The political landscape of the State of Illinois is starting to look like the floors of the slaughters rooms in the old Chicago Stockyards and we seem to have become less squeamish about sending our politicans to their crucifixtions.
The comments I wish to share in these paragraphs are not about the assigning of guilt or the protestations of innocence of Rod Blagojevich or Roland Burris. These words are an expression of my growing fear that we, the family of Illinois, are not doing enough to keep in check a juggernaut mentality that truncates the necessity of a sober and deliberate process of ascertaining acts of political misdeeds or corruption.
The call for the impeachment or resignation of a elected official is a very serious matter and it seems to me more too often that such calls are presented in an irresponsible manner - with the greater emphasis placed upon sensationalism rather than merit. I believe that those who call for impeachments or resignations have the responsibility to do so in a meritorious manner.
Some have proposed that the recent process which lead to the impeachment of Rod Blagojevich ultimately resulted in a political crucifixion of Blagojevich rather than an impeachment. I cannot accept the attitude that regardless if the process was a act of political crucifixion or impeachment - "the important thing is that he's gone."
That is not the Illinois way.
A juggernaut is something that once created and empowered, has a mind and will of its own that cannot be contained or controlled. A juggernaut can be as deadly as any force of in nature.
I fear that the juggernaut that took down Blagojevich did not expire the moment after the impeachment was declared official. I believe that it has continue onward with its sites directed at Roland Burris. I hope that it might be possible for us to will the derailment of this juggernaut in order to permit emotional sobriety, together with facts and law, and ultimately answer all questions being aimed at Senator Burris. We must not permit Senator Burris or any elected official to be hounded out of office solely because of drunken sensationalism fueled by the media.
That is not the Illinois way.
If we fail to put aside our juggernaut addiction, our political "Mount of Olives" will soon run out of room.
Our constitutional process provides up with a sound avenue to deal with matters of political corruption and misdeeds. Our constitutional process is in place to prevent any form of vacuums to occur and provide openings for juggernauts to rear up. Let us trust this process to carry us through our questions about Senator Burris.
I believe in the goodness, honesty and integrity of the people of the State of Illinois.
We are NOT like the mob standing before Pilate demanding a crucifixion. We ARE a people dedicated to the process of justice and truth.
Let that be the avenue we travel as we address the questions surrounding Senator Burris.
That is the Illinois way.
James Alan Wilkowski
Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest