Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Roland Burris: Congress needs to give the man his seat

Roland Burris arrived in Washington D.C. to take his Congressional seat amongst his peers only to be denied entry. The successor to President-Elect Barack Obama’s vacant seat, Burris was met with resistance and told no go.

Burris stated he was told by Congress his paperwork wasn’t in order. Burris said the, "credentials are not in order and will not be accepted."

Yeah right.

To me Congress didn't have the right to block Burris from doing something he's been legally appointed to do. Congress simply created away to not seat Burris.

Also, Illinois Secretary of State Bill White is partly to blame for the latter. White has refused to sign off on Blagojevich’s selection of Burris and has made his feelings known publicly that he thinks Blagojevic should step down.

As many know Blagojevich has been accused of attempting to sell Obama’s seat in Congress to the highest bidder. To date they are mere allegations. Blagojevich hasn't been indicted or charged with a crime yet he's being treated as if he's guilty of something that hasn't been proven in court.

To me Burris has come under unfair scrutiny because he was chosen by the embattled Illinois governor to succeed Obama. Burris had nothing to do with Blagojevich’s actions yet he’s been thrust in the middle of a controversy he had nothing to do with.
I suppose he's guilty by association in the court of public opinion.

You all remember when Bill Clinton was impeached in 1995 for lying about having sexual relations with 21 year-old Monica Lewinsky?


Clinton stated emphatically he never had "sexual relations with that woman." Over the course of a year and a half Clinton had at approximately 12 sexual encounters with the unpaid intern. The American people knew he was lying but only after the legal process took its course the light shined on the truth.

Until Blagojevic is brought up on charges I say business as usual.

I'm a bit surprised President-Elect Obama has suggested Burris shouldn't be seated and Blagojevich should step down from his post as Governor. Obama has a law degree from Harvard in constitutional law. He should know since no charges have been brought against Blagojevich how can he call for a resignation based on allegations?

Obama's Commerce selection, Governor Bill Richardson, recently stepped down amid allegations that a donor group supporting him secured a 1 billion dollar contract illegally. Unlike his strong words against Blagojevich, Obama praised Richardson for his service and quietly accepted his resignation with “deep regret.”

That’s interesting. Obama didn’t call for Governor Richardson to step down because of his billion-dollar investigation yet he denounces Blagojevich and Burris based on mere allegations?

I don't care who you are. Blagojevich shouldn't be victimized because of what people think and Burris should have his seat. Until the allegations can be substantiated with facts that lead to a conviction Blagojevich has the right to exercise his authority as Governor as he sees fit.

With Burris being the only African American to have a Congressional seat and not be allowed to sit in it makes this matter more intriguing. In some ways what Burris went through on Tuesday reminded me of James Meredith. Meredith tried to register for classes at the University of Mississippi in 1962 only to be denied because of skin color. He would later be admitted.

I don’t view Burris’s situation as extreme as Meredith’s nor do I think racism is the central theme here. I think this is a matter of people rushing to judgment, individuals not utilizing the legal process, and political arrogance on the part of Congress.

Let's keep it real. The media can take a subject and spin it to make it mean what they want. The public can be socially engineered to embrace fallacy dressed as truth. If I was pressed for an answer as to whether Blagojevich may be guilty of political chicanery I’d probably would say yes but, I’m not the law. I just write commentary based on what I deem the facts are. In this case the facts are Blagojevich hasn’t been charged or been convicted of a crime. He’s been accused of something that hasn’t been proved in court. So far that’s the story here.

Bottom line: I think Blagojevich should be able to use his authority as Governor of Illinois as he sees fit and Senator Burris should be allowed to take his seat amongst his peers without unnecessary restriction

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