Reality Check w/ John Tracy: A politician’s letters speak volumes
I don’t know Rep. Cathy Munoz. If I were to judge her based upon what has been written and said about her over the past week, you would think it best to give her a one-way ticket south on the Alaska ferry.
The Juneau Republican created a firestorm after writing a letter to a judge, asking for leniency in the sentencing of a friend convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old foster child in his care.
She wrote, that the rapist was “not a violent person, and I believe would respond well to rehabilitation.”
It’s hard to imagine a crime more violent than the rape of an 11-year-old victim.
That letter, written in May, was followed by a second letter in June, this one on the lawmaker’s stationary, seeking leniency for a friend convicted of child endangerment. The woman faced sentencing for leaving her children with their biological father, a convicted rapist who had assaulted his own children and used them for pornography.
There is little question that Munoz’s actions were misguided, to say the least. Being asked to write a character reference for a friend isn’t unusual. Doing it on behalf of a rapist, or on State letterhead is — to put it politely — tone deaf.
The condemnation from all corners was swift, as an experienced politician should have recognized.
But the point of tonight’s commentary, is not what Munoz did then, but what she has done since. She did something you also don’t see from politicians these days. She wrote a letter to her constituents and said, “I made a mistake in writing the two letters and I apologize.”
Munoz says the lesson she has learned is powerful and will shape her actions in the future. She says in trying to support friends, she failed to be sensitive to their victims. She says she has asked for the letters to be removed from the court record.
When Hillary Clinton says she “short-circuited” her own explanation of her e-mail scandal and Donald Trump says he was being sarcastic when he encouraged Russia to conduct espionage in the United States … well, we’ve reached a point where we don’t even expect honest answers — yet alone apologies — from politicians.
So when we get one, what do we make of it? Do we judge a person based on their mistakes or their willingness to admit them?
Ultimately, that will be up to the constituents of Cathy Munoz to decide.
Like I said, I don’t know her. But I’m glad to know a little more about her now, than what I learned in the past week.
John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.
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