Imagine spending quality time with Andy Shaw. Imagine.
I am old enough to remember when serious people, busy people, gifted people, other-directed people and competent people would give softballs, ninnies, grifters and egoists the air.
Over time, serious people, busy people, gifted people, other-directed people and competent people were asked by persons with authority over them, or somehow allied to them, to give softballs, ninnies, grifters and egoists greater opportunity to air their plans, policies, pet projects and polemics the same courtesy as people who could actually accomplish a task, follow through a promise and do so without consideration of their future power, purse stuffing or personal attention.
Today, aspiration and transcendent will trumps ones ability to legislate, budget, instruct, cut pipe, clear a homicide, or back a 40' tractor trailer up to a loading dock without calamity. Caring, really really caring and hammering home that titanic nail of care into the public policy coffin is the litmas test for seriousness.
I taught with a some grifters, all too briefly, who found life employment as education administrators, activisists and high-paid consultants. One such paragon of care sold grades for snow tires and returned to obligation to students by selling NASA space ice cream crystals from the back of his trunk. Another self-professed spiritualist who taught PE and organized Christian discussion groups at a Catholic high school with a very orthodox and competent religion department, while trysting with a sophomore girl who was large with child, before the 1st Semester exams, despite the high-minded predator's own family of three snactioned by the United Church of Christ.
These grifters were immediately sent packing. The former died of a massive heart attack, while changing his snow tires in the blizzard of 1983 far from his former place of employment, but with a trunk full of Astronaut Ice Cream. The later became a public school superintendent in deep southern Illinois and collected a magnificent pension in 1999.
There were women on the grift as well. One sold a book written entirely by her students. Another became a well-compensated criminal justice activist after being cashiered for not correcting tests -at all among other shameful deeds.Then, there is the Rev. LIE BERRYAN-PROFITUS who takes up a collection of cash money from students and new faculty members for for every conceivable heart-breaking tale of human suffering ( most imangined), or recognition of Birfdays, Onnahs, Wedins and Ged Wells, yet can not account for purchased gifts, honoraria, bequests. My saluation was largely "Take it on the heel and toe, grifter," upon coming into proximity with this Dewey Decimal disaster.
They cared deeply, male and female, but laughed out of the faculty lounge and the classroom. Gradually, the new civility trumped, " ARE YOU OUT OF WHAT PASSES FOR YOUR #$%^ing MIND?" Like the English teacher who dressed up like a gondolier, a waiter, and Gertrude Stein had ballet mirrors installed in his classroom after convincing someone that his resume included not only graduate work under Wayne Booth at University of Chicago, a pending PhD. from Loyola University, editorship of PMLA and two years with the Joffrey Ballet. He cared.
I am very often, and no doubt correctly, criticized for being caustic and cynical, hateful and bitter, cranky and judgmental. I am. I have the exact temperament of highly skilled tradesman saddled with a supervisor who does not know that an eighth is larger in measure than sixteenth, notwithstanding the fact that there are twice the number in a sixteenth. A good electrician, pipe fitter, stationary engineer, carpenter or machinist, not great mind you, would and is fully justified in declaring the Alderman's nephew a complete unexpurgated moron.
People on watch, on task, on guard and on the job are saddled with more work for less pay, while cretins feebs, dummies and platitude preaching footpads with great hearts screw up the labors.
Nothing is more screwed up than Illinois government. Some say, where it once had to do with people not paying their fair share of taxes (read Ralph Martire - an epic grifter), it now is all about legislative voting maps. Could be.
About a week ago, I rubbished a Chicago Tribune editorial ( read Bruce Dold -an epic ninny) trumpetting the massive grift planned by CHANGE Illinois, which lists Illinois epic softball/egoist Andy " MICROPHONE!" Shaw of BGA on its board of directors. Today, Andy, the former ABC go-to-goof who once demanded to know what was going on of a Chicago homicide detective crouching over the body parts of a Tech 9 dismembered Gangster Disciple, who replied, " We suspect foul play," is now openly shilling for his work on remapping Illinois and reforming, once and for all, politics as we know it.
In some districts the Dems fielded stronger candidates or ran better campaigns, but in others gerrymandering made the difference.
And that helps explain why so few races are competitive, or even contested, and why incumbents rarely lose.
Is that healthy for democracy? Of course not.
So how can we clean it up?
Well, lawmakers can pass a bill replacing gerrymandering with computerized mapmaking based on geography and population, not politics.
Say what? Elected reps making it easier for opponents to beat them by unrigging the process?
Voters, as in “we the people,” can reform the system by referendum. They can sign enough petitions to put an apolitical redistricting plan on the ballot, and then pass it.
The League of Women Voters gave it a valiant try two years ago but fell short.
This year CHANGE ILLINOIS, the reform group that pushed campaign finance limits through the General Assembly, is leading a new drive that, if successful, gives us a healthier redistricting process in 2020, and a leveler and more competitive playing field in the 2022 elections.
That’s a long way off.At one time, I might believe that Andy, but these days? I'd allow Eldridge Gerry, his own bad self. to salamander up Illinois before the pack of grifters among whom you number your gifts, Andy. I 'd have Jimmy the Two Headed Boy fix my air conditioner, before I'd allow this pack of villains to get their mitts on anything. Shucks, I'd have Pork Chop Louis Farrakhan over to a Passover picnic on my deck in Morgan Park, before I'd allow these goofs any nod of agreement from my tired old forehead.
Andy the new courtesy has removed the fools cap from your noggin and Velcro'd the laurels of public gravitas on your scalp.
You are no longer the giggle button of ABC, but the policy THE pronouncement foghorn of the Illinois BGA.
There I go being all improbus, crudelis, et duro, again. I could always suffer fools gladly, but never seriously.