By Charles D. Ellison
One of the most entertaining conversations you can ever have about governance in America is the difference between politics and policy. Many folks have trouble separating the two; most will just lump them together. And it’s comical to watch the stares of disbelief after explaining that while policy is what shapes our lives, politics are the games you play to get us there.
Susan Rice offers a solid example of how political deals are cut. Her recent self-withdrawal from consideration as the next Secretary of State carries with it the scent of shit so atrocious that one’s gut figures this was the end game all along.
Ultimately, all parties involved get what they want. The right gets to spill a little blood after getting mouth-fisted from behind like a b-rated Freddy Krueger flick. The left can orchestrate a fake chorus denouncing the toxic state of Washington. Keeping it one hundred, though, everyone in Washington is swimming in the aftertaste of a grand deal, even Rice herself.
While the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and one of the most influential Black women in the world is under fire for some manufactured Toy Story narrative about misleading a war-weary public about what happened in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, her reason to bow out is probably what’s misleading. Obviously, the decision wasn’t sudden. But, her reference to being a “distraction” from the president’s second-term agenda offers tasty political nuggets and clues. It’s naïve to think Rice didn’t factor into those suddenly quiet, one-on-one fiscal cliff discussions between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.
Unfortunately, we’ve ended up with yet another nasty and very public beating of a Black woman in the zeitgeist. If it’s not Rice, it was Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) battling a cloud of ethics charges (which she eventually beat); or it’s Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA) getting pummeled into the political graveyard by ethics probes and financial ruin; or, it’s the sad story of Shirley Sherrod, who only got a phone call mea culpa from the president while Prof. Henry “Skip” Gates got a whole beer summit at the White House; or, there’s Soledad O’Brien possibly losing her coveted top-of-morn CNN slot to make room for mainstream cable’s newest favorite “girl next door”; and, more recently, local meteorologist Rhonda Lee gets instantly canned for responding to an offensive Facebook comment. The list keeps growing, Rice only the latest in an unending string of publicly bruised Black women.
While pundits will give you the softball analysis on how Rice got burned, here are 7 hard-to-swallow reasons why she ended up getting played: