Had Enough of Chicago Politics? Why Chicago Needs a Viable Republican Party
I found myself lying on the ground, cold and wet in a dark room. Cold water sprayed down on me, through my hair, into my clothes. Slowly, I began to recognize my surroundings: the stone wall, the drain, the shampoo above me– I was on my shower floor. The events of the last ten minutes came back to me…. I felt dirty…. I just posted on ChicagoGOP.com.
The day had been like many other recent days: more news about our appointed United States Senator changing his story about what was said and when to our impeached and ousted former governor; more people complaining in downtown elevators about having to feed parking meters 24 hours a day– what are we to do, have the hotel wake-up service call at 1:00am so we can feed the meter? Call me again at 3:00am and 5:00am please! Not fun normally; less fun to do in February on streets our mayor won’t clean on weekends because it costs too much.
Have we had enough? How can we dig ourselves out of this mess? Then it hit me: in a city and county with one-party rule, there are neither checks nor balances to that rule. Think about the ease Republicans in Washington had with their agenda from 2001 through 2006. Imagine where our country would be if Republicans dominated national politics for the last 75 years. That’s what’s happened in Chicago– but the democrats and its leadership have hijacked our city. Put it like this: the Cubs have been in the World Series four times since Chicago had its last Republican mayor (William Hale Thompson, 1927-1931).
I’m not a Republican. I believe in marriage. I believe the ease of divorce is destroying the institution, not whether two men down the block are able to wed. Although I may be religious, I believe in the separation of church and state and understand that our constitution specifically requires the state not to impose religious views on its citizens. Although at times unenthusiastically, I have voted democratic in every Presidential election. I certainly am not one of those frightening Republicans you see on television. The religious right and the Rush Limbaugh apostles typically try to drown out opposition by talking louder and louder, rather than listening. That’s why I had a syncopal episode in the shower while trying to wash away the guilt from even considering the GOP.
Haven’t we Chicagoans had enough? Aren’t we frustrated by our elected officials constantly and consistently betraying our trust? It doesn’t even faze us that City Hall is under federal subpoena. Subpoena to Mayor Daley’s office? It must be a slow news day. Chicago’s finest beating up defenseless bartenders? Or a fourteen year old impersonating Chicago’s finest? The mayor laughs at it and we laugh with him? Where does that happen?
This is the same mayor who brazenly tore up Meigs Field because he grew bored of the debate regarding the facility. He wanted the debate to end so badly, he tore it up in the middle of night on March 31, 2003. Where does demolishing property to silence public debate occur? Only in Chicago, because the Soviet Union fell in 1992. Think about that for a second: The Mayor of Chicago decided, on his own, that he was tired of having a debate on the merits of Meigs Field and decided, on his own, to end the debate by tearing it up. Talk about chutzpah. What is even more outrageous is that such behavior is tolerated and endorsed by politicians and Chicagoans alike.
The City Council you say? Ha! To get on the council you have to have the mayor’s blessing. Our aldermen are merely a rubber stamp for the mayor’s wishes. If we disbanded the city council, we would just save over $4.5 million in aldermanic salaries, but city management would not change. If we’re going to have a city council, lets make it a viable body– and start electing people who will speak for the people and challenge the mayor when appropriate. Who is speaking for the people in the parking meter fiasco? Nobody. Chicagoans need and deserve representation in City Hall. Our alderman provides Chicago’s mayor applause, rather than providing Chicagoans representation. A council member might ask a tough question once annually– but the Mayor still gets his or her vote. We need that to stop: we need a viable Republican party in Chicago and Cook County to hold city and county government accountable. Blindly voting democratic locally has left residents of Chicago and Cook County largely represented. Our local elected officials look out for their own best interests (pay to play) rather than those of their constituents. They are not accountable to us; if you need proof, talk to Patrick Fitzgerald.
This is the third largest city in the nation, a city that is asking the world to hold the 2016 Olympic Games. An international city wishing to hold the Olympic Games should truly be democratic city– not in name only. A city of vigorous debate, not one-man rule. Don’t we deserve to have our voices heard before having to pay $6.25 an hour twenty-four hours a day for parking meters? All we want is a voice. For too long, there has only been one voice in Chicago. If we want our voices heard, we might have to do what has been unthinkable in Chicago: vote Republican.