the former governor.
I feel bad for Blago’s family. He has to leave his wife and children for being an Illinois politician.
Trust me, in no way am I advocating for the things Blago did. He broke the law and every Illinois politician that breaks the law should be subject to Pat Fitzgerald’s reach.
But my softened feelings for the former governor show that his media blitz following his arrest was nothing short of absurd, shortsighted and ill conceived. Blagojevich went on every New York based national show, while WLS-AM gave him his own show so he could blast away at prosecutors vowing that when he had the opportunity to tell his story he would be vindicated.
For a good six months, it seemed like the airwaves– both television and radio– was Blago’s personal reality show. We couldn’t get away from him as his voice, arguments and hair sullied our state. Blago did not find a microphone he didn’t like; he was Eric B. & Rakim’s "Microphone Fiend" (except he wasn’t music orientated– but I digress). And most, if not all of us, were hoping he would be found guilty and get 14 years so we would not have to hear from him until 2026.
Now that he has left all the microphones– or the microphones left him– I feel bad for him. And it shows his media blitz was exactly the wrong approach. I wonder if it would have been different for him, if after his arrest he simply said he looks forward for the chance to be vindicated in a court of law as he is innocent of all charges and left it at that. Then his wife, through tears, could go on Oprah to discuss the effect his arrest and removal from office had on his family. Had he played the sympathy card, would the public have wanted him to go away as bad as we did?
I’m playing could have/should have and it doesn’t matter. Blagojevich abused his power and now he has to spend 14 years away form his family to pay for it.
Fourteen years is a long time. Fourteen years ago was 1998. Think about how much time has passed since March 1998:
We didn’t know (or didn’t care) about steroids in baseball and Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire had their then historic race for the single season home run record.
Michael Jordan was still a Chicago Bull– and the Bulls had only won five championships.
Walter Payton was still alive and the Chicago Bears were only 12 years removed from their Super Bowl Championship.
The Cubs were only 90 years removed from a World Series win.
Bill Clinton was president of the United States. We just learned Monica Lewinsky existed.
We were not familiar with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda; September 11th didn’t happen for another three and a half years.
The internet didn’t exist in the way it does today. Google was just starting up but the public didn’t know about it. Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, was in junior high.
Star Wars Episodes I, II and III had yet to be released.
Personally, I was a 25 year old law student. In 14 years, I have matured into a lawyer, husband and father of two. It’s frightening to think of how much my life has changed in 14 years.
And maybe that’s why I pity Blago. Not only has the world significantly changed, but our lives have changed with it. His life will stop for fourteen years when he reports to prison, while the lives of the ones he loves will continue without him.
Filed under: Illinois Politics