Scoot Blog: Nagin Indictments -- the Power of Greed
by Scoot,posted Jan 18 2013 6:00PM
The indictment of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin may be the last chapter in the post-Katrina era of the city, but since the writing of this final chapter is just beginning, the people of New Orleans will be forced to relive the painful memories of worst time in this city’s modern history.
Many have already made up their minds about Nagin’s guilt or innocence. While the city may have initially empathized with Mayor Nagin in the horrible aftermath of Katrina and even applauded his ‘demand’ that President Bush and the federal government get off their asses and come give the people of New Orleans they help they need, it wasn’t long before the monumental task of saving New Orleans seemed to be greater than the mayor’s ability.
Clancy Dubos, WWL-TV Political Analyst and publisher of Gambit, spoke of a moment when Nagin appeared to be overwhelmed when he leaned against a wall and said that he didn’t ‘sign up for this’. This afternoon on WWL-TV, Dubos said that’s exactly what a mayor, a governor or a president ‘signs up for’. By running for office and taking an oath of office, political leaders ‘sign up for’ anything that happens to a city, a state or our country – including hurricanes.
The charges against Nagin are serious and if convicted, Nagin could spend a long time in prison. The indictments include Nagin using the mayor’s office to bribe some people who were doing business with the city. According to the indictments, Nagin and his granite company received tens of thousands of dollars and inventory in exchange for city contracts.
This is the first time in history that a New Orleans mayor has been indicted on these charges, which makes this a historic, but very unfortunate moment for the city. And as we approach the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, the eyes of the nation are already focused on New Orleans. Anything that happens during this period of high visibility will be amplified because of the national stage upon which this city now sits.
Nagin is innocent until proven guilty and we must remember that fact. It may be unfair, but it’s human nature to initially judge a person by the charges against them. Common sense might tell you that the U.S. Attorney’s office would not have come forward with the indictments unless there was certainty of conviction, but we have all seen cases that seemed like a ‘slam-dunk’ for the prosecution that ended with an acquittal.
When elected officials or former elected officials are charged with using their office and power for personal gain, we all experience a collective state of nausea. We are sickened by what appears to be narcissist leaders who essential steal from the peasants as they sit on their mighty thrones.
But let’s remember that the very office that has investigated the activities of former Mayor Ray Nagin has also faced its own disgrace. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten resigned following an investigation of inappropriate activity in his office and the final verdict may still be out. Officially, Letten resigned to open a new chapter in his life, but questions remain. All of this puts us, the citizens, in a position of wondering - who can we trust.
This is a moment for all of us to challenge ourselves to resist the temptation of illegally benefiting through a position of power at the expense of those with little or no power. Would you be able to resist large amounts of money given to you secretly?
Greed is powerful and inspires some to ignore what is morally right. As a husband and a father, Ray Nagin has not only jeopardized his image and career, but also the credibility of his wife and sons. As parents we hopefully consider our families whenever we are tempted in the Garden of Evil!