My Turn: Harsh treatment helps discourages future candidates

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm getting pretty discouraged with what's going on in the "investigations" of our legislators. As I see it, the main result will probably be to discourage anybody from ever wanting to run for the Legislature, most of all the people who actually want to help the rest of us.

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Put it this way: If you come up with a really big idea of something that can help accomplish something that is needed by the society you live in, what is the most effective way of accomplishing it? Can you go straight to the goal without any scheming, planning, compromising, even clever maneuvers? Nah. Sometimes even if what you have in mind would be a blessing to the whole world, you go nuts trying to sell it to the people around you, or the people who are necessary to help you do it.

Sometimes you kick yourself for some of the things you say or do to get the thing off the ground.

And sometimes after literally years of careful scheming and working, the thing actually comes off, and you're handed the scissors to cut the tape at the opening and sometimes the thing is named for you.

And sometimes, after years of putting your heart and soul into it, the thing falls flat in your face, and maybe you are sued, or arrested and charged with some illegal actions that make you look like a crook, and you wonder how in God's name this happened to you? You wonder why you tried to make things better for everyone around you, and why nobody understands what is going on.

I've said lots of funny things in my life, written them in letters, (e-mail, even!). If somebody came here and walked off with my personal papers, personal journals, etc., and started reading them in a courtroom or on TV Wow! I'd probably spend the rest of my life trying to explain everything I've said. (I don't think I'd spend it in jail!)

I don't think I'll run for the legislature. I'm not squeaky clean enough. I don't even know how to be!

Have you noticed that a convicted person who has made an agreement to help with the prosecution in a case can destroy another person's reputation just by mentioning his name? Whatever happened to the idea of being innocent until being proved guilty? How come the media grabs a person's name and waves it around saying, "Here's another one"? It occurs to me that a person convicted of, say, bribery, could ruin the reputation of some of the people who wouldn't deal with him just by mentioning them as if they had.

• Bea Shepard has been a state employee for 31 years.



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