New Thinking with Joe Bartuah

Joe Bartuah

Joe Bartuah


Dennis Hastert: An Evil Face of Ideology


The former Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007, J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois. Hastert, 74, got a taste of American justice on Wednesday, April 27th when he was sentenced to 15 months in prison. As Speaker, Hastert was the third in line of succession for the U.S. presidency. That is, in case of an extraordinary situation in which the president and vice president were simultaneously incapacitated, Mr. Hastert as Speaker, had the constitutional mandate to be president of the United States of America. The mere fact that this once powerful gentleman was sentenced to a common federal prison for one year and three months is indicative of the impartial features of U.S. laws and their application.

A curious reader might want to know as to what was Hastert’s crime. He excessively withdrew huge sums of money from his own account without informing the federal government about the real purpose of such questionably cash withdrawals. The amount in question totaled $3.5 million. To be clear, Hastert did not steal the money; it was his legitimate asset, but the manner in which the former top lawmaker made the withdrawals was criminal under American law.

The crux of the matter is that while serving as a high school teacher and wrestling coach between 1965 and 1980, Hastert was said to have sexually abused several young boys who were under his tutelage at the time. So the Republican political guru went overnight like Nicodemus, begging the gentleman for mercy and promised to basically bribe him with $3.5 million dollars. Even though the former lawmaker was fully aware that such withdrawals were against the law, he, however, cunningly tried to by-pass the law by withdrawing the money bit-by-bit in the maximum of $50,000 which is allowed by law. However shady Hastert tried to be, the bank took notice of his extraordinary withdrawals and informed federal investigators.

When law enforcement officers cornered the former Speaker, he lied that he was making the withdrawal for his personal use; he even made an outlandish claim that he did not trust the banking system. But as investigators later found out, Hastert past sordid deeds had entrapped him; one of the boys that he raped is now a fully grown man in his 50’s; he had threatened to expose the former Speaker, once a conservative hawk and champion of “family values.” In other words, the former wrestling guru was quarter-backing, scurrying to utilize his opulence in covering his past shady deeds.

Well, as bizarre it may appear that the 74-year-old ex-Speaker, himself a father of two grown men is being committed to a common jail for sexually abusing five young boys is not fascinating anymore, because the case began in 2015. Moreover, Hastert admitted in court “mistreating some of my athletes that I coached.” The word “mistreating”, as employed by the ex-Speaker, is a cunning euphemism of “raping” under-age boys by Hastert who now claims that he’s “deeply ashamed” of his past misdeeds.

Despite his apparent remorse of conscience, Judge Thomas Durkin tagged the former Republican political icon as “a serial child molester.” In addition to serving a jail sentence, the disgraced politician was ordered to pay $250,000 into an escrow fund for victims of sex abuse.

What really surprised me was that a coterie (at 40 of them) of former Republic lawmakers scurried to the ex-Speaker’s defense, prevailing on the judge to apply “leniency” in sentencing their former boss. What was so shameless about the former Congressmen’s pleas is that the former Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Tom DeLay of Texas, the flamboyant self-styled conservative hawk insisted that Hastert “doesn’t deserve what he is going through.” In DeLay’s communication to Judge Durkin, he maintained, “We all have flaws, but Dennis Hastert has very few.”

Really, Mr. DeLay? What DeLay failed to mention is that even if his outlandish claim that Hastert has “very few flaws” is taken as a sort of a given, just for the sake of argument, the former Speaker’s relevant flaws in this instance concerning the young boys were penetratingly excruciating and psychologically dehumanizing. DeLay also labeled Hastert as a man of “great integrity” who “gets his integrity and values from” the Lord.

For argument’s sake, the former Texan politician has a point in claiming that his buddy is a man of integrity, because a coach is a mentor or role model. For Hastert to have been appointed as a wrestling coach by his high school, in addition to his teaching position in the 1960s meant that the school authorities perceived some modicum of integrity in his deportment. Probably that was one of the reasons they entrusted him with training the young men at the time; it was a distinctive privilege accorded Hastert to inspire a group of youth so as to enable them optimize their potential.

Unfortunately, the huge, bulky ex-wrestler from Illinois grossly betrayed the confidence reposed in him; he trashed the opportunity to serve by wickedly subjecting the kids in his care to devilish dehumanization. Usually young people who are keenly intent on achieving in certain sphere of life look up to their coaches, their mentors as sorts of fatherly or motherly figures, as the case may be. Perhaps Hastert had excelled at his wrestling career during his heydays. One can just imagine the eminence he exuded among the young men he was coaching; imagine how many athletes and non-athletes who looked up to Hastert with tremendous admiration and wished to be like him. But the future GOP politician became oblivious of the moral and statutory injunction the high office of a coach had imposed on him; he succumbed to his egomaniac or pathological lust and began to engage in despicable acts against unsuspecting young boys.

According to prosecutors, the former Speaker “made payments to a man who was sexually abused at age 14” by Hastert when he was the boy’s wrestling coach. Noting that the abuse also involved “other minors”, prosecutors observed that oral sex, touching the boys’ genitals among others. When DeLay claims that Hastert “does not deserve what he’s going through”, I’m reminded of the biblical admonishment to hypocrites to “first take the log out of your own eye” so that they will have a better vision in taking “the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthews 7:50).

Although from DeLay’s perspective, Hastert had “few flaws”, the fact is that his so-called few flaws perniciously shattered the dreams of several young boys who would have otherwise aspired to nobler heights; his misdeeds permanently implanted indelible physical and psychological blight on many tender lives.

Now, to be clear, Hastert is not being jailed for all those heinous crimes he persistently committed against other people’s children for more than two decades, because the statute of limitation on those hardcore crimes had expired, hence the very short term of prison for him. However, he deliberately lied to investigators for which he was charged with, and convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. Since it is believed that Hastert might have sexually abused at least “five minors”, had he been statutorily penalized for rape, he would have been sentenced to at least 30 years in prison. But because he had engaged in those dirty deeds about 40 years ago, so he eluded the appropriate punishment for his crimes.

It’s against this backdrop that the Texan politician is chanting that his Illinois buddy does not deserve what he’s going through. What a hypocritical assertion! A little over 18 years ago, John Dennis Hastert and Thomas Dale DeLay were both Congressmen of the U.S. House of Representatives. Both played significant roles in impeaching then President Bill Clinton; Clinton had had “inappropriate affairs” with a grown 23-year-old woman named Monica Lewinsky. Both

Hastert and DeLay—two Republican stalwarts—believed that the Democratic Clinton deserved to be booted out of the presidential office for his dalliance with a 23-year-old woman, but DeLay now claims that his buddy doesn’t deserve what he’s going through for sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy and other kids. Outlandish and hypocritical!! At least for Clinton, he’s man who had an “inappropriate affair” with a WOMAN, unlike Hastert, a huge man who had an unacceptable sexual relation with a BOY! Ridiculous!!

Is that the so-called “family values” that the two Republican buddies used to champion so much while in Congress? Is Delay saying that commensurate punishment for crime(s) committed is only applicable to Democrats, not Republicans? It seems that for Hastert, DeLay and others like them, applying the rule of law is only applicable when the object of such punishment is a Democrat, or any other political rival, but not a Republican. In order to continue earning the respect of the American people, public figures who lay claims to certain ideological principles must be prepared to uphold those very principles in times of reckoning; shamelessly vacillating on such principles in desperate attempts to rescue criminal buddies reeks of innate evil.



Filed in: New Thinking

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