Roland Burris and the Sound of Silence

Simon and Garfunkel’s classic song, The Sound of Silence, could apply now to the controversy surrounding embattled Illinois Senator Roland Burris.

As questions increase over whether or not Burris pulled a "pay to play" to gain appointment to the Senate to fill President Barack Obama’s Senate seat, the "official" reaction around Washington is strangely quiet.

Perhaps Democrats in the Senate are embarrassed by how easily they were played by Burris and ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Perhaps the hyperbole of change in Washington has been washed away by a flood silence.

Or perhaps it is just the calm before the storm.

Reports Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times:

It’s a Congressional recess week here in Washington, so it’s hardly surprising that Capitol Hill is a quiet and sleepy place. But one area where the silence is particularly notable is surrounding the curious case of Senator Roland W. Burris, Democrat of Illinois.

Mr. Burris was scheduled to be in the middle of a five-day listening tour of Illinois this week. But on Thursday, a trip to Rockford was postponed, according to a statement from his office, “in order to hold private meetings.”

As the senator was out of public view, none of his colleagues in Washington or his allies in Chicago came to his aid – or, for that matter, to say anything at all about his future.

Mr. Burris is under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee, as well as an Illinois prosecutor, over his evolving descriptions of what transpired before he was asked to fill the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. It is the latest episode in the gubernatorial legacy of Rod Blagojevich, who appointed Mr. Burris in a controversial last-ditch act.

Mr. Burris has acknowledged that he tried to solicit fund-raising money for Mr. Blagojevich. But he has stopped answering direct questions, instead referring an audience in Chicago on Wednesday to consider “a record I have built over a lifetime – 30 years in public life and never a hint of a scandal.”

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one deared
Disturb the sound of silence.

Fools said I,you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence

(From The Sound of Silence by Paul Simon)