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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Reality Check

Mr Burris Goes to Washington
James Campion
Remember the case of Roland Burris the next time some prickless dink prattles on about Founding Fathers and the almighty Constitution, or God given freedoms and the law-abiding exquisiteness of The System. Tell them none of that matters unless it is performed in action, through the letter and spirit of law, and not through some ideological, half-assed political ceremony of the absurd. For what the 111th Congress of these United States, and most egregiously the Democratic Party, is currently doing to the process of government as dictated by our democratic framework is patently criminal.

Burris' appointment by embattled and now impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich may turn one's stomach, perhaps like a little man-on-man love or burning cloth symbols or expressing one's liberties wherever they may lie on the socially acceptable scale, but it is not a basis of democratic law. It is anything but. Just as the idea that certain members of a political party or their fancy new president or their tired drone congressional leaders can sidestep constitutional law on the grounds that it was hatched in the cloud of "criminal complaint" flies in the face of the same Democratic Party which argues about Guantanamo Bay detainees. If they are entitled to their day in court and due process under the guise of "innocent until proven guilty" -- and not in the press or the goofy court of public opinion -- then so is Blagojevich.

    Until that day Blagojevich is the governor of Illinois, and as such, empowered by that office to choose the successor of a vacated senate seat as stated in the 17th Amendment of our constitution. He has done so. Whether this jibes with anyone's political, personal or moral objectives is not the point, nor should it be. It is the power and privilege of the office Blagojevich was elected to, by the people and for the people, and he has made his choice.

    The legislative branch of the federal government manipulating the actions of a state governor, whether under investigation, arrested, vilified or not, is a dangerous game, especially now at the dawning of a new administration with a massive economic stimulus package to be debated and passed. Illinois is entitled by constitutional law two representatives in the highest branch of congress, and that branch has no right to deny it.

    The only binding recourse for this congress to cite is Article One, Section Five of the Constitution: "Each House has the power to judge the elections and qualifications of its own members." The body has refused to do so. Why? Because it is a bogus argument. The qualifications (age, residency, citizenship) are all in order and Burris was not elected, but appointed, which sends the matter to the Illinois state legislature, which refused to act, and thus handed the whole shebang back into the governor's chair, where Rod Blagojevich presently sits.

    This is the end of the actual sane and legal part of the story.

    It only becomes a different story because what is being heaped upon Blagojevich's choice is an unlawful attempt at casting penance upon another embarrassing Chicago-Politics episode, and in any reasonable conclusion, hostile and bordering on racketeering. According to constitutional and Illinois State Law, which are the only realities that should or do matter here, it is not up to Harry Reid or the president elect to decide who or what emerges as a replacement for the state's senator. Certainly the media, the people or the sitting members of congress can have a say and protest and make cases against the appointment and by due process make strides to block or debate or filibuster it, but rejecting it outright by concocting bullshit scenarios about the state attorney general from Illinois refusing him a state seal or this imbecilic falderal about a "tainted selection" is seedy, petty, and most importantly...say it with me brother and sisters...Unconstitutional!

    Of course this is nothing new for the Democratic Party and its rogue's gallery of thuggish miscreants, who time and again for over a decade have stonewalled such great Americans as Ralph Nader and Bill Bradley and other "undesirables" from playing in their precious power games. And it is certainly nothing new for the wildly inept and criminally insane behavior of prominent members of this body for decades, most recently trolling airport stalls or flirting with young pages, collecting truckloads of Alaskan gifts or whatever bilious chicanery Tom Delay displayed daily as legislative deportment. Is it a sad state of affairs that a man who left a woman to die in an automobile forty years ago is allowed to be a celebrated senior senator from Massachusetts as poor, innocent Roland Burris twists in the wind?
Sure, but for reasons of money, stature, name and power, Ted Kennedy neatly sidestepped that little screw-up to be one of the most influential liberal lions of the modern Democratic Party, the same party which today pushes a legally appointed official to the curb under the guise of proper decorum.

    This brings us, as always, to the putrid fan dance of hypocrisy seen nightly on most of your C-Span stations: What the fuck is the difference between a man openly selling a seat in congress for cold, hard cash and another one getting it through cash laundered in bribes, television ads, backroom donations from special interest groups or organizations, or the wholly unfair panoply of redistricting, family ties, favors owed, or any of the dozens of idiosyncratic reasons a person ends up in the position for such a prominent seat of power in the first place?

    Oh, and this sidebar argument that there has to be an African American representative in the senate or there should be one to replace Barack Obama is stupid and a classic American insult to blacks everywhere. I thought I heard some jackass on MSNBC blather on about having a proportional amount of blacks and women and Hispanic representatives to that of the census. Again, as moronically naïve and dim-witted as that position is, it is for the people or law or constitutional debate to decide, not a few high-minded chieftains of government imposing punishment against the purported mockery of their station.

    So while the Obama Administration's first 100 days near, and a broken economy awaits this magic stimulus package, the United States Senate is three seats down; one from political smugness, the other in a contested Minnesota election that stinks to high heaven, and the last from the Empire State where the clubhouse leader appears to be an airhead. But it all pales in comparison to this latest outrage, no matter what backroom dealings put a band-aid on it as this goes to press.

    I know one thing, if I were sitting in the electric chair in Chicago today and the governor stayed my execution, I'd be none too pleased to have the guy at the switch answer, "I'm not sure this Blagojevich character is a straight shooter."

© James Campion Jan 10th 2009
0h-Nine: The Year of the Guilty
James Campion + Readers Letters
Two-thousand nine will be the year of The Guilty

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