Wednesday, July 02, 2014

George Ryan is a free man and he is talking...

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green
Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times talks with former Governor George Ryan as a free man. He was released from his five year stint in federal custody last year and finally ended his probation this morning at 12:01 AM.

Ryan talked about his time as Governor, the event that helped send him to jail on corruption charges, and the fallout from his moratorium on the death penalty. It was a really excellent column and I recognize that people will either respect him or continue to hate him.

At least his mind is clear on the death penalty. While I may not have been entirely happy with his decision before he left the governor's office over a decade ago I can safely say now I can respect it. He did what he thought was right and not as a political calculation. At least this was how I read the comments he made in this column.

I especially ached because he wanted to be with his wife as she was dying. Of course prison is such a harsh institution as much as Ryan wanted to be with his wife he could only visit her as she was dying or at her funeral. He visited her as she was dying, however, in his words she had no idea he was by her side.

The harshness of politics and prison another thing Ryan noted was that he found out who his friends really were. He lost friends because of his stance over the death penalty - he told one instance of that here - and he found out who his friends were when he want to federal prison.

I wonder if Rich Miller will talk about this column today.

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