Wednesday 17 November 2010
by: Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
Congressman Rangel understood the impact that drugs were having on the community long before that issue became a political football. As a member of Congress, Rangel has used his personal power and the power of the committees that he has participated in and chaired for the good of the people.
In spite of all of this political history and accomplishment, Rangel has reduced most of his political legacy to a battle for his political life. The battle is over; it's time to surrender. The longer he drags this out, the worse it will be for him, his legacy and the people he was sent to Congress to represent.
It is ironic that he is suffering the same fate as the man he replaced, The Reverend and Hon. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Powell represented Harlem in Congress for 26 years, and during his tenure, served as chairman of the powerful Education and Labor Committee. Following allegations that Powell had misappropriated committee funds for his personal use, the House Democratic Caucus stripped Powell of his committee chairmanship. The full House refused to seat him until completion of an investigation by the Judiciary Committee. Rangel defeated Powell in the Democratic primary in 1970.
A proud and brilliant political mind has been reduced to an unfortunate pubic spectacle. Rangel's initial legal team quit out of fear that he would not be able to pay the $1 million for his trial. He has stated that he cannot afford an attorney and requested more time to raise the needed funds.
Congressman Rangel could have made this go away months ago with an admission of guilt on some fairly minor charges. His ego would not allow him to clearly see and accurately assess the reality before him. One must never underestimate the blindness that attends arrogance. Proverbs 16.18 states, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
Once again, a great career in Harlem must come to a close. Congressman Rangel is suffering the same fate as the man he replaced. Those who fail to study and learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
I am not completely familiar with Rangel’s mistakes. If they are serious and he is guilty, as apparently he is, he should resign.
But I am struck by the difference between his mistakes and those of other, more powerful people. Their violations are obviously more serious.
Bush lied to start the war in Iraq that resulted in American casualties, Iraqi casualties, money needlessly spent and money stolen and he supported torture, which is illegal! He writes a book, get’s a pension and walks around free. That is grotesque.
Supreme Court Justices practice unethical behavior; Gonzalez, Cheney and others are culpable in many areas; and Wall Street bankers get huge bonuses while bringing the world to near total financial ruin.
This shows the powerful get protection and the rest get screwed.
What a country.
The House Ethics Committee recommended censure for Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) yesterday, the most serious punishment it can hand out short of expulsion. Rangel was found guilty of 11 ethics violations, including failing to pay taxes on rental property, failure to report personal income, and improper fund-raising.