Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sadly, I Don't Think Anyone is Really Surprised By This...

Well, the long-embattled Massachusetts state senator Dianne Wilkerson was arrested as part of an FBI sting operation that caught her taking over $23,000 in bribes.

Admittedly, this news isn't as big as deal as it nearly was, since Wilkerson lost the primary to Sonya Chang-Diaz in early October...so Wilkerson's only hope to continue her decade-long stint as Roxbury's senator was a long-shot write-in campaign. A campaign that had about a snowball's chance in hell of working, given how disgusted most of the state was with her seeming inability to remember to pay income taxes.

Frankly, given Wilkerson's reputation as a hack's hack, and her repeated attitude of being "above the rules" that only the little people must follow....the only real tragedy I see in this is that Wilkerson was the lone African-American elected official in the Massachusetts State Senate. I'm not going to begin to claim that race should be a deciding factor in whether or not a candidate deserves to be in public office. But being a minority gives a person a valuable perspective on life that cannot be had by a member of another race. Given Roxbury's high African-American population, I would be inclined to view that perspective as all the more relevant.

Getting back on point, a scandal like this breaking a week before election day would ordinarily be huge news. Even for just a state senator, it could've gotten national play. But it won't. And in two days I doubt anyone will even care. Because Wilkerson's relevance had been fading for years and ended abruptly a month ago in the primaries. And that's a sad thing for her, for her district, and for the Massachusetts State Senate as a whole.

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