Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blagojevich, the Media and the Race Card

This article originally appeared at on Jan 8th, 2009.

I don´t like to write about politics. That last statement might come as a surprise to some of my regular readers. "Szandor," you might think, "You love to write about politics. You do it all the time." Well, the last part of that statement may be true, but the first part is actually a misconception. I write about politics because I feel I have to. Given the choice I´d much rather write a horror novel or some fantasy. That´s what I really consider myself good at. I love to let my imagination run wild.

I read very few other writers who share my views on politics, however, even though I speak to many people, common folk like me, who do. It seems that there is quite a lack of pundits out there who are in touch with the common man. I believe there is a very large contingent of people out there who just want the government to leave them alone and yet hardly anyone voices this opinion. Certainly no one I know of in the mainstream media does. It makes it so that common folk find it difficult to truly express the principles they want to live by because they can´t quite put their finger on what those principles are. Anyway, that´s why I started writing about politics, after all my opinion is just as good (or bad) as anyone else´s.

Politics is a dirty, foul business. It seems to bring out the worst in people. Or perhaps it simply attracts the worst kind of people. After all, it takes a certain personality, one who longs for power and the ability to control people and events, a control freak so to speak, to be a politician. At least, that´s the impression I get from the actions of most of the politicians I see. So I was not in the least bit surprised when I heard that the Illinois governor, Mr. Rod Blagojevich, was caught by the feds doing something illegal. What did surprise me was that he was indicted. After all, he didn´t really do anything most other politicians wouldn´t have done. Indeed, I would bet that ninety percent of all politicians have done something illegal (not to mention unethical) at some point while in office, that is, if betting on such things was legal. What I wonder is, "who did Mr. Blagojevich piss off?"

Yet all that doesn´t seem to matter to the mainstream media or most of the public. Perhaps we do get the government we deserve after all. There is no doubt in my mind that the corruption in our government on all levels is endemic and only God knows why we continue to put up with it. We as a society do, however, continue to put up with it and when one politician goes down it seems that we as a society have a tendency to view it as good entertainment rather than with the disdain it should be viewed with. And so the media has made jokes and a show of Mr. Blagojevich´s follies and the pundits are out in force opining about his actions.

But perhaps Mr. Blagojevich isn´t as dumb as those pundits might think. Sure, he got caught in a manner that makes one think he should have known better, but he also knows the law and the law says that one is innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor in this case hasn´t even set a trial date yet, let alone found him guilty. So Mr. Blagojevich decides he needs to start working for a change and appoints Mr. Roland Burris to fill the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he was elected president. This was probably a pretty smart political move by the governor. Mr. Roland Burris is a fairly popular personality in his community, and he´s black. Nothing like stirring up a little controversy to take the focus off an impending impeachment.

Personally, I detest talking about race. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, it really doesn´t matter. What matters is that we´re all human beings. These collectivist terms we use to classify our brethren into different groups serves only to divide us. But in this particular case the color of the man´s skin seems to have become very important to those involved in this whole debacle and those reporting on it. It was Mr. Roland Burris himself who made a statement that he would be the only black man in the Senate. So what? Is he thinking that is reason enough to seat him in the chamber? Does he feel he would be the voice of the entire black community? Well, call me cynical, but I´m not so sure about that. Besides, wouldn´t he serve the people of Illinois, no matter their race, better if he concentrated on preserving states´ rights? That is, after all, as far as I´m concerned, the main reason the founders crafted the upper chamber of congress in the way they did. There was a time, after all, when all senators were appointed by their state´s congress rather than elected by popular vote.

As long as we´re grouping people, here´s something to think about. Sure, we don´t have a black man in the Senate, but we also don´t have a common man either. I believe that the vast majority of these senators, if not all of them, are very well to do. Most if not all of them go to the same clubs and eat at the same fancy restaurants. Most of them are worth more than you and I put together could ever hope to be worth. Judging by Mr. Roland Burris´ bio, I would tend to put him in the same category with the other elitist politicians that seek power over us poor slobs. Perhaps I´m misjudging him and he isn´t so privileged, but I´m betting he harbors elitist, socialistic ideals like so many of our politicians today. I´m betting he´s just as much a control freak as anyone on Capital Hill.

If Mr. Blagojevich really wanted controversy, he should have picked a regular Joe off the street and put him in office, someone with a reputation for honesty and with no political experience at all. Better yet, he should have picked someone with libertarian ideals who would fight for individual rights and smaller government. That would really have thrown a wrench into the works. I can´t think of any minority that would be more upsetting to the power elite in Washington DC than a minority of one who has never made more than 40 or 50K per year (or less) and who infiltrates their club as their equal. Yet such a man would most likely "serve" his constituency better than those who were ordained could ever hope to serve. Perhaps such a man would even expose the corruption and hypocrisy of these career politicians right on the floor of the Senate for the world to see. There I go again. I said earlier I liked to let my imagination run wild.

But then, maybe I´m wrong about the whole situation. Maybe Mr. Blagojevich didn´t even consider the fact that Mr. Burris is black and that had nothing to do with why the governor picked this former bank examiner/comptroller/attorney general. Maybe he did it because Mr. Burris will actually fight in congress for the little guy. Maybe Mr. Burris is not concerned about himself and his friends and will fight to restore individual liberty for all Americans. Perhaps this isn´t politics as usual. Perhaps Mr. Burris won´t do what most other politicians do, use his position to reward his friends and supporters and punish his enemies. Maybe Mr. Blagojevich appointed Mr. Burris because the governor realizes Mr. Burris is not a political insider and would be a maverick in the Senate. Perhaps Mr. Blagojevich is just trying to get even with those who are trying to put him in jail by appointing someone who will really take the rest of the Senate to task.

You know, I really do prefer writing fantasy.

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