Tea Party Congressman Trey Radel will be returning to work soon after completing drug rehabilitation which he entered following his arrest for cocaine possession in November. Radel, who voted for and has been a vocal proponent for mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients, was sentenced to a paltry year of probation after pleading guilty to possessing the illegal drug, avoiding the possible year in jail and $1000 fine such a charge can bring in the nation’s capitol.
As a cherry on top for what is undoubtedly the expectation of “good behavior,” Radel’s arrest and conviction will be removed from his criminal record entirely once his probation is complete, giving him a nice blank slate.
Presently across the nation though, 500,000 non-violent drug offenders are sitting in America’s prisons for equal and sometimes even lesser crimes. Roughly a million are estimated to be on some form of probation or parole for the same. Each year billions of dollars are spent and thousands of lives are lost or destroyed by men just like congressman Radel to “fight” the trade and use of drugs. The topical, ironic hypocrisy in this which could almost make this matter laughable, is slightly overshadowed by these facts.
Adding insult to injury, the congressman’s admission into an in-patient rehabilitation facility begs the question where his desire to get clean really came from. In an interview with CNN following his arrest, Radel put forward a sincere attempt to appear contrite for his actions, invoking his mommy-issues card saying he “grew up with a mom who struggled with alcoholism,” adding, “I don’t want my son to struggle with that.”
Knowing first hand what life with an addict can be like, it is a curious thing that it took not merely an arrest for cocaine but substantial publicity regarding it to make him think of sparing his son from what he himself went through. It remains a similar curiosity however that in his time (presumably) reviewing and voting on bills that sought to scrutinize the public for suspected drug use as a condition of what is often their only lifeline, he may have not plied his own insights as an addict in some way, to perhaps add a hint of compassion to his otherwise hypocritical legislating.
Returning to work whenever he feels like it to rejoin the rest of the “do nothing congress,” Radel is already facing his first primary challenger in the form of fellow tea-partier Paige Kreegel. Kreegel enters the race with his own superPAC already toting funds upwards of a million dollars. Though GOP leadership in Florida has pressured Radel to bow out of the race amid the scandal and inescapable hypocrisy, Radel has shown no sign he intends to.
(h/t: Daily Kos)