Back in the day, when Chicago had real elections, you would get some kind of token to show you voted.. You took it to the precinct captain for a buck or two. If the precinct captain or ward committeeman owned a saloon, you got a drink or a cheap bottle of hooch (for each time you voted).
Now, they give you a useless piece of paper when you leave the polling station.
Why? You can't get paid or drunk with it.
You should vote. The upcoming municipal election is more important than any presidential or mid-term election.
All real politics is local. You cannot get more real than a municipal election.
Ignore the endorsements, the debates, and the ads. Those are the show business of elections. They are entertainment, meant to amuse.
Just ask yourself, is Chicago is better off now than it was four years ago. Will things improve? Is your neighborhood better? Will it improve?
All the talk is about the mayoral election. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the rock star mayor of the nation. New York's mayor takes a back seat to Rahm.
His challengers are a mixed bag of Chicago politics and business.
Can any of them achieve enough status and power to govern if elected?
Can Emanuel hold on to his status and power if reelected?
These are important questions. In Chicago, power is everything. Power is status.
The real election, the most important election, is about the aldermen. The fifty part time officials with six figure salaries, Rolls Royce benefits, expense accounts, perks and hefty pensions, if they serve a few terms.
When not spending a few hours a week in City Hall, they are running their full time professional practices, businesses, and shaking down people for campaign contributions.
This aldermanic election is the most important election of your life. Aldermen determine how your neighborhood will thrive, stagnate, or wither.
Aldermen determine how safe, sound, and prosperous your neighborhood is.
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. Each is geographic, socio-economic, racial, and in a few cases, ethnic. Each has its own distinct benefits, disadvantages, problems, issues, and solutions.
Aldermen control the economic development of their wards. They control the zoning through a special privilege. Zoning drives economic development.
Aldermen decide if your ward will be prosperous or poor. They decide your local issues of transportation, crime, safety, city services, and a host of other day to day living issues. They are your direct link to government.
Look around your neighborhood. Talk to your neighbors. Are things better than they were? Are they getting worse? Do you or they even know what your alderman looks like?
Aldermanic candidates are full of more puffery than mayoral candidates. Incumbents have more to lose. Challengers have more to gain. They will do or say anything to get your vote. Where else can you get a part time job with CEO salary, perks, and benefits?
Vote. Early voting started. You can vote anyplace in the city. Or, vote on Election Day.
Do your own homework. Don't let someone else do it for you. Voting is not about the candidates. It is about you. You will benefit or suffer.
Candidates make all kinds of promises. Ignore those. They are gasbaggery. Just think about yourself. Will you be better or worse off? Will you be able keep living in the city or forced to emigrate to the wastelands of Suburbia?
Vote. Do it for yourself and your family. Make intelligent not emotional choices.
Oh, one more thing. If some candidate, incumbent or challenger, uses the 'R' word, "reform", do not vote for him or her. After the municipal election of 1955, alderman Mathias "Paddy" Bauler, opined, "Chicago ain't ready for reform".
History proved him right.
Reformers throw the bums out and replace them with their own bums. There is no such thing as a reform politician in Chicago. There never will be.
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