How else, other than democracy sucks, to explain the horrendous state of Chicago and Illinois. How else to explain the seemingly ho-hum attitude (see John Kass' eloquent column) toward former IRS executive Lois Lerner's missing two (yes, two!) years of emails and the oh-so coincidental hard drive crash to some of the people who received the emails?
The answer is that We, the People, put them there, and it appears that a large chunk of citizens would do the same, again. And again. And Again.
How else to explain the middle finger that Illinois House Minority Leader Michael Madigan gave to the hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters who want a say--imagine, that? serfs wanting a say!--in how to run the government. (See excellent commentary by Kristen McQueary and a Chicago Tribune editorial). They had signed up to favor a state constitutional amendment that would take legislative redistricting out of the hands of Madigan, chiselers, connivers and sleaze buckets.
Not to be.
Madigan and his high-price toadies and grabbers had rigged the system to make it virtually impossible to amendment the constitution, especially to redraw the non-contiguous, gerrymandered districts designed to favor incumbents, especially those of Democratic allegiance. Promoters of the remap reform vow that they've learned their lesson and will come back even stronger in the following statewide general election.
Because, Illinois voters must be the dumbest in the nation. They vote constantly to live in an oligarchy run by gonifs. They had an opportunity to amend the constitution by calling a constitutional convention six years ago, and two-thirds voting decided against it. Illinois voters are offered that opportunity every 20 years, and everything in the constitution is fair game--from the unreasonable and overly generous protection of government workers' pensions to the fine print that enables the likes of Madigan to set up his vassal state. A few courageous politicians, including the then Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn (who took him and replaced him with the limp governor he now is?), favored calling the constitution.
But virtually every public interest group in the state lined up against it, making it a contest between the greedy and we peons. The opponents ran from the National Rifle Association and Union League Club to the League of Women Voters and the Illinois Federation of Teachers. (For a more complete list of these strange bedfellows, go here.) From liberals and conservatives, pro-abortion activists to chambers of commerce, they lined up because they feared their favorite oxen would be gored. Oh my God, someone might insert a right-to-life amendment into the constitution protecting fetuses from the moment of conception (politically impossible). Or, someone might reduce government workers' pensions to a more realistic and manageable level. Someone might create a state government that isn't bankrupt and corrupt.
The most ludicrous and dishonest argument was that the convention would cost too much. As if good government was too pricey. I supported the calling of the convention because it was obvious then, now and decades into the past that reform was needed and we had to risk the chance that the "crazies" and "extremists"--as the convention's supporters were unfairly labeled--would put something into the draft that most people wouldn't want. Never mind that the new constitution would be subject to a referendum.
No, the powers poured money, organizational talent and energy into the defeating the convention, and now some of these same people are lamenting the sorry state of Illinois government. Pathetic. And you, the voters, allowed it to happen.
What was America's greatest come-from-behind war? Go here to find out.
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Tags: Chamber of Commerce, con-con, Illinois constitution, Illinois Federation of Teachers, League of Women Voters, Lois Lerner, Michael Madigan, National Rifle Association, Pat Quinn, Union League Club