Senator Chuck Graham still has time to take the honorable action and admit that he had too much to drink when he ended up in the hands of the law a fortnight ago. But allow me to predict that Graham will emerge unscathed and politically triumphant when all the votes are counted.
The Democrat from the 19th District will beat this one because, well, that’s the way the system seems to work.
With prima facie evidence that this elected official was drunker than a skunk that evening, the case will boil down to a legal proceeding that might be captioned City of Columbia v. Curators of the University of Missouri – of the other way around, whoever fires the first shot.
A court will dismiss the case on a technicality when a judge rules that evidence taken from University Hospital (a jar of urine and a blood sample) is inadmissible.
Graham has not been a bad representative, but simply promising to stop drinking is not good enough.
The immoderate consumption of alcohol is a problem societies have tangled with since Creation. There’s the recent imbroglio where the Columbia City Council pranced around whether or not to allow the sale and consumption of intoxicating substances on city property. Then there’s the ongoing march of arrests and case dispositions reported each week that range from the illegal purchase of as little as single can of beer by or in some cases in behalf of a minor to the recent arrest of a prominent state senator who forfeited his ability to control his own vehicle because he’d had too much to drink.
While threats to personal safety and life have been rather stunningly ameliorated in recent years, the dangers posed by the intemperate consumption of alcohol will seemingly be with us forever. Our only defense may be to somehow minimize the number of occasions where we tangle with people who are out of control because they drink too much.
Largely unnoticed has been the inconvenience Chuck Graham’s irresponsibly stupid behavior that evening brought on two other drivers who coincidentally happened to be aligned with him at the wrong place at the wrong time on a street in south Columbia. Here was a three vehicle accident that brought in a cascade of other participants making for an impossibly long list of individuals, agencies and institutions I couldn’t fairly account for here only to salute them all and say that I’m glad they are around and on the job.
Driving under the influence heads my list of personal annoyances and behaviors that need to but realistically won’t ever go away. A steady, maybe increasing percentage of the population continues to drive under the influence of alcohol and various other controlled substances. This guarantees employment ad infinitum to a cornucopia of individuals and institutions that are perpetually forced to wrestle with the problem.
While many business people are still conflicted about their 19th District Senator in light of the recent controversial denial of MOHELA grants to MU, Graham remains one of the University of Missouri’s staunchest advocates at a time—as I have already noted—when beloved Old Mizzou navigates shark-infested waters in a state where funding higher education has lost its priority.
State Sen. Graham would have redeemed himself in my eyes if he had just come out and admitted what we all have pretty much figured out. Falling on the sword of telling the truth might have injured Graham temporarily, but for me he’d have come out a winner without dragging us through all this revisionist buncombe about going on the wagon, whatever that means.
Graham has the opportunity to redeem himself if he turns the problem of people driving under the influence into his own personal crusade, but first he needs to admit he was just plain plumb drunk that evening