The elders in my family had a saying when someone repeatedly came to them whining about the same old thing.
“Shut up,” they’d say. “Don’t bring that mess here, ‘cause I’m tired of hearing it.”
That’s what I feel like saying every time I hear a Republican mention the word Benghazi.
It’s as if what happened there in 2012 is the Republicans’ only fallback position whenever they’re at a loss for ways to attract more media attention, arouse their base and energize donors.
So, here we go again.
The speaker of the House has appointed another committee to investigate the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
So far the committee consists of seven Republicans. Democrats haven’t decided if they’ll participate in what many see as a farce, revived for the political stage primarily because the healthcare issue – which the GOP was hoping to ride to victory this election year – seems to have played out.
With “Obamacare” proving not to be the failure Republicans had hoped for, they have returned once again to Benghazi in an attempt to convince Americans that there is a White House scandal, one which will tarnish the president and, at the same time, implicate Hillary Clinton.
It doesn’t matter that we’ve had several investigations already, as long as some leaders on Capitol Hill think one more will add to their political capital.
Republicans have so politicized this tragedy that it ought to be an embarrassment for them. But, no, they have no shame when it comes to grandstanding, even on the graves of some dead Americans.
I frankly find it disgusting that they use the name of Stevens as some kind of banner for their ignoble cause.
Stevens was an honorable public servant who, from all accounts, had genuine respect for other cultures and the people in the countries where he served. He had endeared himself to many Libyans in the short time he served there.
It must not go unnoticed that while some armed radicals attacked the consulate, it was other Libyans who found Stevens that night and tried to save his life by getting him to a hospital where he died of smoke inhalation.
Those who are using the Benghazi tragedy for their political purposes dishonor Stevens’ memory. Its almost laughable when I hear some of them praise this ambassador, knowing full well they have little or no regard for anyone associated with the Obama administration.
If the House Select Committee on Benghazi must go on with its “witch hunt” or “kangaroo court,” as it’s been called, so be it. But please don’t do it in the name of Stevens.
It is my hope that Democrats in the House will not join in this charade. They should not give an ounce of credence to it. Democrats in the Senate wisely have blocked the attempt to make the committee a joint House-Senate venture.
Political parties do desperate things during an election year when they hope to make gains in Congress, so the appointment of another investigative committee doesn’t surprise me. About the only thing they don’t do is pass meaningful legislation that would benefit the whole country.
It would be great if members of Congress spent as much time talking about immigration reform as they have spent discussing Benghazi and trying to destroy the new health care law.
But, I don’t expect to see any changes anytime soon, as the partisan divide is so wide I can’t imagine this Congress doing what is best for the people rather than what is best for their respective parties and their individual campaigns.
They will keep doing the same thing, putting forth the same distractions (like Benghazi) until American’s stand up and tell them loudly and clearly: “Shut up. Don’t bring that mess here, ‘cause we’re tired of hearing it.”
Bob Ray Sanders is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Readers may write to him at 400 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102, or via email at [email protected]