How the Rahm Gang mocks democracy (and wins in Chicago)
I would have made the headline "Stupid Rahm Tricks" except that the trick worked, and in the world of hardball politics (the only kind they practice in the City of Chicago), that's all that matters. Still, for those of us who actually embrace the fundamentals of a democratic republic, this is appalling.
The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board agrees and openly mocks the mockery of democracy inherent in the mayor's allies stuffing the ballot on the next municipal election (March 8, 2018) with stupid and meaningless ballot issues, leaving no room for meaningful ballot initiatives that might allow the citizens of Chicago to exercise direct democracy and do something that the Rahm Gang disapproves of.
Questions on the ballot in Chicago on March 8, 2018:
1: Do you love puppies?
2: How about kittens?
3. Isn't Mom great?
So, okay, maybe the three referendum questions really on the ballot aren't quite so soft as that, but they're close.
And if you wonder why, it's because the people who control what gets on the ballot are happy to make a mockery of the democratic process when it suits their purposes. As Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times reports, they have stuck three utterly uncontroversial questions on the ballot – the most allowed – to crowd out any embarrassingly controversial questions. For them, it's a game.
This would be Mayor Rahm Emanuel, if you're wondering whom to blame. His City Council allies packed the ballot.
So, back to those questions, for real:
1. Do you support a comprehensive strategy to address the opioid and heroin epidemic?
Tough one, huh?
2. Do you think the state's insurance code should be changed to preserve health care benefits for people who have signed up for the Affordable Care Act?
Maybe that's a touchy question statewide. It's a softball in pro-Obamacare Chicago.
3. Do you favor stiffer penalties for gun traffickers and a statewide ban on "bump stocks?"
A bump stock is that thing a potential mass murderer might fit on a gun to convert a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon.
Maybe there's a big fan club for bump stocks somewhere, but probably not in Chicago. It's another empty question, on the ballot only to keep off more worthy questions, such as whether Chicago should have an elected school board or seek oversight from a federal judge for reform of the police department.
So it goes for democracy in Chicago. It's sent packing.
Is it any wonder that the essential functions of government in Chicago, starting with public safety, are crumbling? Is it any wonder that little money is left over for essential services because former members of the machine, now retired, are grabbing the money for extended vacations (called "retirement")?
I love Chicago! It breaks my heart to see it crumbling before my eyes.