Thursday, October 12, 2006

Does the apple fall far from the tree?

Apparently there is a group of people in East Tennessee and around the country who are painfully unaware of why some of us think Harold Ford, Jr. has some ethical issues because of his family's known criminal history. Well, I think this clip does a pretty good job of illustrating the problem here. Obviously, we'd love to believe that Harold Jr. is stainless and pure, but my Granddaddy used to tell me that apples do not fall far from trees when it comes to families-and based on life experience, I've come to see that he was right. I'm not saying that people always end up like their parents, because we all know that isn't necessarily the case-but very often, it people are brought up, so they become.

With that in mind, I think Jr.'s family history is particularly galling. So many members have criminal histories (or in the case of Ophelia, histories of vote fraud) that it is hard to divorce Harold Jr. from the rest of his mafia-like clan. Are we really to assume that he is all that different from the rest of the people who were so formative in his life? Can Tennesseans afford to make that assumption? I am not so sure that we can. With family like this, I'd want to distance myself as far as I could from them, especially if they raised me right (like Harold Ford, Jr. says his family raised him). If my family brought me up to know right from wrong, I would publicly denounce their behavior-and if you don't believe me, try asking my family how I react when one of them does something that I know to be in the wrong. It isn't pretty, folks.

Instead, Harold Ford defends his criminal father in a public debate rather than simply say "I love my Dad, but I don't believe in running my personal and professional affairs in the way that he has done-we are different people." If he knows right from wrong, he steps back and condemns wrongs committed even by his own family, or at least has the decency to distance himself from them. Harold Ford, Jr. can't even do that-instead he tries to villainize those who point out the truth about his family.

For Junior's own sake I hope his apple falls very far from the family tree...but I can't help but have my doubts.

(Hat Tip: Kleinheider)



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