I've never even written a diary before, but today I decided to give it a shot to try to draw attention to the IL-19 congressional race between Rep. John Shimkus (R) and his democratic challenger, Danny Stover.

more below the fold...

In thinking about what the most important message is at this point, I wanted to tell you all about my home, the 19th congressional district in Illinois: the beautiful national forest; the 2 largest lakes in Illinois, Carlyle Lake and Rend Lake; the state capital; our proximity to St. Louis and frequent low regard for all things Chicago (especially the Cubs [go Cards!]); and, subsequently, what issues are important here. I wanted to tell you why I've been frustrated over the years with the service of John Shimkus and why I think Danny Stover would be a big improvement for the people of this district.

However, with the Foleygate scandal swirling and after reading Shimkus's sarcastic and angry reactions to those questioning him on this matter, it occurred to me to examine whether this current wave of popular outrage is based upon political muckraking or whether it is based upon the apparent moral bankruptcy and corruption exhibited by Rep. Shimkus and his fellow Republican congressional leadership who knew about questions swirling around Rep. Foley's behavior.

Here is what we know about this current scandal:

* Rep. Mark Foley sent emails to a former congressional page that the parents of the page considered inappropriate

* Rep. Shimkus was informed of these parental concerns

* Rep. Shimkus chose not to involve or inform the Page Board, responsible for overseeing the well-being of congressional pages, regarding the allegations that something inappropriate was going on

* Rep. Shimkus went instead to the top of the House leadership, straight to Speaker of the House, Rep. Dennis Hastert, and inform him and him alone of the allegations

* Rep. Hastert framed the allegations as something that could "affect campaigns," not as something that could endanger children, indeed, children under his own protection

* Rep. Shimkus did not seek to find out if current pages were vulnerable to inappropriate sexual advances by congressmen by investigating properly, as anyone with any sense of responsibility for the well-being of our children would do

* Rep. Shimkus instead chose to speak to Rep. Foley and tell him to avoid inappropriate contact with pages, or just one former page (depending on which news report you wish to believe)

Now, I could go around and link to umpteen different stories supporting the above. I will do so retrospectively as much as possible. However, for those of us living out here in the real world the last several years, the basic facts of this mess scream out to us.

Programs that allow 16-year-old youths to participate are few and far between, and all expect those adults who supervise them (e.g., sports activities, church activities, etc.) to take on heightened responsibility and act in loco parentis. Such basic ideas are at the core of American morality.

Further, those of us in the corporate world know and understand that those with whom we work and for whom we work are expected to conduct themselves professionally, as are we ourselves. Sexual innuendo has no place in the workplace in America.

While congress inexplicably does not subject itself to the same laws regarding sexual harassment that the rest of America lives under, the combined outrages of betrayal of protection of children and of the basic understanding of how we deal with allegations of sexual harassment make this episode utterly shocking. This isn't complicated at all, yet the Republican leadership's myopic propensity to view this as some sort of partisan hack job exposes their inability to grasp the basic issues involved.

So, should Shimkus be outraged? Is his indignation indeed righteous? Or is his new moniker, Shamekus, given to him by a paper in his own district, justly deserved?

For me, there is no doubt, no question. From now on, I shall only refer to my current congressman as Representative Shamekus, and hope that he remains my congressman for a very short time.

I apologize for not telling you what I wanted to tell you about this race. But please, do support Democrat Danny Stover in his effort to rid IL-19 of this despicable character. He needs your money love!

Originally posted to glamberson on Fri Oct 06, 2006 at 04:17 AM PDT.

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