Applause for Corruption

Imagine my surprise when I read that Senator Ted Stevens received a standing ovation – yes, a standing ovation – following his farewell speech in the Senate today.  Shocking, especially when one thinks about the message it sends to our children.  Watch it yourself:

Here is a man who was convicted on seven counts of making false statements on Senate financial dislosure forms.

Prosecutors claimed that Stevens accepted $250,000 worth of gifts, primarily from now-defunct oil services company Veco Corp. and its former CEO, Bill Allen. Among the alleged gifts was the value of a home renovation project that transformed the senator’s Girdwood, Alaska, home from a quaint cabin to a sizeable house, a $2,700 massage chair and a Viking gas grill.  Source

Now I’m sure this man did a lot of great things for his state over the many years he served in the Senate.  And I’m sure he has a lot of close relationships after decades of service.  But what kind of message does the rest of the Senate send when it applauds a man convicted for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes?  And that’s just what they uncovered.  I’d be surprised if this was the only infraction of its kind.

I can’t stand government corruption – regardless of which party is involved – and I’m glad my kids aren’t quite old enough to pay attention to this kind of thing.  If they were, I would have to disabuse them of the idea that our leaders are honest and trustworthy.

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2 Responses to Applause for Corruption

  1. jennifer munn says:

    I agree with your comments. On a brighter note. my middle schooler is working on different literary elements found in good speeches (figurative language, assonance, anaphora, epistrophe, etc.) and it was so fun to play Obama’s victory speech back on YouTube and have a real time example of strong, moving rhetoric.

  2. David Gaylin says:

    I respectfully diagree. The guy screwed up, committed a stupid mistake. This should not outweigh a 50-year career of apparent achievement, where the voters of his state elected him six times to the Senate. I say apparent because I don’t know enough to judge whether Stevens’ overall tenure in the Senate was net positive or negative. But that is a different case to try.

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