Saturday, December 16, 2006

Digging the grave

You know the old murder mystery cliché. The dying elder patriarch is about to kick off, and his anxiously hungry relatives are all sitting around his bed, wondering who he'll write in and/or out of their will. Or who will take control of the family once the old man is gone. The relatives have all but buried him in their minds; all that matters to them is gaining the reins and taking over.

If you confronted a person with that mindset, they'd probably only tell you that they were being practical. Just thinking ahead. I mean, it's a done deal that the man is going to die, isn't it?

Certainly the media showed its true colors when Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota had to be rushed to the hospital. The average person certainly found out about the thin balance of power the Democrats had. Some outlets were willing to assume Harry Reid would be sent packing, that South Dakota senator Mike Rounds was cracking his knuckles in wait to reset the balance of power in Congress to the way it should be -- that is, with it split down the middle and Dick Cheney gallumphing into break any ties.

Um, folks. The man isn't dead yet. In fact, there was no reason to assume the worst right from the gate, considering how other political leaders have survived worse and still stayed active in their fields.

Why were the shovels and picks not brought out when Craig Thomas was diagnosed with leukemia? Could it be that Wyoming's governor was a Democrat and it wasn't that gleefully exciting to think of who he could appoint as a replacement? And let's not even bring up 100-year-old Strom Thurmond, barely aware of his surroundings, who spent a great deal of his last term hospitalized.

Yet the media, drool dripping from their lips, sought a scenario where Rounds replaced Johnson because he was incapacitated. This isn't even in accordance with constitutional law. As much as it hurts the far right to realize this, Johnson would have to resign before anyone could replace him, and that would be his decision. Not CNN's, not Mitch McConnell's, not Mike Rounds', not Fox News' and not Dick Cheney's.

If I were Tim Johnson right now, I would stay focused on recovery for its own sake, which is all anyone should be focused on now. Even us liberals, increasingly on edge about maintaining the majority, need to step back from the political angle. Yes, there's a lot at stake. But this isn't what we're here for. We're here for the humanity. And we've seen the corporate media's lack thereof in full flower. There was never a better way to define ourselves in terms of opposites.

(Oh, and by the way, this is my first blog entry, so thank yous go to Liberal Eagle and Liberal Seagull for allowing a dog in their midst.)

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