By Tony Fitzpatrick
“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”
—H. L. Mencken
A funny bit of choreography happened on the victory stand for Bruce Rauner’s successful and expensive campaign for the governor’s office the other night. A rainbow coalition materialized: On the stand were Illinoisans of every race, creed and color. I’m sure that these fine folks were all CEOs and higher-ups in Rauner’s many business interests.
Hey, it could happen!
It was one of those feel-goods designed to make us believe that these are all “Bruce’s people” and, right in the middle, the Smiley Dunce himself—twenty-seven million dollars poorer, like it matters—and full of all manner of warm, fuzzy feelings for the working people his ilk have been butt-surfing for decades.
He and his operatives put enough dishonest and slimy tar on Governor Pat Quinn as to nullify any chance of a real dialogue. He stood with the South Side ministers—mind you, the same men who would deny Illinois same-sex couples the right to marry, if they had their way. It strikes me funny, how hanging a “Reverend” in front of your name and wearing your shirt down to your shoes somehow inoculates you from criticism.
Well, not here, and not today. A note to these various Christian idiots who bought into this myopia: You were used, bamboozled, chumped. A dopey, rich white guy led you to water and you drank. You also badly misrepresented your constituency and served yourselves instead of them. I’m thinking Jesus had a word for guys like you.
Fear not though—you were not alone. Rauner’s ads worked miracles with middle-class whites as well. It’s easy to scare them: one hint that their 401k might take it in the ass and they’re falling all over themselves to get to the polls. And they DO vote. Say this for the scared white majority, they do loves them some elections.
To be honest, Quinn never stood a chance. You see Quinn is a decent guy, a citizens advocate from day one. Always on the side of the little guy, the veteran and the consumer. The feeling I always got from the governor was that he was of us and not lording above us.
It may surprise you to hear me speak nicely about a politician. It should; it certainly surprises me. I hate the fuckers. They always seem like the assholes who wanted to be hall monitors and patrol boys—the people-pleasing ass-kissers who use Preparation H for lip gloss. For all of the la-la out there about “public service,” what these dildos want is POWER. It is the lift in the shoes of the short man. The squaring of the shoulders of the crooked man, the tapering of the waistline for the fat man.
POWER: It just looks good on a guy, and these fuckers crave it. It’s worse than crack.
Money equals victory is the new wisdom but, in fact, it isn’t new at all. Pat Quinn inherited Rod Blagojevich’s shit sandwich and made the best of it. He was hamstrung at every turn by Mike Madigan, whose shenanigans delayed the vote on same-sex marriage in an effort to rob Quinn of a political victory and a piece of history. Quinn was a reformer. Madigan is a fixer and, in Illinois, guess who won that shootin’ match?
Rauner spared no vitriol on Madigan in his campaign—here is hoping it is the most vicious of knife-fights, a fifteen-rounder. Dopey Bruce versus the Crypt-Keeper (really, somebody please water that guy). After this campaign season, I hope they leave blood on the floor.
The whole country swung right on election night. The Tea Party put some numbskulls into office and it seems the residents of “Fuckheadistan”came out to the polls. As did the entire population of “Douchebagistan” and “Assholeistan.” It seems their entire platform will be to repeal Obamacare and same-sex marriage.
It’s a good thing there are no other pressing issues facing the country right now. It’s a good thing that pesky little problems are all that remain—climate change, the sorry state of the school system, immigration, guns, crime, hunger and homelessness—these problems pale in comparison to the idea that boys are kissing boys, and girls are kissing girls. Or that some undeserving skell, mired in poverty, might get treatment for an illness!!! Who knows where an act of irresponsible blind compassion might lead them? Why, hell, they might actually act like Jesus rather than quoting his groupies.
This election also dovetailed with another event. Nik Wallenda’s amazing tightrope walk, high above the city. I admit to having a thing for daredevils like the Wallendas, Evel Knievel, Philippe Petit. I love them all. They seem to understand in a visceral way that life is an all-or-nothing proposition.
It felt right that in the middle of the political mean season and soundbite fuckery there was a moment of wonder.
I once read a fascinating story about Harry Houdini—he was one of seven children of a rabbi and spent his early years growing up in Appleton, Wisconsin. Because most of his amazing stunts were done around the East Coast, many think he was from New York, but he wasn’t. Though upon getting there he was appalled by the ghettos of poor Jews, Italians, Irish and people of color. It really shook him up. So once in a while he’d have himself hung out the window of a skyscraper, upside down, wearing a straitjacket and, for the benefit of all below, he would liberate himself from the constraint and toss it off. The metaphor needed no words.
This is America. Make yourselves free.