I guess nothing should surprise me anymore. But when I read an article in the L.A. Times about six California legislators running for office even though they all have arrest records, my heart sank a little.
Through the years I've lowered my expectations of politicians and have become jaded about even the best. It just seems that mistresses, shady money deals, misuse of public funds, etc etc is now the standard operating procedures for a certain type of politician. That's pretty sad.
The six legislators in the article are all still running for office. Of course, none of them are guilty yet of the crimes they've been accused of because they wisely postponed court dates until after the election. Technically, maybe we shouldn't just assume they are guilty until proven so. As voters do we give them the benefit of the doubt? One assemblyman, Tim Donnelly has admitted guilt already for being caught with a loaded fireman as he went through security at Ontario Airport. He forgot he had the weapon. Aside from him, the rest of the Pols are pleading innocence. I hate to be cynical, but I'm not sure I'm willing to give any of them the benefit of the doubt.
I guess I still have too much idealism about the American system and the standards by which we should hold our leaders. I really like to think that the people we choose to lead us are a little better and smarter than the average person and have our best interests at heart. It used to be that if a politician were arrested and even accused falsely of a crime, they'd either forfeit their office or pull out of an election. Now, apparently, it's full speed ahead no matter what.
It's not my place to judge these six "innocent" politicians. They may all prove to be exonerated of all charges. So what next? Do they still deserve our trust? Can we expect them to raise themselves up to higher ideals or will they just get better at hiding their hidden agendas and crimes?
California is not in a unique position. Virtually every other state has this problem with elected officials and the last statistic I read, several members of Congress are in some state of arrest, investigation of court case concerning the breaking of laws. As a voter who really just wants the best for his country, I'm really not sure where we go from here!