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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Why Congress Needs Cynthia McKinney

In the past two weeks, the blogs, mostly the racist, right-wing blogs, have been all afire about the detention of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia by Capitol Hill police.

The story goes something like this. Black Congresswoman in a hurry and without ID indicating she is indeed a Congresswoman, runs past a checkpoint on Capitol Hill. After being told three times to stop, the security officer grabs her by the arm. McKinney responds by identifying herself as a Congresswoman, but only after popping the guy one in the chest. Currently, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia is deciding whether or not to press charges against McKinney for assaulting a police officer.

The Republican Party, eager to redirect attention from their gross abuses of power, have jumped all over this story. Knowing that black support of the Republican party hovers around single digits (and falling), they have nothing to lose by scapegoating a black woman by introducing a measure on the House floor indicating support for the Capitol Hill Police.

McKinney is no friend of Republicans in the House. She was voted out of her seat in 2002 after spending the previous year stating for the record on the floor of the House that the Bush administration had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Two years and a gerrymandered black Georgia congressional district later, she's back, and she's out to kick some flatfoot ass. The Republicans and - by their absense at her news conference a few days ago - some Democrats would like nothing better than to see McKinney go back to Georgia permanently.

I, personally, want her to stay in Congress until her death, and here's why.

Every kingdom needs a court jester. Ever since Jim Traficant was convicted of racketeering and bribery and thrown out of the House of Representatives, there hasn't been someone you could laugh at in the halls of Congress. Oh sure, the Republican attempts to restrict lobbying are funny based on their sheer artifice at wanting to fix a problem that they happily created, but I'm talking about theatrical funny, like a Harpo Marx or a Ringling Brothers clown funny. I miss Traficant's shouts of "Beam Me Up!" whenever he took to the podium of the House regarding a topic he cared about. What he DID care about I never did get, but ah, those were the days.

Cynthia McKinney, with her wild hair, orange outfits and unchecked paranoia, fills the void I've felt since Jim Traficant and his toupee went to minimum security. Sure, she punches cops and spins wild tales, but isn't that what makes for great theatre? People need a reason to watch C-Span, because it's certainly not that entertaining or engrossing. On most days, it's the equivalent of a box of Somonex. With McKinney's penchant for uncontrolled outbursts of delusional thought, at least to this writer, Congress is interesting again.

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