For a number of years I wrote for the Chicago Reader, both the BobWatch and the True Books columns, and occasional columns and features. Then for a number of years I didn't, for the simple reason they weren't interested in my writing for them. Now my old pal, Mark Konkol, is editor. He asked me if I would write on this topic, and I said, "Sure." It's good to be back in the Reader.
Do you remember the word Bobby Rush used to describe anyone who might question the selection of toothless political hack Roland Burris to fill Barack Obama's vacant senatorial seat? Think back. Almost a decade ago. December 2008. Rod Blagojevich was out on parole, having already so badly mangled the deliberation process that he was muscled out of his Ravenswood home in handcuffs by the FBI. Still, he insisted on appointing a senator, as his final obscene gesture to the state he'd betrayed. Anyone with an ounce of personal integrity cringed away from the poisoned chalice Blago was proffering with both hands. But the septuagenarian Burris, who had space on his pharaonic tomb to list another accomplishment, grabbed it eagerly. No? Don't remember? It was a long time ago. Rush, after thanking God that a black man had been made senator, urged anyone in the U.S. Senate who might oppose the former attorney general's appointment not to "lynch" the man. He went there. Easily. From long practice. Because really, the only reason a person would not want a 71-year-old undistinguished political functionary dropped into a seat in the United States Senate had to be racial hate.