Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Schwarzenegger Chooses Principles Over Prestige: Well Done!

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, when facing the issue of whether to grant clemency to Stanley Tookie Williams, was apparently blackmailed by his hometown to grant clemency. Graz threatened to remove Schwarzenegger's name from a local stadium, revoking an honor they had bestowed on him in 1997.

In a remarkable response, Schwarzenegger chose to revoke his permission to use his name, either on the stadium or in any advertisements for the city. Basically, he said that if honoring the Governor meant they could second-guess his decisions, he didn't need to be honored.

"In all likelihood, during my term as governor, I will have to make similar and equally difficult decisions," Schwarzenegger said in the letter. "To spare the responsible politicians of the city of Graz further concern, I withdraw from them as of this day the right to use my name in association with the Liebenauer Stadium."

Further, he is the returning the city's ring of honor, presented to Schwarzenegger in 1999.

"Since, however, the official Graz appears to no longer accept me as one of their own, this ring has lost its meaning and value to me. It is already in the mail," the governor wrote.

Personally, I applaud the move, 100%. I do not support the death penalty, and was hoping that Schwarzenegger would provide clemency to Williams. But as the elected official, the governor has to make the decisions to best serve his constituency and his conscience. And we would hope his decisions would not be influenced by this type of pressure.

All too often our politicians are influenced by greed, making decisions based on prestige, wealth, and power as opposed to making the correct decision for the situation. Perhaps I should be more cynical, and ask what political gain Schwarzenegger gets from removing his name from the city.

But instead I'll choose a more altruistic opinion: Schwarzenegger did not want his city influencing his decisions, so he gave back the honors which they had given him, which they held over him. Many politicians, I think, would never have made the move. I have to say kudos to Schwarzenegger for doing it.


Posted by Scottage at 12:29 PM / | |