The Smell From Washington

by Tokunbo Awoshakin

Politics has a perculiar aroma. It is the aroma of power. Politics also has a unique stench, the putrid smell of corruption and deception. The aroma and the stench blend together wherever there is politicking. In Washington D.C., there seems to be an overdose of this perculiar putrid-fresh aroma of politics right now.

In Washington D.C., the exposure of corporate irresponsibility has continued to take new turns even as more and more evidence come into the open indicting key officials of the Bush-Cheney administration. The latest being the fact that the political appointee that president Bush chose to head the commission that will check corporate fraud is himself knee deep in such practice.

The stench coming from the politics of Vice -President Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton and how it got the contract to build a major prison in Guantama Bay, where the detainees of September 11, 2001 terrorist attack are being currently held against all logical human rights reasoning, is also overwhelming. Remember Halliburton is an oil service company.

There is also the politics in the White house and the Pentagon about whether or not to attack Iraq. By now it is an open secret that left to Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S secretary of Defence, the C.I.A. would have removed Saddam Hussein in an operation similar to the ones in Chile and Guatamela during the cold war.Saddam has to go one way or the other. The politics of this growing intrigue will be draped in oil and blood.

It is the same for the Palestine-Isreali issue and the Bush administration’s response. The recent bombing in the Hebrew University where some American students died seems to be the latest in a flurry of campaigns to make peace unattainable in the middle east region.

How can peace be attainable with the combination of action and pressure – not always pleasant – by either Hamas, some Jewish Think Tank in Washington, or some powerful business people in Boston or New York?

The politics of unattainable peace in the middle east can sometimes be traced to the American age-long tradition of seeing themselves like the Isreali people do. They are the chosen nations.

The stench of Washington politics is not only at the corporate and foreign relations levels. An attestation to this is the acrid smell in the office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia. Anthony Williams, the Mayor and a buddy of powerful people in Washington, is accused of including over 900 ficticious signatures in a petition that would qualify him to run for office again. Now we are moving closer to Nigeria!

The three members of the election board voted unanimously last Friday to deny Williams a spot on the Sept. 10 Democratic primary ballot, citing their doubts about the legitimacy of signatures collected by Scott Bishop, Sr. and Scott Bishop, Jr. and his wife, Crystal Bishop.

Together, the Bishops were listed as circulators for 6,900 of the 10,102 signatures submitted by Williams. The city’s registrar announced Friday that her signature-by-signature review of the petitions found 2,235 valid ones – more than the 2,000 required to get on the ballot.

But the 2,235 included 945 seemingly valid signatures on petitions supposedly gathered by the Bishops. The board voted to overrule the registrar on the grounds that if those signatures and others with irregularities were not counted, the mayor would fall far short of the number he needed.

The whole thing about the politics of Washington, as explored so far in this piece, is that of staying in power at all cost. Many have often expressed the belief that this “stay-put” syndrome is synonymous with Africa but recent events under a microscopic analysis are beginning to show otherwise.

Like Mayor Williams, President Bush wants to have a second term of office. It is unfortunate that corporate fraud is bringing down is rating that the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 shot to the skies. If an attack on Iraq or the removal of Saddam will bring that up again, why not.

Will the president have to do the tightrope dancing of pleasing Israel, even if the violence in the Middle East that claims the lives of Isrealis, Palestinians and now Americans continues? Politics is just that brutal, forget that diplomatic double-talk about the Middle East-peace plan.

Just sit back for a minute and ask yourself why several months after the Enron fraud came into the open, the justice department, controlled by this administration is yet to arrest anyone from the firm. Good that some Worldcom arrests have been made but again don’t be fooled, as far as the rule of politics go, this administration will not make any arrest that may hurt president Bush, his friends or the republican party.

Okay, it may not be fair. Some of the logic behind political decisions may actually stink. But hey, that is politics! Can you perceive the smell from Washington, D.C. now?

Previously published in The Monitor

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