Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Small Town Charm -OR- Primary Day in Paradise

Here in these inner-ring suburbs of Chicago, Proviso Township, Crook County, Illinois, life is good. The lights are on, the heat works, there's food in the fridge, pantry and freezer. There's some money in the bank, our mortgage isn't underwater and there's an abundance of stuff to do. We have two grown children who are mostly self-sufficient, self-reliant and self-confident. They're in no rush to give us grandchildren. The list of blessings goes on to include great neighbors, a cadre of good friends that includes tolerable, even likable, relatives. I certainly can't bitch about my life. Today will be the seventh glorious weather day in a row with temps near or above 80°. Flowers are blooming everywhere and everything is greening up nicely.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from worrying, contemplating and angering over the shrinking and wanton destruction of this habitat. We have it good. Timing is everything? We settled. We live within our settlements. Our needs are modest, our ambitions aren't overreaching. I feel that our expectations are realistic, but far from realized or assured.

The assault on this way of life has kept things interesting for sure. The incessant demands that we should be doing this and thinking that, supporting this and opposing that, and that not doing so constitutes an unacceptable non-conformity that violates some unwritten code to which all the "cool kids" dutifully conform? Well that's just stoopid on face, completely ludicrous thinking in general, impractical and unenforceable in practice, but the assault still escalates. More often than not resembling Jr. High for pettiness.

The primary election was held yesterday. For the first time in decades there was not a Lipinski on my ballot. Instead, I was able to cast a vote for a non-blue-dog democrat or his hopeless challenger. Not that it would matter, or be needed by Congressman Danny Davis, who cruised to an easy win, it still felt good.

The race for our state representative (IL-7th), twelve hours after the polls closed, is still too close to call with just two precincts left to be "fully" counted. Technical glitches prevented the electronic counts from being counted. The race, between Emanuel "Chris" Welch and Rory Hoskins stands with Welch holding a THREE VOTE LEAD. I'll be checking "MY" voters again today. First to verify that they did indeed cast their ballot and secondly to get feedback on their experience going to the poll.

As small-town politics sometimes does, this race got ugly. Early and often. Welch is currently the president of our High School district school board. Hoskins is a village commissioner. Welch is slick and smarmy. Hoskins is quiet and un-flashy. Welch touts connections and clout, his homegrown roots and his "experience". All of which were put under the microscope by a local newspaper of the Sun-Times News network. Their series of articles disclosed that Welch is THE stereotypical Crook County politician who used his position to play the stereotypical Crook County games.

He hired friends and relatives along with the friends and relatives of other power politicians. He played up his "experience" running a large urban school district while downplaying that district's place at the bottom of the academic pile. He had signs everywhere. He even put Barrack Obama's name and the 'O' logo on his signs to give the impression that he had the President's endorsement. He passed on appearing at candidate forums organized in by various community and civic groups in the district. He conducted his "campaign" with glossy direct mail fluff pieces and conveniently timed mailings from HIS school district.

Mr. Welch contended that the negative press he was receiving were "hit pieces" aimed at a popular black man. The paper reported on his cronyism, fund raising, "legal" activities, his use of clout and connections to project and protect his image.

In a district of 100,000+ registered voters, 11,875 (so far) votes have been counted and Emanuel "Chris" Welch is ahead by THREE votes. Provisional, Absentee and Military ballots remain to be counted.

Welch and his "machine" failed to deliver. All the power players who lined up for "their guy" failed to deliver.
They may have, once again, fooled just enough of the people for just long enough, but I have to say that this race has helped restore my faith that change and progress CAN compete with the Proviso Way. I sense that even if this turns into a victory for the status quo, they've lost far more than they can possibly gain by backing continued smarm, corruption and licentiousness over competence and non-entrenched loyalties.

In the final analysis, this is a huge day for progress, win, lose or draw.

1 comment:

amber ladeira said...

Bravo, Watcher! Well written.

Whatever the eventual outcome, Rory Hoskins is much stronger and better known now than before. As many of us have commented among ourselves, Mr. Welch wouldn't be able to walk the straight and narrow for any two year term, if actually elected; we'd certainly be scrutinizing his performance.

(P.S.: The Assoc. Press had Welch up by 37, not 3 votes, but no one knows what absentee, early voting and military ballots will bring.
I'm happy to have volunteered for
Rory in this race.)

Best Wishes,