Oh, Chicago Politics

It has officially been a week since I last posted anything, which were pictures that I took of the snow. I actually like them. I figured it was time to post something that was more newsworthy than not. Something that had to do with Chicago and not the fact that Fox aired its long-awaited Chicago Code this week. By the way, a radio DJ stated that it was corny that in the show there was a debate about the Cubs versus the Sox, and every time there was a scene where the radio was playing, it was usually on a non-stop Blues channel, which doesn’t exist here. Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble, those non-Chicagoans. I did like that the Superintendent was a woman and they portrayed politicians as the real, under-the-table powerhouses that they can become. Not to say that there’s anyone like that in Chicago…*ahem* But this did lead me to the idea for my blog post: Politics.

I know, I know, I’ve touched on these things before and usually it was pertaining to the immigration situation or the email that I got from a friend of mine about how this isn’t our country (us, being Latinos). By the way, that’s the most view post I have. Weird, eh? Anyway, I wanted to touch on the side of politics that I haven’t really expressed before, just because I had nothing good to say. Or neutral for that matter.

So as many of you know, I’ve been helping out Jesse Iniguez, who’s running for alderman in the 12th ward. He’s been blessed to get a number of endorsements and has been straight-forward and honest throughout this campaign. Last night, while at the campaign office, we were discussing politicians and how some in the city have started off with the best of intentions but have grown to just look out for themselves, obtaining a side of greed, dishonesty and a real displacement from where they first started. You can ask a number of people who have followed politicians throughout their careers and watch their faces distort because of the end result for some of the politicians for whom they voted. I told Jesse that after a while all politicians have this thing about them. I don’t know if I said it was good or bad, but all I said is that there was this thing. I can’t exactly pin-point it, but those of you who don’t like politics can probably figure out what I mean.

I never really liked politics to tell you the truth, but upon meeting a number of politicians thanks to a family member of mine, I’ve come to find that there are a few I feel are genuine and many I feel are not. I always found politics to be very important, even though I didn’t like them one bit. I educated myself, read a lot and made educated decisions about my positions on certain topics. It’s hard for me to believe that people will vote for certain candidates just because of their surname or because they recognize their name. And on top of that, it makes my vote feel completely useless. Majority always wins. But this is where the importance of voting and researching candidates comes in. You have to know, especially in wards (which are basically your communities) who’s going to keep you safe and keep the people’s interest at bay. Oddly enough, there isn’t anything out there that states exactly what an alderman is supposed to do, but who follows a job description in this town? Seriously, though, alderman are in charge and over see everything that happens in the ward from infrastructure to public safety to education and cleaning up the streets.

As a deputy registrar some time ago, I found that I couldn’t take people’s ignorance on the voting process or the government that we’re supposed to be proud of and evangelists for. As a reason not to register to vote, people would tell me, “It’s corrupt. Everything’s rigged. I don’t want to be part of that.” No matter how hard I tried to tell them that they were partaking in the corruption by not voting, they wouldn’t have it and would walk away.

Some time ago I heard that more people voted for president of the country than for their city council members. When things don’t go their way, they don’t realize where there error is. In politics, it’s important to vote for the little guys because as your spokesperson, as your representative for whatever it may be, you need to be heard and yes, voting is your voice.

Working within this campaign has brought me some kind of hope though, especially because I’m seeing the educated side to the ignorance that exists. I give props to Rahm for getting out and shaking people’s hands. That’s what you need to do to be available for questions and concerns from the people you are taking care of for the term. Jesse has begun to do the same thing. When I “saw” Gery Chico, he was shopping, not shaking hands. And I have yet to see or hear about the other mayoral candidates getting out there and being part of the crowds.

Being transparent is key for a lot of things, especially when you’re running a city, ward, district, township, or whatever else it might be. People want to know who you are and what you do with yourself. They want to see you as someone who is working for them, which in reality, is what the deal is. As a tax payer and citizen, the people I vote into office work for me. But in the end, it’s just sad to see that many don’t see it that way and don’t agree with that statement. They take advantage of their positions, don’t bring about any changes, such as building initiatives for public safety and end up forgetting about the people. The ignorant people who decide that voting is not their cup of tea.

The outrageous thing is that all across the world, there are countries who don’t elect their leaders. There are countries who still prohibit women from voting and there are countries who treat their people very badly. The issue for me is that in a country where we have it all, literally, we can’t be civil, make educated decisions or educate ourselves for that matter about how we can better ourselves, our communities, our cities and our country. It’s severely disappointing. I hope that everyone who reads this, if anyone does, gets out to vote February 22. Make the decision that’s right for you and your family. But for the glory of democracy and for all of those who can’t, get out and VOTE!

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