Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Shimkus Promises, Bupkis Personified

Sometimes the line between truth and fiction becomes a little blurred. A self-centered man with very little honor is so adept at maintaining the blurriness that some constituents will ask him to remain in office. It is the right thing to do when they suffer from chronic kidney failure, and their congressman decides to interrupt their expensive dialysis. It also makes sense when that congressman is a good little soldier for his TRUE constituents: the insurance, health care, and pharmaceutical companies -- in addition to the oil and gas industry, the energy companies, and communication technologies. When seriously ill people have no one else, they will look to the most dishonorable character for potential assistance.

Allowing John Shimkus to remain in Congress without a challenger and total support for that challenger is a betrayal of the public trust. Betrayal always results when gerrymandering replaces true leadership. As the largest county in the 19th CD, Madison Co. Democrats should encourage a challenger and truly support that person. In other words, they need to do the opposite of their 2004 no-challenger-support inactivity (i.e., actually INCLUDE the congressional challenger's name on sample ballots, doorknockers, miscellaneous mailers, etc.). Allowing any incumbent to cruise through an election is a truly disingenuous act. A policy of the most money wins a congressional seat (especially when a congressional seat is NOT a "prize" for someone to "win") is an irresponsible guaranteed failure for democracy.

For several years now, neither party has represented Illinois constituents. The state's political system reinforces the long-established old-boy network. The "Good-Ol'-Boy" Springfield network uses backroom deals to ensure the election of candidates into office. It does not matter that the candidate should never be in office in the first place. A deal is a deal. That is the political system in Illinois. That is the system that put John Shimkus in office. The constituents of the 19th CD and people of Illinois deserve better. They do not deserve the same incumbent network deal as usual.

According to Thomas Jefferson, there is no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. That means the following:

  • No district is "solidly" Democrat or Republican.
  • Every district is "winnable".
  • Voters deserve a choice between truly good political candidates.
  • The candidates deserve a solid support system.
That means that Thomas Jefferson's vision never included unchallenged incumbents or unsupported challengers. The people living in Central and So. IL have lived with both for too many years.

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