November 2, 2005

Earning The Halo



Like all frustrated and long-suffering progressives, I, too, was proud, inspired and relieved to see Harry Reid call a halt (at least for a few hours) to business-as-usual.  Whereas photos of Senators making comments in the Capitol — halo or not — are typically forgettable, yesterday’s shots of Reid were as inspiring as he was.  If you haven’t read Reid’s shining statement explaining why he shut down the Senate forced the Senate into closed session, catch it at Seeing The Forest here.


The Reid image I mostly wanted to focus on, however, caught my attention on Monday while I was looking at Alito pictures.

This shot was taken at the memorial service for Rosa Parks at the
Metropolitan AME Church in Washington. I have no idea what Frist and
Reid were talking about, but the body language really struck me. Reid
looks slightly disheveled, or showing some age. Frist, on the other
hand, looks just too perfect. If Reid seems disarming, however,
consider that he’s
the one talking, he’s probably edifying Frist out of his much deeper
knowledge of Washington and its ways, and, perhaps in part, he’s also
sizing up how to catch Frist looking the other way.

(Although I was only interested in Frist and Reid, it would be
an oversight not to also acknowledge the rest of this wonderful photo.
It’s hard not to be stuck by the racial and the power divide, as if a
line is drawn between the first two sets of three, and the last. (The
differential is only heightened by the aura of importance of Elaine

But, back to Harry.  The last time The BAG looked at a shot of Reid,
it was to speculate on his stealthy nature and his background as a
boxer. I can’t imagine — at this moment — Reid doesn’t already know
he’s going to shut down the Senate the next day. If that’s the case, is
he just setting Frist up for a knockout?

Actually, perhaps the faces of the black parishioners are more
related than I first thought. These expressions poignantly register the
presence of the powerful, and the corresponding feeling of lesser
importance. Although on different terms, Reid must often feel something
similar in the presence of the Majority Leader. Except yesterday, he
wasn’t going to stand for it.

(image 1: Tim Sloan/AFP. November 2005.
The Capitol, Washington, DC. Via YahooNews. image 2: Alex Wong/Getty
Images. November 1, 2005. Washington. image 3; Manuel Balce
Ceneta/A.P. Oct. 31, 2005, in Washington. Via YahooNews.)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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