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It just feels wrong
by Asa Butcher
2007-03-11 09:56:06
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Finland is currently preparing itself for the 2007 General Elections, although since I do not hold Finnish citizenship I am ineligible to cast a vote. I am, however, watching the proceedings and it was a different type of news story that caught my attention earlier in the week.

According to YLE, Finland's National Broadcaster, National Coalition MP Kimmo Sasi was hit by fatigue just before causing a traffic accident. Sasi drove into oncoming traffic killing the driver of the oncoming vehicle and injuring the man's wife, who was in the passenger seat. The news story confirms that the MP was not under the influence of drink or drugs, but admitted feeling fatigued a few minutes before, although that feeling had passed.

None of this bothered me, but I was suddenly struck by this one paragraph: Kimmo Sasi intends to continue his campaign for re-election to Parliament. According to an aide, suspicion of involuntary manslaughter does not affect his candidacy. I found myself re-reading those lines over a few times to ensure that I had seen them correctly because a chill had run down my spine at the inappropriate timing of the comment.

A man is dead, a woman has lost her husband and children may have lost a father, yet the electorate can rest easy because he'll be back on the campaign trail as soon as doctors give him the thumbs up. I can only hope that none of the dead man's family read these tasteless comments because I didn't even know the man and I feel angry.

Is politics really that important that an answer to this obvious question couldn't have been delayed a few more days, or at least until the man had been buried? I think the keyword missing here is 'respect' and perhaps 'consideration', but the National Coalition bandwagon must roll on because, as their election slogan states, they are 'Suomen Toivo' (Finland's hope).

Once the anger at subsided, I found another strange aspect to that sentence concerning the fact that suspicion of involuntary manslaughter does not affect his candidacy. Really! Strange again how in one walk of life, namely politics, it doesn't matter, while in another, say working at McDonald's, does. Try to imagine the response from an interviewer if you told them that you were suspected of manslaughter, involuntary or not? Do you think that you would get the job?

I am sure you are aware, but a Member of Parliament is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. A representative, this means that he 'represents' your social ideals and political views, and this is why you placed an X beside the name. The accident was a tragic affair for all involved, but I could not bring myself to vote for anybody under suspicion of anything, until their innocence or guilt has been proven otherwise.

The fate of National Coalition MP Kimmo Sasi now rests in the hands of the police and the voters' conscience, although I wonder how much misplaced sympathy will go towards the MP and not the dead man's family. I don't know, the whole thing just feels wrong.

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Rinso2007-03-10 11:07:52
You describe my emotions very well. It is tragic what has happened, but to continue with the campaign as if nothing has happened is unthinkable for me. Someone who obviously feels no remorse, cannot be trusted with political power.

Sand2007-03-10 18:57:07
As awful as the tragedy might be it was obviously an accident and all concerned must continue with their lives. Destroying Sasi's career would do no good to anybody and probably a good deal of harm to Sasi's life and that of his family and perhaps the country if Sasi performed well in parliament.

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