On the endangered list: the sentient American

A Bush Administration aide, Mr. Claude Allen, was arrested on charges of running a retail refund scheme. According to reports, he has been under investigation for a while, and although he recently resigned his advisory post citing the need to spend more time with his family, it seems that excuse was anything but. Or was it?

As the Washington Post noted, the man’s mother once:

“warned him that as a black man he risked ruining his life, or at least his career, by becoming a Republican.”

“As it turned out, nothing could have been farther from the truth. Allen rose steadily through the Republican political ranks. From congressional campaign aide, to Senate staffer, state Cabinet secretary, federal appeals court nominee and the upper reaches of the Bush administration — all by age 45.”

This issue will be drawn on racial lines. It will be politicized (in fact, it already is). But what will be forgotten is the human being, Claude Allen. Many disagree with the things this man did and said while on the job. I’ll make no comment on that. But I ponder one point, that made by his mother. Mr. Allen worked in a “hostile” environment; under everyone’s microscope as well. Whether this pressure drove him to commit the acts he did (if he did them), or such actions were inherent in his personality, there is little help for him now. Help he might just want and desperately need. Help from his family and closest friends, his community, his therapist, whomever.

Some would concur that Mr. Allen’s life is now ruined, but I’d say a particular combination of color and party selection is not solely to blame. Opinions being formed for the spotlight, drawn by politics and media frenzy, are. He is being dehumanized – and by not reflecting on our own trials, feeling thankful those weren’t splattered on the front page of every paper and TV screen in the country, we are too.

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