I’ve been thinking a lot about the Governor’s trip to Sudan to rescue the reporter. On face value, it’s great. If someone I cared about was being held captive in a foreign country, I’d love for my Governor to borrow a private jet (hmm, what was wrong with the $5 million one he had the state buy) and whisk down to the third world country and bring home my loved one.
However, something about how all of this went down just doesn’t feel right. Just look at the timeline from the Governor’s press release:
It was Salopek’s wife Linda and Chicago Tribune Editor-in-Chief Ann Marie Lipinski who first appealed to Governor Richardson for help. Following that request, the Governor met last week with Sudan’s Ambassador to the United States, Khadir Haroun Ahmed, in Washington, DC, to discuss Salopek’s detainment. This week the Sudanese government formally invited Governor Richardson to travel to Sudan and meet with President Al-Bashir. Linda will accompany the Governor on the trip to Khartoum.
According to this, the real negotiation took place the week before September 6th in Washington D.C. I can’t find the press releases that announced the Governor was going to Washington D.C. to meet with the Ambassador and secure the release of Mr. Salopek. Which leads me to believe, that the Governor’s press machine did not start going into overdrive until he already knew this was a done deal.
Yesterday, we remembered 9/11, and we celebrated the sacrifice of those heroes who gave their lives without any thought to celebrity or how to best maximize press coverage. The actions of true American heroes on 9/11 serves as a reminder that everyday brave men and women do their job in this country and abroad in the interest of protecting our lives without seeking any fanfare.
Consider this stark contrast with the recent actions of Governor Richardson. The Governor managed to turn what should have been a noble effort into a media circus in order to once again forward his own agenda. So much for selfless acts.