Once upon a time an embattled Illinois governor, George Ryan, did an apparently noble thing. Officially, in response to loud and long public outcry from prisoner rights organizations such as the Innocence Network and due to the noble efforts of law students at Chicago’s Northwestern University, in 2000 George Ryan magnanimously halted all Illinois state death penalty sentences and ordered a reinvestigation of all the pending cases.

Noting that in the length of time it had taken for Illinois to execute 12 death row prisoners, another 13 had been able to prove their innocence, the noble statesman issued these heartfelt words as duly reported in Wikipedia: “We have now freed more people than we have put to death under our system …There is a flaw in the system, without question, and it needs to be studied.”

Of course it was all BS.

Ryan’s ass was in trouble up to his earballs and the whole thing was a sham. In an earlier election, state workers at state truck inspection stations were raising money for Ryan’ campaign by strong-arming truckers for donations, instead of inspecting for competence, they just asked for bribes. They were basically selling trucking licenses for campaign cash. It all blew up in everyone’s face when a wreck killed someone.

Ryan needed to change the subject, thus the death row pardons. It was a good thing to do, a noble act in and of itself, and, famous enough to get him nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. But it didn’t get him off the hook for selling driver’s licenses. As of this writing he’s still serving time near Terra Haute, IN.

All of which, obviously brings up embattled corrupt Illinois governor du jour, Rod Blagojevich, Roland Burris, and that funny little word “taint.” In this fast paced world of today’s punditry, a phrase with all the lurid appeal of criminality, sex, open wounds and spoiled vegetables was bound to be so overused, unto death, that in a matter of days, no, hours, Stephen Colbert could make fun of said overuse with plenty of clips to spare of supposedly serious people intoning the word “taint” as if it were a physical badge, a Scarlet A soldered onto one’s chest they saw on Roland Burris and not in their own souls.

Many people are unaware that the word “taint” also has another meaning, which doesn’t appear in most dictionaries. But for folkie midwives and natural childbirth granola crunchers familiar with the hippie birthing commune known as “The Farm” or proud owners of Ina May Gaskins’ timeless tome Spiritual Midwifery, “taint” has a different meaning entirely. “Taint” is the slang term that inch or so of skin between the anus and the vagina so well known to ejecting babies, medical personnel, including midwives, and porn aficionados worldwide.

In midwife parlance, as far as I can tell, it is the direction NOT to go when considering an episiotomy; but please do not quote me. I am not a midwife, a member of the medical personnel nor could I play one on TV.

But beyond that narrow little window on the world however, “taint” used in this way refers to a “neither/nor” situation as in “’t ain’t this one nor that one.” And such is the case with Roland Burris. As Illinoisans know, having had to endure his multiple campaigns for the last dozen years or so, Roland Burris is neither so much an anus nor a vagina. At least not in any sense beyond the average asinine behavior expected from any politician.

In fact Roland Burris actually had a respectable enough reputation long before Blagojevich came along looking for a lifeline to tie his sinking ship to. Blagojevich may be being his typical venal, conniving self. It is after all, as demonstrated, an Illinois gubernatorial tradition; but that doesn’t mean that Burris was not a good choice for US senator, not that there is some secret disease infested connection between the two men.

There is however an obvious association between Blagojevich and Burris that connects them in a way that discredits both their reputations. If a person were to look for “taint” as in the way that stain of an association colors, infects, putrefies a body, anyone associated with the Democratic party’s senate contingent is indeed at risk for sharing their reputation as sullied, tarnished, “offensive or deleterious.” The shenanigans of Harry Reid and his donkeys remind the American public that no matter what kind of statesmen we work ourselves into believing we’ve elected, what we get is petty egos playing childish games.

No matter which way it turns, anus or vagina, Blagojevich or the US Senate, Burris is going to end up contaminated by some discrediting association. A man in the middle, Burris is only now realizing he’s tainted, but it’s been going on for a long time. In all truth the negative associations Burris have to deal with today began long ago, when his own low ego and large ambition set him down the path of glad-handing jackasses and kissing babies.

Mikel Weisser teaches social studies and poetry on the left coast of Arizona. He can be reached at weisser@frontiernet.net. Read other articles by Mikel.

3 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. The Angry Peasant said on January 7th, 2009 at 9:15pm #

    I think I’ve heard enough about Blagojevich. A corrupt politician. OK. Got any news to tell me? Oh, so you say he’s really, really corrupt. Uh-huh. And? Does he have two heads? Anything unusual? Nope. Just another moralless, avaricious, narcissistic member of our wonderful ruling class.

  2. bozh said on January 8th, 2009 at 3:50am #

    ah, those politicos; they are ‘serving’ their country. the working class isn’t serving their country. which is true when one espies that the “country” means the ruling class.
    and working class has its “great america”. so, what else does it need?
    a hobo also has his america; why should s/he also have bed or roof over her/his unwashed head.

    my god, these people are so unamerican and ungrateful. we, the pols serve our great country; sacrifice a lot in service of it and look who’s bitching.
    caveat: erase the word “bitching” because it is discriminatory and false.
    and best of all, working people can also get their jesus.
    in short, country + jesus is a heaven even for hobos. quit complaining now! this very instant! or you’ll burn in hell! thnx.

  3. john wilkinson said on January 8th, 2009 at 4:30pm #

    think about these things when someone in power says “think not what your country (i.e., I) can do for you, but what you can do for your country (i.e., me).”