Marolt: Being an obstinate politician is not a crime
I’ve never been a fan of punishment for punishment’s sake. I’ve read “Crime and Punishment.” I’ve studied the Bible. I’ve gotten myself in enough hot water to know that the most painful castigation is self-administered. Nobody can be harder on us than ourselves.
I remember evil deeds I’ve done where it was a relief to finally get caught and take whatever medicine whoever had the authority to administer it decided I deserved. No matter how painful that was, it became the excuse I needed to let myself off the hook I’d hoisted myself upon. At that juncture I could turn my anger on the hangman because whatever he was doing to me was simply cruel and pointless.
You can count me among those who are against retribution. It’s not like I don’t enjoy a good payback as much as the next guy; it’s just that I know it’s not me at my best when I participate in it. After the initial jolt of feeling powerful in exacting revenge I end up in a deep low of feeling generally crappy and realize that what went around came back around at my own hand. It’s not until the person I attacked attacks me back that I start to feel a little better. If they decide to take the high road instead, it can leave me in a funk for days.
Something needs to be done about Chris Jacobson driving his car while drunk, if it is proven that’s what he did. That is an incredibly dangerous offense. We need to make sure he has as little opportunity as possible to do it again and possibly end up hurting or killing himself or someone else. It would be nice if we could help him with some sort of rehabilitation, too, for whatever triggered him to incur such a lapse of judgment. Making our streets safer and helping him to get to a better place in his life are the goals.
Our punishment is not necessary, though. I do not know Jacobson, but the evidence is a pretty good indicator that he is beating himself up severely. The rage, aggression and obstinacy he demonstrated during his arrest and after his incarceration are the manifestation of a man in a fit of self-torture. He knew he messed up in a huge way and it burst forth in a fury of frustration. I’m not excusing his behavior, by the way, I’m just recognizing it for what I think exists as a potential in all of us for making a mistake so large in our lives that we wish above all wishes that we could turn back the clock and just make it all go away.
The recall process is not intended to circumvent the process of justice. We should not insist that it be used to do that here. A recall vote is designed to remedy bad politics, that’s all. For those of you who insist that there has to be some consequence to Jacobson’s actions, I am with you. And, there certainly will be. However, the same as if this happened to you or me, we need to let our justice system decide his fate.
Of course there is the argument that Jacobson is an elected official and public figure should be held to a higher moral and ethical standard than the rest of us. Why would anyone actually expect that of a politician? While I wish that to be true, I certainly don’t presume it. I don’t even trust politicians. Who in this day and age does? I strive to get my spiritual and moral examples from much more reliable sources not susceptible to the influences of political action committees and fast-talking deal makers.
Besides, there is already a mechanism in place to get rid of the feloniously bad actors in office. If a politician is convicted of a serious crime, they lose their elected position. It’s nothing personal. If the laws are too lenient in classifying drunken driving as a felony, then we need to change the laws. Singling out one guy and removing him from Town Council by a political process does nothing to make our roads safer. In fact, the more time we can tie up a guy like this in long, drawn-out meetings the better.
Let’s drop this whole recall waste of time. It’s unnecessarily mean-spirited and divisive. We need to let the court system focus on Chris Jacobson’s drunken and disorderly behavior. The rest of us need to focus on his politics.
Roger Marolt believes politics have become too disingenuous and mean-spirited. And, yes, he knows he is the only one who thinks this. firstname.lastname@example.org
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