Thursday, April 06, 2006

McKinney is Sorry for Being in Trouble

When someone publicly behaves like a complete posterior, it is expected that they will be forced to endure the public wages of such choices, such as the whispering, snickering and various forms of scarlet-lettering that usually take place in our society.

And Cynthia McKinney is no exception. The episode where she is alleged to have struck a Capitol Police Officer has turned most grave. It is now the subject of federal grand jury proceedings. And a grand jury is serious business. There were two charges they were considering. The misdemeanor assault, and the felony assault of a police officer. If they are bringing it before a grand jury, they are trying to indict her on the felony charge. This went from a goofy story to one that that has some not very funny consequences.

But if there is anything funny, it is this: Rep. McKinney just offered an apology on the House Floor. But the delay in apology--until the day that a grand jury is presented evidence that could lead to her indictment and arrest--is patently hollow. It would have been different if she had apologized at the scene and avoided the week of celebrity photo ops, the rabid race rhetoric, and the truly disgusting appearances on the morning news shows where she filibustered and appeared proud of what she had done.

I will not bother to dissect her exact words, because I think that given her behavior over the past week, her words could convey the perfect message and still have no value. She reveled in race hysteria and "guilty of being a black woman in Congress" rhetoric, and accused the officer of being a racist. So when she claims to have had a 180 degree change of heart, coincidentally on a day when a grand jury meets to make decisions that will have a significant effect on her future, her epiphany is just a tad suspect.

Her recent statements make it highly unlikely that she regrets the act of striking the officer because the doing of such an act is legally and morally wrong. Rather, I'd feel pretty safe stating that she regrets the potential consequences of her actions, as opposed to the actions themselves. There is no penitence in regretting the consequence--only in regretting the act--and there is something rather insulting in her presumption that we would buy the apology after her truly boorish behavior that made headlines this week.

As unpleasant as it is, the work of the grand jury needs to go forward. And the prosecutor should use the text of the apology as an admission before the grand jury. There is a cost to abject stupidity and immorality.

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