Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Electoral politics brings out the tackiest of gallows humor in some people

The next week is going to provide certain people amongst us with a field day for their sick, twisted jokes about our political state.
RYAN: Soon to be free (sort of)

You know who you are. The ones who can’t resist a chance to take a pot shot at former Gov. George Ryan and anyone else whose name they can manage to tie into his.

HOW MANY PEOPLE have derived a gag (and an attempted laugh) at the thought of Ryan and our other convicted former Governor, Rod Blagojevich, being cellmates or being assigned to some miserly duty in the prison yard?

That never happened – what with Ryan doing his time at the minimum-security work camp connected to the maximum-security federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., and Blagojevich winding up at that facility out in Colorado!

But it was this week that former political powerbroker William Cellini finally surrendered himself to federal officials, where he was then sent to the very same minimum-security facility where Ryan is being held.

For the time being.

YOU PEOPLE CAN have your jokes about how the mighty-and-powerful have fallen and are now sharing space in the same federal facility.

Perhaps it is a sign of how far the Republican Party has fallen, since back in the days when they were significant and Mighty! and capable of actually getting things done, it was with people like Ryan in charge, with people like Cellini using his business acumen to raise the money that those candidates used to pay for their campaigns.
CELLINI: Soon to be prison power-broker?

Which then made them indebted to Cellini – which was the source of his power. He had the ability to tell people with power how they should use it.

Now, they two of them are a punch line, rotting away at a Bureau of Prisons facility in a southwestern Indiana community where “God” is spelled “L-A-R-R-Y B-I-R-D.”

HE DID, AFTER all, play his college ball at nearby Indiana State University.

But back to Ryan and Cellini – who aren’t going to be prison-mates for long. For Ryan is on the verge of leaving the facility where he has spent nearly six of what should have been his “Golden” years.

Ryan’s prison term is scheduled to end July 4. But in accordance with standard prison policy, inmates can be released to a half-way house a few months early as part of an effort to re-acclimate those individuals to the outside world – which has changed quite a bit since Ryan went away.

And the Chicago Sun-Times reported recently that Ryan’s date for release – possibly to a facility on the West Side – is one week from Wednesday.

ALREADY, I HAVE been reading the gripes from those individuals who are determined to believe that any sort of release for Ryan is a political favor of sorts.

As though the only way those individuals will be pleased is if they learn of a report that Ryan was killed during a prison riot. Then again, they’ll probably gripe that it wasn’t violent enough.

If it sounds like I hold a lot of Ryan’s critics in contempt, you’d be accurate.

It just seems like certain people are determined to let their venom flow to extraordinary levels when it comes to our former governor from the Kankakee area. Which kind of saddens me.

THAT IS A lot of hatred they have built up, and it likely is preventing them from getting on with their own lives and achieving something of significance.

And while I’ll admit that even all these years later, a part of me is skeptical about the nature of the charges for which Ryan was convicted, I accept that a jury reached its verdict that has been upheld by various appeals courts.

Ryan did his time. Just as Cellini is about to do his (he owes the federal government about one year, and should be free by 2014). Those of us who feel compelled to spew disgust about this situation ought to look more intensely at ourselves.

For while I’m the first person to admit I can appreciate the humor of a tacky situation, the overkill we’re going to hear in coming weeks and months is something that will leave me in dismay.


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