With the news of Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens' conviction I wanted to send out a little food for thought. Are you aware that the Senator, despite his felonious conviction, can still run for reelection? Check out this article from The Huffington Post. I also heard this confirmed yesterday on NPR while driving home. I am baffled by this. A felon loses his/her right to vote, but there are no rules as of yet for disqualifying someone from running for the United States Senate once they become a felon. Better yet, "there is no rule barring felons from serving in Congress." (Shayana Kadidal, The Huffington Post) Hmmmm....interesting.
Does this bother you like it bothers me? I mean I realize that the stereotype for politicians is that of being "crooks" but I didn't think a real/convicted "crook" could be a leader in Congress! I know, I know...he's claiming innocence so I guess I should hold my thoughts until he's finished with his appeal, right? Won't it be strange, though if he is elected next month, but sentenced to a prison term in February? That will certainly make the global opinion of America shine even brighter, especially the state of Alaska.
Since my husband is reenlisting with the armed services he's recently had to review and complete a lot of paperwork. This paperwork asks a lot of specific questions about Hubby's qualifications, both professionally and personally, since they are inquiring as to why he feels he is a good candidate to return to serve.
That leads me to wonder how many members of Congress, or anyone running for political office for that matter, would successfully pass the application process of going to work for our military and holding a security clearance at any level. No matter if a person is enlisting for the first time or going back into the service, applicants are asked if they've been convicted of a crime. You know, kind of like most job applications. Most employers don't hire candidates with a conviction on their record, at least the ethical ones. How did this slip by when the requirements for serving in the United States Congress were prepared?
I know it takes a certain type of person to hold public office, and I'm not sure that's something I will want or could do in my lifetime. Kudos to those who step up to lead our country. However, I feel that we should demand higher ethical standards from the people we elect. It seems that our society is getting more stringent with what we will and will not let politicians get away with. I hope we only continue to have higher expectations of morals and values from those in elected office. It's not just a reflection of the elected officials...it's also a reflection on those of us who vote for those people, too.