Monday, September 28, 2009

All men (and women) created equal - and able to equally become stupid criminals

I read Julie O'Malley's column (in the Anchorage Daily News) on the Masek sentencing last week, and it's been a point of discussion with several friends. Beverly Masek was an Alaskan representative convicted on corruption charges in the string of corruption investigations, indictments and convictions to hit the state in recent years, the most notable of them being Sen. Ted Stevens. Besides ol' Uncle Ted, I haven't commented on many of them, but Masek's I have, and she still continues to irk me.

Masek is Native, but that part isn't what bothers me either. Okay, that part does too, but not primarily. What bothers me is Masek seems to be so willing to play up the poor Native villager victimhood, instead of truly owning up, and genuinly making a stab at bettering herself. Or as O'Malley put it, "The defense was reaching for heart-strings, playing a cloying victim tune. But it relied on a musty stereotype about Native women I don't buy."

I know many Native women from rural Alaska. Despite whatever past so many of them had, despite what challenges they faced coming to the city, the ones I admire most are the ones who played on the strength of their ties to the village, not excused their behavior with it. They are the ones who took their past and heritage in hand and learned from it, leaned on it, were proud of it - and, actions big or small, could be proud of their present, too.

And let's not forget Ms. Masek signed up for the job. It's hard to sell the victim part when you literally campaigned to get the gig.

The offensive part isn't that she's Native and committed a crime (poorly done crime at that.) If anything, it shows how equally stupid people can be, no matter their heritage. What's offensive is that Masek and these lawyers are leaning on the "weakness" of her rural ties to prove she deserves to be pitied, not punished.

If Masek really believes her ties to rural Alaska created a weakness in her character, and that what she learned and experienced there were the cause of her criminality, I think she does deserve to be pitied. But she's also a criminal, and until she can show a willingness to change, the only thing left to do is punish so her bad example can at least be made an example of what not to do.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is like a false victimhood Bev uses as a excuse.

However she does have plenty of "friends" to keep her held in false victimhood... I believe some of her cohorts back in the legislative body, are reveling in the false victimhood she chooses to playout.

It pissed this rural chic off when I read her 'excuses'...

And that "broken sled runner" language, give me a break, oh the trumped up drama... who the hell does she think her audience is, tourists?

Anyway, I'm still a little ticked off Bev took a totally wrong trail when lining up her 'excuses'.

Anonymous said...

didn't bev masak kind of made a statement when she first got elected where she took off her native parka or something like it. I think the native population didn't like how she did that. I really don't remember how it all played out but I do remember thinking "she just renounced her right to be native by doing that", maybe you could shed some light on what she did. Thanks. I to think that she really played up the victimhood a bit much. She did the crime she should do the time. No poor me excuse should be used for her.

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