Illinois behaves like Chicago because, politically, it has become Chicago, with all the faults inherent in one-party rule. (WJBC file photo)
By David Stanczak
For longer than I care to think about, I’ve been the local whiner-in-chief about the State of Illinois.
I’ve called it Hellinois and Madiganistan, made fun of its dysfunctionality and laughed about its incompetent and corrupt governance-only to keep from crying about it. The whining was despite (or perhaps because of) my inability to recommend a specific course of action that I-or any of you-could take to remedy the situation. As Clouseau would say, “Not any m-o-r-e”.
Illinois behaves like Chicago because, politically, it has become Chicago, with all the faults inherent in one-party rule. That system is perpetuated by the fact that the persons doing the ruling get to gerrymander the legislative district maps so that they keep on ruling without serious opposition, witness the fact that last year nearly half the incumbents were unopposed. As a result, political power has been removed from the people, where it belongs, and become concentrated in the hands of the power brokers, currently Madigan and Cullerton, the former of which has presided over the state’s steady decline into insolvency, dysfunctionality and corruption. The same persons make sure that the General Assembly will give no consideration to any move to put the mapmaking in anyone’s hands but theirs. As the Illiniwek, who once inhabited the area, used to say, “Good for chiefs, bad for tribe.” A recent federal court called the current gerrymandered mess “a blatant political move to increase the number of Democratic seats”; it upheld the map because the mess was a political problem demanding a political solution, rather than a legal one.
BUT, there is a move afoot to amend the Illinois Constitution by putting the legislative redistricting into the hands of an independent commission. This would give power back to the voters and break the back of the increasingly oppressive one-party rule. But it needs 300,000 signatures to get it on the ballot for the 2014 elections. I urge you to find out more about it and volunteer. There’s a website for the effort: www.changethedistricts.org. Please go to it and do all you possibly can to get this measure on the ballot. Let’s turn Madiganistan/Hellinois back into a state Lincoln could be proud of.
David Stanczak, a Forum commentator since 1995, came to Bloomington in 1971. He served as the City of Bloomington’s first full-time legal counsel for over 18 years, before entering private practice. He is currently employed by the Snyder Companies and continues to reside in Bloomington with his family.
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