Now what?

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The trial that thrust the former residents of Virginia’s executive mansion into the national spotlight has finally, and mercifully, come to a close, or as Gerald Ford once said, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

Ford’s comments, as you may recall, came on the heels of his having been recently sworn into office as president of the United States, having ascended to the nation’s top job following Richard Nixon’s resignation due to the fallout from the Watergate scandal. Of course, this nightmare was neither long by Watergate’s standards nor national, as it served to mostly embarrass Virginians. But for those most directly impacted by the corruption scandal that swirled around former governor Bob McDonnell, primarily his family, it has been a nightmare nonetheless.

As Virginians, we are accustomed to expecting more from our governors. After all, when the first two men to hold the office are Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, there is a lot to live up to. But although our expectations may be relatively high, they are reasonable just the same. After all, is it reasonable to expect that an investigation into the governor’s financial dealings to not turn up $50,000 checks and Rolex watches? We think so. Which is why we call on our state officeholders to immediately enact legislation barring the receipt of any meaningful gifts or loans. Period. If our governors are no longer smart enough to know that, while maybe not illegal, taking that type of money while in office is at least monumentally stupid, then it’s time to protect them — and us — from themselves.