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|An Open Letter to Illinois ex-governor, Rod Blagojevich|
Dec. 13th, 2011 at 9:12 am
Dear Mr. Blagojevich,
I read in the newspaper that you recently got sentenced to fourteen years in prison for your acts of corruption while serving as governor of Illinois. No reason for me to list all your illegal activity here, it is recorded in the public records for posterity. It is a shame that the good people of Illinois have to suffer the humiliation and expense of two governors serving prison terms for corruption. Who knows, maybe you and your predecessor, George Ryan could end up as cellmates. You would have a lot to talk about.
I read with interest that at your sentencing hearing your lawyer pled on your behalf for a lesser prison term, not because you weren’t guilty, but because of your children. I thought that was a nice touch. “Please, think of the children!” Too bad you didn’t consider your children or anyone else’s children in the state while you were robbing the citizens of Illinois.
If I sound judgmental, Rod, you are right. My family was directly affected by your evilness. My husband was hired by the State of Illinois during Gov. Ryan’s term. He was let go during your term. You might remember his layoff. Rob’s department was one of the first to experience your brand of government resizing. You held a press conference on the steps of the state capital the day they were let go, declaring that this layoff was your way of cutting the fat from state payrolls. What wasn’t mentioned was that for every person cut, you already hired a replacement. Rob met his replacement a few weeks before his final day. The guy, who had no qualifications for the job, expected my husband to train him in the time remaining. Rob politely showed him the door. The new hire complained to Rob’s boss, who also received a notice of layoff, so there wasn’t much interest in helping him learn his new career. Since he was the boyfriend of a granddaughter to one of your closest friends, it made perfect sense to give him a highly technical job in the state offices.
All of the people let go were either registered voters of the wrong political party or had not contributed money to your campaign accounts. Unfortunately, my husband was in the wrong political party and we had no money to give you. The guy two doors down from Rob said he contributed $5,000 per year to whoever was governor. That was his insurance and it worked for him. He kept his job.
We have been accused of making this up, that if it really did happen the way we said it did, it would have been all over the newspapers. It should have been. But it wasn’t. No one talked to the press for many reasons that make sense if you understood the extreme pressure everyone was under to keep quiet. I would like to think we are noble people, but in reality we couldn’t afford to be. We had three little children and were in the middle of single-handedly building a house (it took over a year and ½ to finish, working evenings and weekends.) while trying to sell our current house.
Because of Rob’s job loss, we only lived in our new house for nine months before we took a job out of state. We were lucky. Most of Rob’s colleagues took major pay cuts; some took your offer of transferring to menial jobs within the state system. His boss, faced with losing a job he was passionate about and had no hope of finding it again, went into shock and depression.
For us, the long-term effects of your choices still haunt us. Our dream house, the one we worked so hard to build (I hand dug the footings myself), ended up in foreclosure. The mortgage was passed to several lenders, eventually ending up as a Fannie Mae property. During the federal bail-out of Fannie Mae, the American citizens bought our house. It sat vacant for three years, a real no-no for super energy efficient homes. By the time our house wended its way through a maze of financial hoops and was finally put on the market to sell, the damage was done. The interior was full of mold and the house was sold as-is, for the price of the land it stood on.
Meanwhile, Rob and I were stuck with a mound of debt and health crisis’s due to the unrelenting stress. It is a miracle we didn’t end up bankrupt. It is another miracle we stayed together. Some families couldn’t handle it and split up. The health problems were real and still plague us. The debt and wiping out of our savings made us realize how vulnerable we really are. Some days we felt that it was only possible to move forward if we clung to our faith in Heavenly Father and our hope that He would help us in our distress. Thankfully, that spiritual grounding did help.
Over the past six years as we have worked at climbing out of the financial hole you put us in, we have talked a lot about you. Never with a hope of getting justice, but more with the resignation that comes from being a small victim in a corrupt system. We understand how one person can hold a whole nation hostage. We also understand how incredibly miraculous it is when justice is done and wrongdoers are held accountable.
As CS Lewis wrote in his book, Mere Christianity, our Christian faith requires us to forgive you. Not to invite you into our home and pretend no evil happened, but to let you go and trust God that justice will be done. We have worked very hard to achieve that level of forgiveness. Some days are better than others. No one is more surprised than we are that you were arrested, tried and found guilty of your crimes. We didn’t expect to see any justice in our lifetimes. It feels good.
May Heavenly Father show his mercy to all your victims, including your children. They are paying the highest price of all.