Friday, December 12, 2008

Watch List: George Ryan's Statement

The following is a public statement issued this evening by former Illinois Governor George Ryan (R) who is seeking a commutation of sentence from President Bush:
I must say something that I have known in my heart has been a long time coming. And that is a truly heartfelt apology to the people of Illinois. It has been a difficult journey for me to get to this point, as I truly believed in my service to the people, but it was less than my best, and for that I am sorry.
I want to make things right in my heart with God, with my family, and with those that I have hurt. As a former public official, a husband, a father, and a grandfather, I apologize. Even though I cannot undo my mistakes, I hope I can restore some faith in your hearts and minds by opening up and sharing these thoughts. And even though it took time for me to come to this place, in the end my goal is to do the right thing, no matter how tardy or flawed. 
I sincerely hope that by coming forward today, my words in some way might help in the healing process of restoring the people's faith in their government and others that want to serve. In addition to damaging the public's trust and confidence in government, I realize my mistakes had other implications and tangible effects on my constituents and the citizenry. I know that Reverend and Mrs. Willis suffered such effects -- an unimaginable pain and loss -- from mistakes made in my administration, both by me and others on my watch. My heart has and always will go out to the Willis family. They, like all of the people of Illinois, deserved far better than I gave them. 
Analysis: Assuming the words of this public statement were carefully chosen, there is certainly a great deal about which to be amused. The dramatic windup in the first paragraph leads only to Ryan's confession that he believed in himself, but his "heart" now tells him that he did "less" than his "best." He has "come forward" after making a "long" and "difficult journey." The final destination? His realization that, in the past, he made "mistakes!" For most of us, this is a short skip and a hop. Evidentally, for Ryan, several pieces of luggage, a 747 and a passport are required.

In sum: If the above statement were the only thing between a multiple axe-murderer and freedom, every reasonable person in the world with the pardon power would know exactly what to do: NOTHING.

Yes, it is easy enough to be forgiving of a few "mistakes" and of someone doing "less" than their "best." On the other hand, thankfully, these are not the kinds of things that land one in federal prison for six and a half years - 18 intentional criminal acts will. In essence, Ryan is the same man that entered prison. He believes he is innocent. In his mind, he has only made some "mistakes" - chief among them, getting caught and convicted!

Ryan has not provided an apology for any of the 18 criminal offenses he committed. He has only provided an apology to people who were offended or may have been affected by his "mistakes." Indeed, today's statement reminds one of Dick Durbin's non-apology-apology of June, 2005. You know the one where he didn't so much apologize for what he said about American troops as he dramatically expressed "sincere regret" that what he said may have "caused" some people to "misunderstand" his "true feelings." Yes, it can be hard for politicians to communicate with us, the little people, sometimes!


Anonymous said...

My husband has given a real confession for past criminal acts:

P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...

EDITOR:The contrast between the two statements is, indeed, quite stark. God forbid that a politician would, for just once, come out, admit quilt, then apologize in a straight-forward unambiguous manner.

There is more that is deserving of a presidential pardon in this one passage of the Whitacre statement: "I made some horrific decisions and broke some serious federal laws" than there is in three full paragraphs of Ryan's statement.

Says Whitacre: "I was involved with criminal activity, and I went to prison for almost a decade. No one is above the law, no matter how successful, no matter how wealthy, and no matter how educated." With all of life's complexities and our modern struggle with subjectivity, it really just isn't all that difficult to detect sincerity in an apology, is it?

It would really be something if Bush were to extend clemency - in any form - to Ryan, but not Whitacre.

blogger templates | Make Money Online