Dear Friend and Reader:
All politics is theater, and today’s script analysis is about the drama called “Roland Burris Goes to Washington, Or Tries To.” This show has the qualities of a strange Shakespearean sub-plot, an act in a play of four acts, or a play-within-a-play. A new King, Barack Obama is about to ascend to the throne, and the dukes, earls, and princes are vying for their very survival in the transition to power.
As we look at the events of the past few weeks the corrupt governor of Illinois (now a classic archetype) is caught in the act of trying to sell the appointment of Obama’s old senate seat to the highest bidder. While we are still in a nation where you are innocent until proven guilty, Blago really is shamelessly criminal and he not only knows it, he flaunts it. He won’t go down easily, and Burris is another piece of the puzzle he is using to keep up his profile and fuck with the new King.
In Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer prize winning play Top Dog, Underdog, she explores the psychosis of self-hatred prevalent in African-American culture. For American blacks, self-hatred is a psychological survival mechanism that perversely empowers you to dictate the terms of how others, in this case the dominant society, abuses you. You don’t just let the master emasculate and ridicule you in public, you do it yourself and do so brilliantly and better than he does, beating the master at his own game. Or so you think.В This is the legacy of being stolen from one’s country and culture, stripped of your humanity and turned into property. Roland and his mausoleum of career accomplishments is a living self-parody in the shadow of a greater king.
Even while looking at his chart, with aspects that I find personally abhorrent, I cannot feel real malice for Roland Burris, or the character he plays in the drama of filling the King’s old Senate seat. At this point, I can only feel compassion. He is in the role of a blunt political tool wielded by a desperate, brutish oaf who revels in the bloody butchery that is the working standard of politics in Illinois. That oaf knows full well he is really fucking with the King, and he has a willing news media just bored enough to play along as chorus. Gov. Blagojevich, the wielder of the tool called Roland, has neither scruples or principles. He is the real villain of this little play.
The only fault with Roland is that under the hot lights of high political theater, he doesn’t rise to the occasion. He stays true to form, agreeing to the terms the master contracted. He is perfectly cast as the tool, the top dog who is an underdog, and will probably play his part well. He is brought in to mouth the words that provide the driver needed to move the little story forward.
In the play he’s in, he looks to have a predilection to remain invisible, and in this act, his invisibility is exalted. Roland Burris may or may not be seated in the senate seat that Barack Obama has vacated and which Rod Blagojevich has set for him, but in either case, whoever Roland is whether he’s in or not, it really won’t matter. He really isn’t there.
Yours & truly,