Rod Blagojevich left for Federal Prison this morning.
The Chicago Tribune reported, "Wearing a dark blazer and shirt with blue jeans, Blagojevich sauntered down the stairs and into the tight circle of reporters camped outside his home around 6 a.m. Neither his wife Patti nor his daughters were with him.
Reporters shouted out questions as he walked toward a waiting Chrysler sedan. "You are the best," someone yelled. In a few moments, the crowd quieted down and Blagojevich made a brief statement.
"Saying goodbye is the hardest thing I've ever had to do," he said. "I'm leaving with a heavy heart, a clear conscious, but I have high, high hopes for the future. Among the hopes is that you guys go home and our neighbors can get their neighborhood back. I'll see you guys when I see ya. I'll see you around."
In the above link, The Chicago Tribune video captures a clear picture of the scene's mild chaos as he left his home for 14 years of imprisonment, leaving behind his wife and young daughters. It also captures the awkward pause when Blagojevich says those last two lines. What he may have been thinking is "I'll see you in 14 years..."
Or maybe never again. Damaged goods tend to be put on backroom shelves and forgotten.
Yesterday, Blagojevich was asked what advice he would give to people from his experience and his answer was, "Don't go into politics."
Really? The line of work that gave him every opportunity to do right things and he chose rather to lie, cheat and attempt to steal from the people who trusted him?
Well, maybe that's the admonition that some Chicago alderman should have said to him, years ago, (and he should have heeded); it seems to unveil a deeper darker truth about himself: "Rod Blagojevich, YOU should never have gone into politics."
This man, now a disgraced and impeached former governor, goes to prison.
Having worked for many years with a number of inmates and ex-inmates, I watched Blagojevich saunter down the stairs of his life into something he thinks he can apparently do with the same Chicago swagger by which he held court. It is foolishness.
Even in such an "executive prison" as the Colorado Federal facility is, there will be people who will relish the chance to emotionally, spiritually and possibly physically beat the swagger out of this man.
In 14 years, Blagojevich will be an unknown, less sauntering, 69 year old man; his daughters will be married off to men he does not know. They will have children, whom he has never taken to a park, nor had stay with him overnight. His wife will have lived almost a decade and a half without this man next to her, seeking the intimacy of life's journey with friends and family, but not with her husband.
All gone at the expense of greed, avarice and power. All created by himself. And he will soon be a faded footnote in history.
What a terrible trade-off.
A better admonition by honorable folks in politics to the youth of our nation would be: "DO go into politics. DON'T do things illegally. DON'T go to prison, like that fellow from Illionois...now, what was his name?"
May Rod Blagojevich come face to face with himself in the darkly evil early hours of his particular prison cell, realizing that "to whom much was given, much was expected".And may it break him so that God can build him.
Like Chuck Colson of Watergate fame, may Rod Blagojevich meet the Savior he ignored and mocked in his now-previous life of arrogance, which ended this morning.