Pubdate: Sun, 25 May 2008
Source: Anderson Independent-Mail (SC)
Copyright: 2008 Independent Publishing Company, a division of E.W. Scripps


The average man who goes through a mid-life crisis buys a red car, one
slung so low to the ground he has to date sweet young things because
they are limber enough to sling themselves out.

Thomas Ravenel apparently isn't your average man. When he went through
what he told a reporter was his mid-life crisis, he turned to cocaine.

The disgraced former South Carolina Treasurer only used a little, just
every now and then, he says now, referring to himself as a
"recreational user" in a published report in The State.

In that same report, he maintained that he is not addicted, that he
doesn't need any help. He may be the only one who thinks so.

He claims that he didn't use cocaine during his campaign for the
United States Senate in 2004 -- but admits he used cocaine "maybe three
or four times" while he held the office of state treasurer. Did he use
cocaine during that campaign? The report doesn't say. And Ravenel's
reasoning? He only used on "his own time on weekends or maybe vacations."

He's two different men: Thomas Ravenel, millionaire real estate
developer, man about town and rising star in the political arena. And
Thomas Ravenel, who now wants us to pity him for betraying his own
potential, his family and millions of South Carolinians who have been
embarrassed by his lack of respect for the office and the people who
put him there.

But we don't have to worry about his business. After a slight dip
after his conviction, business is better than ever, he said. His
sister will take care of things while he's "away" in a
minimum-security facility in Jesup, Ga. Daily phone calls will allow
him to keep up with the market. He might write a book "to help
others." He might run for office again. He can't in South Carolina,
which requires a 15-year wait for a convicted felon to seek public
office. But he told the reporter he thinks he is eligible at the
federal level, the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House. That should instill
confidence for us in the requirements for Congress.

Ravenel says he is seeking forgiveness, looking for redemption for his
past actions.

You want redemption?

Quit thinking about your business, making empty excuses and public
relations blitzes and do a little good in the world. You claim you
aren't addicted. But thousands of people in our state are. They see
celebrities (and politicians) weather drug arrests as a mere glitch.
And some of them have nowhere to turn. Use some of your money to start
a rehab center that works, that ordinary people can afford. And do it
as a volunteer. Don't talk of writing a book "to help people." Get out
there and help them.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (under the National
Institutes of Health), "Regardless of how cocaine is used or how
frequently, a user can experience acute cardiovascular or
cerebrovascular emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, which
could result in sudden death."

Tell people about that, the fact that drugs can take not just one's
possessions but the most precious possession of all -- life.

A national survey in 2006 revealed that approximately 35.3 million
Americans aged 12 and older had tried cocaine at least once in their
lifetimes. That represents 14.3 percent of the population 12 and
older. Comedy writers even use addictions to drugs or alcohol and we
all laugh. But there's nothing funny about it.

Unfortunately, in all we've read since it all began, Ravenel has shown
less remorse for his actions than for the fact he was caught.

And that's as regrettable as the whole sordid mess.
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MAP posted-by: Derek