Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Burris Calls Senate's Bluff, May Get Seated

Let it be known: if you whine enough, you will get what you want. At least that's what I take away from the whole Blagojevich-Burris fiasco. Despite an earlier tough stance on not seating Roland Burris from many party leaders, many Democratics have recently scaled back their defenses and are actually making it look like Burris might sit with the new Senate. Why?

One may be the illegitimate cry of racism coming from Burris supporters. Bobby Rush even said that we should not "lynch" Burris just because Blagojevich appointed him. No one is lynching Burris, just like no one lynched Clarence Thomas, but Rush understands the powerful symbol of the noose in American politics and politicians' inability to defend themselves against it, even if criticisms are legitimate (like being appointed by a corrupt scumbag). This is similar to when Sarah Palin supporters called criticisms of her credentials (or lack thereof) sexist. I've said it before; Burris may very well be qualified for this seat, but the process through which it was (tentatively) obtained is not legitimate. Hell, his papers aren't even in order, as Illinois' Secretary of State Jesse White refuses to co-sign the appointment with Blagojevich. So if you want to get technical (which Burris seems to want to do), his appointment is not yet completed. Additionally, the Senate has the ability to govern itself and can refuse to seat someone, as outlined in Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution.

Another reason why leaders in Washington have lost their previously displayed backbone against corruption is that they were bluffing and hoping that Burris would not call their bluff. It's like a mother at the supermarket when her kid starts throwing a tantrum for a piece of candy. "Don't make me count to three. One... Two... Two and a half... Two and three quarters..." What's going to happen when she gets to three? Nothing, it's a bluff. In the end, the mother has two choices: continue to take a stand against the immature kid or just give the kid the piece of candy to shut him up. Burris is in the midst of a pretty severe tantrum right now with his actions. Rallying supporters who lashed out at anyone opposing Burris' seating as racist, declaring that his Senate status has been ordained by the Lord, and going to Washington despite repeated warnings that he will not be allowed into chambers are all acts of immaturity and egotism and embody the modern-day political temper tantrum.

One thing that Burris and those who support him need to understand is that this is not a "crusade" against God's chosen Illinois senator. This is people standing up to corruption and sleazy politics. Why Burris would even want to be associated with Blagojevich is beyond me, but to accept his appointment and fight, esentially, on his behalf? This legitimizes Blago, which is the last thing that should be happening right now. The problem is this: by seating Burris you are legitimizing Blagojevich and willing to sidestep the fact that he is involved in a massive corruption scandal over the very same seat Burris so desperately wants. To not seat Burris is not racist; it instead says that we will not allow the corrupt governor (the real target of peoples' animosity and who, by the way, is white) to appoint anyone, not just Burris in particular.

At the end of the day, anyone appointed by Governor Blagojevich to the U.S. Senate has no business being there while the investigation continues. Because Roland Burris was appointed by Blagojevich and the investigation into Blagojevich's actions is ongoing, Roland Burris has no business being in the U.S. Senate. His qualifications and accolades (not to mention his race) have nothing to do with this. Unfortunately I see the Senate seating him to shut him up, just like the mother finally relenting and giving her kicking and screaming kid candy in the supermarket. Peace.

Photos - Burris meeting with Senate leaders today (New York Times), Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (Illinois Channel)

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