Both Sen. Ted Stevens and Gov. Sarah Palin have been accused of breaking the law, and I think they are guilty of unforgivable actions as public leaders.
Stevens is a convicted felon who has abandoned the public service entrusted to him.
Palin has been caught spending public funds for her personal gain, such as charging a per diem expense when she was home in Wasilla.
Both of these state elected officials have cast a dark shadow over the ethics and values of what it means to be American. Their behavior raises questions about what our role and responsibility is regarding abuse of power by those who hold our public trust. Those who we have elected to hold public offices.
Their corrupt and infectious greed have become a normal part of the state and federal government. This attitude of greed filters down to the agencies and employees whom we come into contact with as private citizens.
Both Stevens and Palin should resign from political office. There are numerous legal, political, and social reasons of why they cannot be allowed to represent our state as public officials. The time is right to begin making changes for the honor and integrity of our state.
Their behavior has lowered the standard of what it means to be an American. Their behavior has polluted the meaning and purpose of individual rights, freedom and responsibilities in America. Their behavior promotes a collective consciousness of greed and corruption that it is OK to be immoral and greedy as a government officials. Their corrupt behavior has divided our state and country. We are no longer "One Nation under God," when we sit back and tolerate immorality and greed of our elected leaders.
Their behavior has shown that the core values of being an American as described in the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights have little meaning in today's government in Alaska. As citizens we have a right and a role to say, "Enough is enough." This is not who we are as Alaskans, nor the kind of people we want as role models for our children and our grandchildren. People of greed and corruption must not be a part of our legacy.
The lessons of ENRON have already faded from our memory. But, in real life, I think Ted Stevens is no better than Kenneth Lay, Sarah Palin is no better than Kenneth Lay. Both are living a life of public privilege, power, and entitlement at our expense. Over the years many more qualified political leaders have fallen on the wayside for far lesser crimes.
I'm reminded of how in 1982 when President Reagan's National Security Adviser Richard Allen was forced to resign his public office over an alleged scandal of his acceptance of three watches and thousands of dollars from Japanese journalists when he helped them get an interview with Nancy Reagan. We have sunk so far below than even that standard.
I'm reminded of a story I once heard about how people in India catch this certain kind of monkey by using a jar of chick-peas as bait. The monkey reaches into the jar to grab a handful of the peas but because it made a fist over the peas, it cannot remove its hand. The mouth of the jar is too small for the fist to pass through.
In India they learned that the monkey's greed prohibits it from letting go of the peas. In real life, Stevens and Palin are displaying the behavior of the monkeys that trap themselves by their greed. They both have been caught with their hands in the "money and power" jar, and even though they are caught, they are too greedy to let go. So long as they hang on with their greed, they will be forever trapped by their own greed. So long as we stand by and let them to continue in office, we will also be trapped by their greed.
If we stand by and do nothing, our minds will be trapped by their greed. So for me, I demand they both resign from public office and answer to the law about their actions. I for one, refuse to let my mind be trapped into accepting their greed. I for one, refuse to allow this greed to be passed on to my child and grandchildren.
As citizens of Alaska, let's all of us demand their resignation from public office. It's the right thing to do for children and our grandchildren.
Don Bremner is a Juneau resident.
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