In a perfect world Kwame Kilpatrick would not be in his current predicament. But, it is not a perfect world and the makeup of governments can lead to over inflated egos, corruption, and elected officials are not always above the law.
Former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was captured on camera using crack. President Clinton was faced with telling a lie and then the truth and then asking for forgiveness on national television. (Marsh, 2005) The cover up of Watergate by President Richard Nixon and his staff resulted in 69 government officials being charged and 48 pleading guilty, including 7 for actual burglary.
Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) is serving a 14-year sentence in federal prison following conviction for corruption including the soliciting of bribes for political appointments including the vacant U.S. Senate seat of President Barack Obama, while still in public office.
“Political corruption has long been a source of entertainment for the general public, ammunition for political candidates, and material for journalists. After…political scandals observers engage in spirited debates regarding the significance of the latest incident. Does it reflect …isolated individuals…or [is it] the irreversible moral decay of our entire society?” (Nice, 1983).
Now Kilpatrick is the latest fatality of political corruption. Kilpatrick came into office as the Mayor of Detroit on a wave of high hopes and big dreams. He talked the talk and he walked the walk. He mesmerized the public with his oratory genius, and stood with President Barack Obama on the platform at the Democratic National Convention.
His mother, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, was a Congresswoman, and now her son was on his way to political highs. Yet, from all other indications, his father, Bernard Kilpatrick, wanted to take the back streets and low roads—and herein might lay a stumbling block that contributed to Kilpatrick’s downfall. Still, in American Politics Research, Chanley et al state that all governments have a bit of corruption, it is expected.
Talk show host Mildred Gaddis appeared on WDIV Monday, March 11, 2013, and stated that Bernard Kilpatrick is the poster child for parental abuse. Several news sources disclosed that Bernard Kilpatrick would solicit money from persons who wanted to meet with his son, and Bernard pocketed the profits.
As a lifetime Detroiter I voted for Kilpatrick, looking upon him as a new energy for the City of Detroit. I followed his path and identified him as someone who could relate to the people. His personable manner and charismatic style became his trademark. He projected confidence without fear and practiced diplomacy without gaucheness. He was a powerful man; but the power apparently took control of the man.
When Kilpatrick and his assistant, Christine Beatty, appeared before the city in open court and lied about some well documented behaviors, I became disillusioned and disturbed with Kilpatrick’s campaign. His once perceived confidence gave way to cockiness and his diplomacy gave way to deception.
Beatty fled the City of Detroit in a walk of shame. Former Congresswoman Kilpatrick lost her seat. Countless others were caught in a web of political duplicity while the spouses and children of the guilty became casualties of politics-gone-bad. Many Detroiters have expressed their misgivings about the entire ordeal and want the healing process to begin.
Jurors at Kilpatrick’s trail assured the press that they were methodical, deliberate, and thorough in their deliberations. One news reporter stated that the jury’s verdict was justice for the community. The Prosecutors’ office reiterated that Kilpatrick’s guilty verdict sent a message to any politicians who want to steal money away from the citizens. And the persecutions will continue.
One very energized Detroiter stated that Detroit can “go on now.” Did it ever stop? Corruption in government is very commonplace. The newness of Kilpatrick’s trial makes it extremely newsworthy. Cities do not stop to exist amid political scandals; they just pause, inhale, exhale, and move on.
Kilpatrick overestimated his personage and underestimated the powers that be. Greed, power, money, poor advisors, negative influential family members, and a jagged conscience are a lethal combination. Choudhury reminds us that, “No party, it seems, is immune to the charms of having moneybags in their ranks “(2012).
Kilpatrick was a big ship in an even bigger pond. Unfortunately, when big ships sink they go all the way to the bottom.
CHANLEY, V; SULLIVAN, JL; GONZALES, MH; et al. (July 1994) LUST AND AVARICE IN POLITICS - DAMAGE CONTROL BY 4 POLITICIANS ACCUSED OF WRONGDOING (OR, POLITICS AS USUAL) AMERICAN POLITICS QUARTERLY Volume: 22 Issue: 3 Pages: 297-333.
Choudhury, G. November 3, 2012 http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/India/The-business-of-politics/A....
Marsh, Bill. October 30, 2005, "Ideas and Trends: When Criminal Charges Hit the White House" New York Times.
Nice, DC. October 1983 POLITICAL CORRUPTION IN THE AMERICAN-STATES American Politics Research vol. 11 no. 4 507-517