Friday, February 20, 2009

“It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again.”

Yogi Berra’s increasing relevance as a philosopher should worry us a little these days. It’s not because of Berra’s seeming contempt for proper syntax or his unconscious insistence on utilizing the oxymoron as metaphor. I think the fact that Berra’s witticisms are becoming progressively significant, (at times unwitting Kafkaesque explorations of paradox,) and stingingly pertinent is a sign of just how bad things are, all over, in American politics. Like many of Yogi’s past off hand remarks, American politicians make apparent sense on the outside, are confusing beneath their surface, and exist in utter contradiction to their principles when one steps back a few paces to look and listen again.

The seating of Roland Burris should never have been honored. Harry Reid should’ve stuck to his guns, -impotent guns such as they were. I’ve used a lot of space and a lot of foul language on this blog to strike at Rod Blagojevich, someone who has never put the state of Illinois before his own interests. Roland Burris is able, experienced and well known. Mr. Burris has a long record of public service which could have translated into a certain muscularity when it came to the difficult work of passing bills and representing his state. All things being equal, he could have been an excellent choice… but all things are not equal. Burris was appointed by a Governor who stands accused, recorded on tape, of trying to sell that same Senate seat. The cloud of corruption around Mr. Burris’ appointment should have been enough to make him step aside and refuse said appointment by Governor Blagojevich. But as I wrote earlier, in response to a post by my collaborator on this blog no one should expect any politician to walk away from a seat in the Senate.

With things being so “different,” it’s very easy to see what’s still the same, and what’s still wrong in politics.

I repeat; no one should expect any politician to walk away from a seat in the Senate. But Roland Burris really should have refused this appointment. He should have stepped aside because in going along with a crooked Governor’s design, he was letting Rod Blagojevich further exercise his powers, -powers he had proven too weak and irresponsible to wield.
Burris himself is now tainted by allegations that, far from being a simple tool, a token cynically used by Rod Blagojevich to distract the American public and its lawmakers in the final days of his senate-seat-for-sale scandal, Burris actually talked and discussed terms with Rod Blagojevich’s surrogates.

Roland Burris, like Rod Blagojevich before him is not stepping down. That’s not how they do it in Illinois apparently.

The colossal gall required to stand there before a sea of microphones explaining a lie is monstrous. I’d often wondered back when I was in college how the old Tamany Hall operated so brazenly in old New York. I now have a sense of how graft is re-described, contextualized, and euphemized as to seem like nothing more than a series of misunderstandings on everyone’s part. The game Rod Blagojevich and now Roland Burris are playing with the public is a trial of mental endurance. Blagojevich and Burris are testing how many times can they deny the obvious, cite technicalities and feign ignorance before the media, and the public let it all slide.

The Illinois legislature must do what it failed to do before:
They must call for an immediate special election.

This might mean not getting a Democrat seated, this might not even mean a “clean” politician when all is said and done… but it will be a definitive end to these distractions that have interrupted the business of the people of the state of Illinois.

Illinois deserves better.


1 comment:

Jack Jodell said...

Both Illinois and our country deserve better. Burris lied and should have known better. This goes beyond a mere mistake in judgment. It is an embarrassment his President does not deserve or need. It is an embarrassment and a controversy neither his party nor state, nor even the institution of Congress should have to go through. Mr. Burris may indeed have a long history of public service but I have seen nothing yet that convinces me he is anywhere near par with Obama or former Illinois greats like Paul Simon or Everett Dirksen. Burris must either step down or get the boot, in my book.