Monday, February 20, 2006


Cynical Opportunism

A never ending cycle

Former M*A*S*H star and anti-capital punishment activist Mike Farrell took the stand last Thursday as a character witness in the corruption trial of former Illinois Governor George Ryan. At an impromptu news conference afterwards, Farrell lavished praise on Ryan for his decision to commute the sentences of every convict on death row in Illinois. He proclaimed Ryan was "one of the most courageous public officials I've ever met."

There was nothing courageous about Ryan's death penalty actions -- it was crass political opportunsim. Ryan's scandal plagued administration desperately needed all the positive publicity it could get. Thus Ryan devised a clemency process which could be milked for maximum political effect. He is again using the resulting civic and international accolades to suit his own interests and deflect attention away from his record of corruption. And since corruption (as Ralph Peters notes) kills -- it certainly did in the licenses for bribes scandal -- it seems obvious to me that the celebrity human rights activist's opinion on the issue is relevant. If anyone in the media asked Farrell about it, I missed it.

Whether it be (indirectly, perhaps) in quest of higher ratings, to advance a pet issue, or in pursuit of self enrichment, all involved here seem to have done their best to uphold a hallowed local tradition best exemplified by the phrase: 'I saw my opportunities and I took 'em.'


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