Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

05 February 2010

Just what Illinois politics needed: Scott Lee Cohen

Blago. Burris. Stroger. We thought we had finally turned a corner Tuesday night. Even with the weight of Alexi's family's bank saga, we at least were moving away from embarrassing politicians. We cheered the defeat of Todd Stroger and wished Toni Preckwinkle all the luck of a field of four-leaf clovers, cause she's gonna need it to clean up the mess of Cook County. Then we woke up on Thursday to news that 212,902, er, 212, 901 voters didn't do a good Google search of their candidate.

Scott Lee Cohen admits to choking his ex-wife and violence against his ex-girlfriend. He didn't fess up after someone dug it up either. He TOLD us...a year ago. Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times, details how he and the rest of the media brushed aside Cohen's admission of domestic violence:

Let the record reflect that on the very day last March that Scott Lee Cohen announced his campaign for lieutenant governor of Illinois, he voluntarily disclosed he had once been arrested in what he described as a domestic battery case involving a live-in girlfriend.

Please, take a minute to click over the read the entire column. It outlines a failure of the media to remind us of important information about a candidate (compare to Chicago's media all buy telling us to NOT vote for Blago in 2006), failure of voters to do adequate research on the person they were going to vote for (don't just go by endorsements) and his candidates for not making this an issue.

Now that he is the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, the press is running with the story and the Democratic party is asking him to step down. Nope, says Cohen, "The people voted for me."

And sadly he's right.

He made the rounds on Chicago media to tell his story and why he's not stepping down. I missed the WTTW interview, but the comments are on fire! I can't wait to see the actual interview. But it was his interview with ABC7 that sealed the deal for me. Here's how he responds to charges of being abusive to his ex-wife:

"You don't stay with somebody for 26 years when they're hittin' and beatin' you. You don't," 

BULLSHIT.

He could be the greatest man in the world, but no one, no one who truly believes what Cohen said on TV (go watch the clip) can truly represent Illinois and be, as Eric Zorn said, "one heartbeat or one federal indictment away from becoming governor of Illinois."

Illinois' women's health page on domestic violence states that leaving a violent relationship is dangerous. "In 2000, intimate partner homicides accounted for 33.5 percent of the murders of women and less than four percent of the murders of men." And women know that. We might not know the exact stat, but we know that there is a sliver of reality when a man says he'll kill us or we'll never see our kids again if we leave him. I won't go on as I'm sure one of our fab domestic violence organizations will cover this soon.

Even if the allegations were false, someone with this mentality about domestic violence should not be this close to being the Governor of Illinois.

I'll be awaiting the press releases of everyone on the endorsement list disavowing Cohen and demanding that he step down.

I urge anyone who did vote for Cohen to demand that he step aside.

I agree with Progress Illinois, this is just the latest in a long series of embarrassments. Who would have thought that Alan Keyes wouldn't even be in the top 10?

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