What Year Is It?
April 10, 2006
R. D. Kushner
Washington circa 1820. In the spirit of the early 19th Century, Tom Delay's resignation survived only one twenty-four hour news cycle, while Cynthia McKinney's "altercation" with a Capitol Police guard grabbed headlines for three straight days, culminating with her full apology on the House floor and the specter of a grand jury indictment. This is a clear indication that a black woman in Congress who harasses a security guard is a greater danger to the United States of America than an indicted politician who has used his bully pulpit to divide America as deftly as the Mason Dixon Line.
If Cynthia McKinney and Tom Delay are equally innocent until proven guilty, then the magnitude of their alleged legal and ethical transgressions is like comparing Rosa Parks to Attila the Hun; where Cynthia McKinney is a vocal representative of the struggling masses and Tom Delay is the most feared and notorious barbarian of all time. Is there really any question as to which person is more carcinogenic to American politics? Is a scuffle with a security guard the same thing as preaching vitriolic hatred and bigoted intolerance from one of the highest offices in the land?
McKinney's lawyer, James Myart said, "I would think that they would recognize that there simply is not enough evidence here to even bring an indictment." The same cannot be said for Tom DeLay's infractions, for which an indictment has already been handed down. As Cynthia McKinney heads to a grand jury as early as this week, does anyone know what's going on with the Tom DeLay indictment? Although the political toll on DeLay has already resulted in his resignation, the main stream media seems to have little interest in pursuing the far-reaching social and ethical implications of his legal and moral infractions.
Americans have been offered a blow-by-blow account of McKinney's altercation, and yet Americans still don't have a full account of DeLay's corruption - not to mention the myriad ways in which his noxious "leadership" has infected the ranks of the Republican party. The tip of the Tom DeLay iceberg of corruption are his ties to convicted criminal Jack Abramoff and the allegations that he illegally steered corporate money into campaigns for the Texas legislature. If Cynthia McKinney can make headline news with simply a misunderstanding with a police officer, then surely there is some room in print for the colossus of DeLay's political miasma.
If only Tom DeLay would do something as banal as scuffle with a security guard, maybe justice would be promptly served. Either that, or he could be caught in the Oval Office giving Bill Clinton a blowjob. That might be a big story. In the mean time, Americans are served Cynthia McKinney a la carte; the main stream media is feeding ravenous American consumers this racially divisive storyline and the expectation that there will be an old-fashioned lynching.
Bill Frist is under investigation for possible security violations, Scooter Libby is on trial for perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to FBI agents, President Bush is accused of violating NSA wire-tap laws and of leaking classified information that his administration knew to be false, and Tom DeLay has resigned after realizing that his close relationship with Jack Abramoff and his Texas legislature shenanigans have become a burden on the Republican party. All this, and yet it's Cynthia McKinney who is front page news. This is as low-brow a distraction as raising the terror alert before the 2004 elections. How ironic that the "liberal" media repeatedly puts a black woman on the front page when there are so many stories of gross government negligence and incompetence on issues as diverse as Health Care and the national deficit; all this with a war going on and nineteen United States Military personnel killed already this month.
The media has misplaced priorities and the government is suffering from a near complete lack of responsibility. Government oversight has been reduced to nothing more than incompetent explanations for incompetence, and yet the media are speechless when confronted with the litany of well documented corruption engendered by this administration. One would expect that in a "free press", the biggest news of all would be how the government is unable and unwilling to investigate their own gross incompetence and unlawfulness.
The fact that a story about a member of Congress scuffling with a security guard would make the news headlines for even one day is a testament to the main stream media's complete lack of objectivity when it comes to American politics. Government "oversight" committees are being used to shield incompetent officials from investigation, rather than to cleanse the government of illegal or unethical activity; and yet this Enronification of the American government is left completely unexplored in the evening news.
Left to their own devices, George W. Bush and his administration have demonstrated that they can compete with the most ethically vacuous of corporate executives; and the lack of oversight by the Republican Congress is the same as a tacit approval of the administration's incompetence. In another turn away from reality, the President and the Republican majority are now blaming the underdog Democrats for sinking the recent immigration bill in the Senate.
This is yet another example of Republicans avoiding an opportunity to examine their involvement in the messes they create, and yet another illustration of how Republicans are more inclined offer themselves self-indulgent congratulations for their actions than undertake a critical examination of the facts. There is now enough evidence to indicate that the Republican Congress and the White House are now responsible for far greater disasters than the severe and outlandish illegalities carried out by Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. Many Congressional representatives shouldn't be put on ballots in November, they should be put on trial.
It's not 1820 any more. Americans won't be satisfied with a black woman taking the fall for the incompetence of an entire administration. No. It's 2006, and Americans want to see real accountability. Tom DeLay claimed last week, on CNN's The Situation Room, that, "I've never done anything while I've been in elective office for my personal gain." I hear that's going to be Ken Lay's defense strategy as well.