Monday, 23 March 2015

Politicians - I don't know how they sleep at night

Seriously! And not for the obvious reasons. Yes, many of them are conniving, nefarious, fill-in-the-blank-individuals, but even politicians who try to be good - I don't know how they sleep at night.

Unless you include shouting at the telly and leaving the odd comment on The Guardian discussion boards, I don't really get involved in politics. A few years ago I went to some neighborhood meetings about the re-development of a local hospital building and I swore I'd never do that again. The wheeling and dealing that went on was enough to keep me up at night in a tightly wound ball of rage and indignation.

Yet here I am again. We have an election for mayor and city Aldermen coming up in a few weeks. The mayoral race will be interesting as it's between Rahm Emanuel, (one-time Chief of Staff for Obama and pitbull-in-training) and Chuy (pronounced Chewey) Garcia, a long time local politician who has actually garnered some support despite his plans having no financial explanations.

A friend of mine is challenging our local Alderwoman so I've been quite involved in "getting the word out". The incumbent Alderwoman has basically turned this ward into the laughing stock of Chicago - every single issue that comes up results in pitched battles between various warring factions. It's a fairly well-to-do ward so we don't have quite the problems other wards do, (half empty, run down schools, gangs on every street corner, drive-by shootings etc.) which makes the constant battling all the more ridiculous. Talk about first world problems.

My friend is trying her best to run a positive, forward-looking campaign but my oh my, it's hard when your opponent is leveling every claim she can at you. So far we've had the usual, "She's going to raise all your taxes". (she isn't), "She's against development" (she isn't) and "She's not looking out for the whole ward", (she is). Then it went one further last week when my friend was accused of not paying her property taxes - with no shred of evidence. Despite paperwork proving that she had indeed paid, the Alderwoman continued to accuse her of under-payment at every debate. I was livid on my friend's behalf. It's one thing being lambasted for your point of view, but quite another when you're being accused of something you 100% haven't done - and the accuser knows this! Ugh. Like I said, I could never be in politics.

Happy ending though - our big local newspaper took up the story, had an independent tax consultant look at the facts and concluded that the Alderwoman is totally and utterly wrong. We are now expecting her to be looking at my friend's library account and parking ticket history.

In the meantime, they have their final debate tonight and I really hope my friend wipes the floor with her opponent.


  1. I could say so much, but prefer to keep some things private. This is exactly the sort of reason that running for office terrifies me. Not because of the work - in the campaign or the job - or anything else, it is the other liars out there that I find so hard! I hope that your friend does well and wins, she sounds as though she might be too good for politics though! xx

  2. It sounds like "negative campaigns" are the usual thing in the States. I'm surprised people put up with it. I hope I would never vote for anyone who goes for the person rather than the policies. It's just nasty.

  3. Mwa - Unfortunately, even though people despise negative campaigns, the messages still get through. Even though my friend had never not paid the taxes, people who can't be bothered to think past a soundbite will always associate her with it. Ugh.

    Any - and yes, she might well be too good.

  4. That's infuriating isn't it - because mud always sticks, even when it's unfair mud. She ought to be able to sue that woman for defamation!

  5. I hope your friend decisively kicks a$$ at the debate and that the word gets out to your ward.

    There are a lot of politicians in the US who modus operandi involves "Say it often enough, and repetition alone will make it true."

    At least in the minds of the Great Unwashed-under-read-and-under-bred. (Oh, oops. My elitist tendencies are showing.)

  6. For years I was passionate about politics. Then I became discouraged, changing parties didn't help. Now I'm afraid that the only reason I vote is to vote against people or things.

  7. I would never live in Chicago. Too many gangs!


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