The Kenosha News Wednesday seemed to almost gloat over the resignation of Kenosha County Executive Allan K. Kehl, saying that he should have done so immediately instead of effective on March 31.
In so doing the newspaper not only paid lip service to the constitutional presumption of innocence but actually insulted it by repeated references to the presumption only to be followed with another reason why the indicted county executive should hang it up.
The newspaper's logic is that while Kehl, accused of unlawful campaign finance activity, has the constitutional presumption innocence his "political authority" has diminished to the point where he may not effectively govern.
Maybe so, but whose fault is that?
Suppose Kehl is innocent -- does that mean simply because he's accused he should walk away from the office he campaigned for, spent time and money to achieve and is his right to occupy until either his term expires or he's no longer legally qualified to serve (such as if he's convicted).
Yes, I am mindful that an indicted person in Kehl's position is like the elephant in the room and certainly being around him at these times has to be difficult for all concerned.
But our forefathers never promised us a rose garden, only a Constitution and ours wasn't made just to keep people comfortable.
I agree with the newspaper that state law has a huge void in that it won't allow Kehl to take or be placed on a paid leave of absence until the charges are resolved, but that's the way it is. The price of the presumption of innocence may be a lack of comfort but spitting on our constitutional principles in the name of convenience is even more distressing.
Kehl may be guilty and at some point he may be compelled to leave office. But it shouldn't be before he's convicted just because it makes us more comfy. A constitutional society occasionally has to place principle above convenience but doing so gives life to our Constitution.