Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stopping Self-Awareness Jabber

Now that I'm here, I'm going to stop talking about myself. That is to say, I'm going to talk from my own point of view, but not specifically about the inner workings of my curly little head.

So now that that's out of the way, I'm going to ramble off some quick opinions on two topics of interest. More to come as there is always more to say...

I'm from Illinois so, honestly, his story does not scare me. It is not original or shocking in any way. What is shocking, and somewhat pathetic, is that in news cycle after news cycle, people who are employed to describe news from around the world find it fascinating to dwell on three basic points as related to this story: 1. Blagojevich is not a "Smith" like name. Woowee - that's some sharp reporting. 2. He has thick hair. Man! Do the Pulitzer people know that you've uncovered this? and 3. Everyone from Chicago... make that Illinois... should we just say the Midwest in general? ... is crooked. Hmmmm. Really.

I'd like to think that what's wrong with all of that is obvious, but then, recent history has taught me in vivid technicolor that what I think is obvious really isn't obvious to everyone else. So for the short-sighted, I have this. We are a country of immigrants. His name is a name which reflects his immigrant background. "Smith" in my cultural language is pronounced "Esmeet". So I'm unimpressed with reporters being unable to pronounce the man's name. Practice off-camera and get it right. You're embarrassing your profession, if that's even possible at this point.

Thick hair, while noteworthy in some circles (I get alot of comments on this, myself, at the salon), simply doesn't meet the standard for news. News is something that is, inherently, new. Thick hair isn't. See reference above regarding embarrassment to the profession.

And then there are the crooked Chicagoans, which for purposes of this news story actually have spread their evil ways to the whole of the state and parts of surrounding territories. I'm so tired of this story. That Chicago has a tainted political history is a given. But its also a joke when held up to the light. We're not unique in this regard, so our reputations as the poster children for political corruption are ridiculous.

Just look at recent history. Are you telling me that the politics of New Orleans, which resulted in the hand-in-hand complicity of the local and state governments in negligence leading to the deaths of thousands of residents - are you telling me their politics are clean? How about Californians? These guys elected a waxed-up, formaldehyde-induced-perpetually-youthful, frightfully unqualified man as their governor. Twice - if you're counting his American Idol, Reagan. You think that's clean? He's completely tanking their economy and driving around in a Hummer when you can hardly see three feet in front of you because of the poor air quality. He -and the political system in California - are absurd.

Want to take a look at a larger corruption scandal? I wonder what would happen if a U.S. President were selected by the U.S. Supreme Court based on ideological bias rather than rule of law? We're corrupt in Illinois because Blago's trying to get paid for naming someone to the Senate? And he has a potty mouth to boot? Come on. Grow up.

He is a moron and a total offense to the office given that our history in Illinois includes Obama (you may have heard of him), the eminently qualified Dick Durbin, Paul Simon (delish), and Adlai Stevenson (a real gem). Our state has brought forth senators of historical import like Everett Dirksen - a key player in the development of the civil rights act of '64. We gave the country Senator Stephen Douglas of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. For that matter, we gave the country Lincoln. Burris couldn't debate his way out of a paper sack! I'm frankly disgusted that he's gotten this job and that all the political maneuvering that took place to get him there worked. I can't stand that he's my seantor. I'm hoping to eat those words and have him teach me how wrong I am. Not hopeful. But hoping.

I wonder if there's anyone out there, from Illinois, who could serve as a ray of hope for our politics. Someone real. Someone whose approach is genuine. Someone who's goals are lofty but whose methods are grounded and practical. Someone who could inspire us all to hope for a better day.


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