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article imageOp-Ed: DeLay’s sentence - One down, a herd to go

By Lynn Herrmann     Jan 11, 2011 in Politics
Washington - Tom DeLay, once known as “The Hammer” in his former role as House Majority Leader, was sentenced on Monday to three years in the slammer for his conviction on conspiracy charges and money laundering, reducing by one the herd of corrupt politicians.
The sentencing, subject to an appeal, of course, came after DeLay insisted he was innocent, and more importantly, he was “not stupid.” Perhaps not stupid, just not clever enough. Then, again...
Speaking on the subject of abuse of power, and being one who would know, DeLay, in front of a group of reporters back in November, after his conviction, said: “This is an abuse of power. It’s a miscarriage of justice, and I still maintain that I am innocent. The criminalization of politics undermines our very system and I’m very disappointed in the outcome.”
To be sure, the real disappointment is not that he was convicted, but that he was only sentenced to three years for his crime. Three years out of a possible 99. That’s not a bad at-bat, even for a convicted felon. It remains to be seen whether he will serve a single day behind bars.
Being the white collar guy that he is, it is certain he will not be put behind bars with hardened criminals of the blue collar variety. But that’s another disappointment for another time, and no doubt, a disappointment for those blue-collar hardened criminal types as well.
Another disappointment lies in the fact that while he has been convicted and sentenced, there are hundreds more just like him, roaming the halls of Congress, free to do as they choose, with little regard for their constituents, regardless of what they might say to us.
Their real constituency lies within the realm of corporate power. It is not the voting public subjected to electronic voting machines and dangling chads and missions accomplished and hope-and-change and progress being made and the improving economy and once-again sky-rocketing gasoline prices who is their constituency.
In his too-little too-late moment just after the sentencing on Monday, down in Austin, Texas, DeLay addressed the court, saying: “I always intended to follow the law. I’m not stupid. Everything I did I had accountants and lawyers telling me what to do and how to follow the letter of the law, even the spirit of the law.”
These words of remorse coming from a control freak have little merit. They came from the mouth of the man who was once the most-feared politician in Washington, until Dick Cheney robbed him of that title.
But DeLay was yesterday. At this point, it is safe to say the hammer has fallen.
Today we are faced with another dilemma: the hope and change guy who is confirming with each passing day that the politics of Washington is a den of vipers and that there is no line of demarcation.
That confirmation is not just seen in his campaign promises on Guantanamo, on Iraq, on Afghanistan, or on tax cuts for the insanely rich. It’s not even just seen in his promises on environmental protections.
It is seen in record numbers of drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, maiming and killing countless innocents. It is seen in the record number of Americans facing the yet-to-be-felt weight of a foreclosure crisis. It is seen in the record number of unemployed, many living with friends and family members as they desperately fight off the slow but certain grip of poverty. It is seen in the untold story of short sales sweeping the country in epidemic proportions while news organizations spout the government's version of economic recovery.
It is seen in the record number of people on the government’s SNAP program, or, if you’re upper crust or even think you’re upper crust, it’s the lowly food stamps program. It is seen in the fact that being president in America today no longer requires leadership skills, even of the most basic variety. It is seen in a president’s weekly address using the allegiance-inspiring “admirable example” phrase while his administration authorizes the use of torture and solitary confinement for a lowly military private who is alleged, not charged, to have turned over documents to a whistleblowing publishing website.
This, naturally, leads to another issue clearly seen. While the Department of Justice continues its erosion of the Constitution, specifically a first amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech and a free press, its moves of desperation at shutting down Wikileaks is met with signs of complacency by the US media. In essence, the press is taking a wait and see attitude over government maneuvers that will ultimately cost many in that field their jobs. By that point, the damage will be complete.
Collectively, the majority of voters in the 2008 general election have been forced, like it or not, to swallow the bitter pill of deceit. Whether that majority of voters care to admit this simple fact is another matter. Whether they choose to stand up and do anything about it is highly doubtful.
Our escalating war budget, supported by a vast majority of inhabitants in the above-mentioned snake pit, is now fueled by unlimited campaign contributions and a mainstream press that has become as worthless as the politicians they speak for.
As that herd in Washington continues its assault on American values, hopes and dreams, think of the country as the world’s vortex of disaster.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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