Friday, January 9, 2009

Burris appointment to the senate

(Daily Show with John Stewart Clip missing: the clip higlighted the seeming audacity of the claim by Bobby Rush that controversy over Roland Burris' appointment to the senate was equal in racist implications as earlier segregation events) Here is a replacement clip that shows some of Rush's comments but does not give Stewart's perspective.

This story provides some curious relief to the current race issues of the U.S. political realm. Burris appointed by the now impeached Governor Rob Blogojevich was not allowed to be seated with the other Senators. Appointing an African-American to the Senate in the face of his questionable conduct seems a crafty play on Blogojevich’s part since, as John Stewart (The Daily Show) identifies in his piece, the governor’s choice undoubtedly will be rejected. Yet as is also pointed out some members of the black community are claiming that Burris’ rejection is a racially motivated decision on the part of the sitting Senators (going so far as to claim that the incident could be compared to the infamous “dogs-being-sicked-on-children-in-Burmingham-Alabama”). Several things stand out here:
1. The way the ‘race card’ has become enigmatic phenomenon of the political discourse in the last few years. Obama seemed to steer clear of explicit references to race yet was able to invoke the dynamics of racism throughout his campaign. His ‘high road’ approach seemed to deflect a certain intangible criticism of his campaign and garnered deep respect. On the other hand explicit references to race like the one Bobby Rush used seem cheap and overly utilitarian in political scheming.
2. John Stewart’s responding question, “Are you a crazy person?” brings its own tension to the fore. Stewart is able to pronounce a sharp criticism of Rush’s comment and do so at the risk of seeming racist. While Stewart’s program and this piece is hardly ‘serious’ news. He does seem to provide an important commentary about how race is leveraged in political games.

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