A column in the Sun-Times by Rich Miller about Ryan's conviction and perhaps his motives for the continued corruption or at least the lack of interest in controlling it got me to thinking about something.
While this trial was going on or at least the lead up to it I saw the former governor on cable access. One morning, he was on a show with Munir Muhammad, it was a live call in show and basically callers (who were mostly black and I assume that because the show was basically for a black audience) were singing his praises. And why was because he took all those blacks off of death row. He didn't release them all but he did clear death row. He exposed the unfairness of our criminal justice system or at least the racial unfairness.
Blacks in general seem to believe the system is unfair to them and this old grandfatherly white Republican governor took a stand on this issue. Unfortunately I saw what Ryan did as suspicious even if he just so happened to take some people off of death row who shouldn't have been there. There was a cloud caused by what happened while he was Illinois Secretary of State during his four year term as governor. Indeed it seemed this moratorium on the death penalty lasted the entire term as governor.
Of course there were other things that helped his legacy. Illinois FIRST which not only helped Illinois' transportation structure but allowed Chicago State University to build a new library. And I only know about that because there was a sign for it on the campus. Another time I recall that the took a stand for gun control. Yet all of this was suspicious because he had to have known some of the things he was doing was wrong and he was going down for it.
In his column Rich Miller nailed it and I wasn't the only one who had these suspicions about Ryan's actions...
The other question I hear a lot is, "What was Ryan's motivation for veering so far to the political left by emptying Death Row and changing his mind on gay rights and women's rights?" Some believe he was cynically playing to the liberalMy feeling on this would be that people who sing his praises either don't believe he's corrupt or they support his actions no matter how he chose to make his decision. All that would matter was that he struck a blow against the death penalty. What can I say? Before I can support what a person does I would just as soon look in his closet and at least the items in Ryan's closet was public.
Democratic jury pool in Cook County. The thinking goes that he knew he would end up on trial and he wanted to create as much sympathy as possible. Others think he changed because he was somehow trying to atone for all the laws he broke -- as if becoming a social liberal would get him in good graces with God.