February 23, 2015

Vote Or Die, Chicago Style

Tomorrow, across the city of Chicago, elections will be held for both the Mayoral primary as well as several City Council seats. In that spirit, I would like to offer the following advice for those who may be on the fence about candidates, or even - worse - cynical about the outcome:

Get Up, Bundle Up, Get Out, and Vote

First, if you haven't already engaged in early voting....today's your last and only day to make a difference. In Chicago, politics like much like sports in that it's easy to have an opinion without actually participating yourself. I am fortunate in that a friend of mine - Maureen Sullivan - is running for Alderman of the 11th Ward (part of which includes where I grew up. If you're tired of the same old malarkey in Chicago politics, you owe it to yourself to get out and vote.

Some of you may argue But if I'm force to choose between the lesser of two evils, I'm still choosing evil, let's be blunt: that's a cop-out. We live in a democratic republic, founded on the idea that having a choice is paramount in how a nation is governed. Besides, if you post politically-charged bluster on Facebook, you can actually step away from the keyboard, get out of your apartment, head to your polling place, and vote. It's not a perfect system, but it sure as heck beats the alternative.
...and by "kids" I mean "any adult
of voting age"

Yet there's another, more insidious form of election day cynicism that only happens in our fair city, and it's articulated in the attitude we all know who's gonna win anyway, so I may as well vote for that candidate.

My response: that attitude is cynical....and lazy. Electing a candidate is not like placing a bet on a race horse; there's no win/place/show. However, making a choice against a candidate - by voting for a challenger - is just as (if not more) important. This attitude is the mirror image of the "lesser of two evils" argument...and it's just as wrong.

We've seen quite a bit happen in Chicago over the last few years - a real move towards denying communities their power and their voice. We've seen a city move from enthusiasm over an Olympic bid that would "improve the community"....to apathy and a reluctance to actually get their hands dirty doing it.

Tomorrow may not be a "big" election, but it's important. So important, in fact, that I'm spending the entire day working as an election judge.

Get out. Vote. Then you can complain.

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