Watching Morning Joe today, Scarborough’s guest came up with the perfect description of exactly how bad Roland Burris’ arrival in Washington will be for Harry Reid and the United States Senate. No matter how many times Reid and his colleagues insist that this isn’t about Burris, no matter how often they chatter on about how it is the process and the Governor that are the problem, no matter how frequently they insist that they hold no malice toward Burris but they are protecting the integrity of the chamber, it all comes down to one image which the media will play over and over again. Harry Reid will lead 98 white people, standing in the doorway and trying to keep out the one black guy trying to get in. As the Morning Joe analyst put it,
“The optics of this are just terrible.”
Some of the residents of Burris’ home state of Illinois seem to be squirming in embarrassment over the entire spectacle. This is exemplified in today’s column from John Kass, himself an Illinois native.
Roland “Tombstone” Burris goes to Washington this week as part of the Illinois political freak show, and many of us back home will watch it and feel like cringing, at least at the beginning.
Who among us could not wince at the prospect of Tombstone standing before news cameras, his head bobbing, smiling amiably, chattering nonsensically as is his way, insisting he feels no shame. All he wants is to become a United States senator, and he kissed a tainted hand to get there.
As a very young man, I remember finding myself moving into my very first apartment and having little to no money for any extravagances. I wound up furnishing my new home by hook or by crook, often cruising the streets on the night before trash pick-up day, looking to see if anyone had put any bits of old or broken furniture out on curb which I might be able to pick up, repair and put to use. I also vividly recall a sense of shame, wondering if any of my friends might see me picking through the trash that others had discarded. Today, as the next Congress prepares to begin their term, I wonder if Roland Burris is feeling something similar?