Seeing as how I’m a politics junkie I am embarrassed to say that I haven’t followed the politics in my own state. Yesterday I woke up to Rod Blagojevich being arrested on corruption charges. For the sake of not getting carpel tunnel every time I write his name I will refer to him as Blago. Here’s the story: Blago is the fifth (I believe, the number may be slightly higher or lower) governor of Illinois to be charged with a crime. He came into office after George Ryan, our former corrupt governor. Ryan was involved in a lot of the same pay-to-play type deals but is most famous for his “Drivers Licenses for Bribes” scandal. Ryan is serving time in a Wisconsin prison and has solicited Bush for a pardon.
Blagojevich came into office promising to clean up Illinois government and made a lot of promises that the people were truly behind. Meanwhile the rest of Illinois government wanted to keep the status quo. And who can blame them? They were making bank off all the unethical behavior that had been going on for well, ever since Illinoisans can remember. So state officials blocked Blago at every turn. Blago felt as if he were the only legit guy holding public office in Illinois. That was at first. Soon Blago was in financial trouble. He wasn’t in on all the great scams everyone else in Illinois was in on. Since he was the odd man out no other state official would even let him in on those scams that were unethical but not quite illegal. You know the scams, pretty much the same stuff every politician in America was into; lobbyists paying for things, a contribution here and there, that sort of thing. But Blago didn’t even get that. Now desperate, frustrated, and in financial trouble, Blago starts to make some crazy deals. Maybe it was ego, or maybe it was inexperience but what he did certainly would qualify as crazy.
With Obama going to Washington he had a golden opportunity to cash in off the new senate appointment. Blago thought about naming himself to the seat and even running for president in 2016! The other option was to sell the seat to the highest bidder. I don’t think he did it because he was greedy but because he needed the money. He was trying to pull strings to get his wife a job on a board of directors and even attempting to collect speaking fees for any appearances he made after his term was finished.
There are two things that bother me about this whole situation and one isn’t the fact that we have a corrupt governor here in Illinois - Illinois government will always be corrupt and I am proud because of it (I’ll explain why in a sec). Its that Jesse Jackson Jr. may be that highest bidder I was talking about. I like Jesse Jackson Jr. and I would be heartbroken if he was the person Blago was selling the seat to. The other thing is if it hurts out chances at the 2016 Olympics. I love my city and would be so proud to have the Olympics a half hour drive away.
Despite the corruption that has and always will go on here in Illinois I am proud of it. I’m mostly proud of my city Chicago and because of Rod Blago I’m now proud of Illinois. Did you know Chicago is the murder capital of the U.S.? I didn’t either. But we beat New York and L.A.!!! How about the fact that Chicago is probably the most corrupt city in the U.S.? And what about all of Illinois now being considered the most corrupt state? We’ve had five governors charged with crimes (only one of which was found not guilty). That is why I am proud of this city and state. If we’re gonna have murders then we’re gonna have the most murders. If we’re gonna have corruption in state and local government then its going to the most corruption in America. If our governors are going to be charged with crimes then we’re gonna have more governors in jail than anyone else. This is the city where everything happens. Even our possibly felonious governor did most of his work in Chicago and rarely went to our real capital in Springfield. I think the capital should be Chicago. This is the city of the Smashing Pumpkins, the city by the lake. Its the windy city, the birth place of the blues. We have Wrigley field. We have the el. We may have the Olympics in 2016! This is the city with the Magnificent Mile. Its classier than New York and its not narcissistic like L.A. I challenge anyone to come here an think the place where they came from is better. We have Loyola University (the college I went to) and its hospital. We have Children’s Memorial and the University of Chicago. The Chicago Tribune and its parent company the Tribune Co. When its winter it snows like you’ve never seen, and when when we have summer its hard to keep your clothes on. We have Obama! We have Grant Park - the place where people from all over the country (and world) flock to for Lollapalooza. We have Millennium Park, where I have gone many times to see free outdoor concerts and movie marathons. We have the greatest city in the world, hands down, no question about it!
And as for Blago being a crook? Thats also what makes this place the greatest.