Thursday, August 12, 2004

Suicide by Statement 

By now, you must have read that the Governor of the State of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey, has resigned because he conducted a homosexual affair in office behind the back of his wife and children. This AP story tells the sordid details, but look at the video that accompanies it as well.

The video speaks what text cannot. The governor stood before the public and destroyed his career manfully and with dignity. That is one of the hardest communications one can ever make. That McGreevey did it well raises my estimate of him higher than it was when he was in office and surrounded by individuals who were being indicted for fraudulent fundraising.

It is gallows humor that New Jersey politicians know corruption better than most. There have been several senators and congressmen indicted and jailed in the state, not to mention mayors and assorted pols. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has had a field day here.

The ugliness of the governor's resignation is the perception that it leaves about the state and its people. Who are they that tolerate such sleaziness? The resignation confirms a prejudice that many have about New Jersey that it is nothing but a sinkhole filled with chemical plants and oil refineries. Those of us who live here know better than to pay attention to such criticism, but we are aware that it takes a lot to live down an incident like this. Perception counts.

I'm not sure what one would do to conduct a public relations program to wipe away "Jersey Jokes" and other slams leveled at the state.

It would be nice if New Jersey started by cleaning up its politicians.


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