Only in Chicago

Only in Chicago has “the boss” meant Richard J. Daley instead of Bruce Springsteen

Only in Illinois do we have two, count ‘em two, consecutive governors in the slammer

Chicago is the city where the motto has ever been “vote early and often”. It has been a city where you can’t keep an active voter down…even if they are down in the grave.  More than one Illinois politician has been elected by voters whose current residence starts out with “Queen of Heaven Cemetery.”

And while there is little doubt that Chicago does not have a lock on the practice,  this is a city where a politician can win a primary even though he is currently charged with bribery. But this article is not about that man – it is about the man who wrote about him – John Kass.

More than once I have had people tell me I am “too political” – my response, of course, is “hello! political science major!”  So it was when we recently switched newspapers from the “Daily Pamphlet” to the Chicago Tribune I was delighted to find the work of  John Kass.

And so I dubb thee,  John Kass, the spiritual successor of the pulitzer prize winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Mike Royko.

As I lay in my sick bed this morning, finally awake long enough to read the paper, I turned to the first place I always do in the paper – the sage words of John Kass.  Now if you have ever read Mike Royko’s column (I grew up with it) you know in what lofty heights sit the top of the pedestal on which his work yet rests. Knowing that many of our listeners and readers are from countries other than the U.S. I will simply quote today’s article.  Speaking of State Representative Derrick Smith, John Kass wrote the following:

“His victory was engineered by the Democrats. The plan was designed to protect the leverage of Illinois  House Speaker Michael Madigan, who guards Democratic majority in the state House. And if the rest of the nation doesn’t understand how corrupt this city has become, nothing will convince them.

The other day, at least 7,140 voters cast a ballot for state Rep. Derrick ‘Leave It in the Envelope’ Smith.  And I’ve got at least 7,140 moutzas for each one of them.

That’s Nah! Seven thousand one hundred and forty times.

Smith, a West Side Democrat, received about 77 percent of the vote Tuesday, the day of one of Illinois’ lowest voter turnouts in history. What’s astounding is that he won even though he is facing a federal bribery charge.” – John Kass

It is the irreverent and bold writing of Royko that I see reflected in the writing of John Kass.  What is more, even if I didn’t agree with Royko, like John Kass, his work always gives me much to think about – and in this case write about.  In the end, Kass seems to understand why something like this can happen in Illinois.  Simply put, voters are used to it.  Or in the words of John Kass:

“If you beat someone with a stick year after year, and one day they stop flinching, you don’t say they’re naive. You say they’re used to it.” – John Kass

See  you online,

Julie Whitefeather


2 Responses to Only in Chicago
  1. Jeremy (Jmo)
    March 22, 2012 | 4:24 pm

    The politcal reputation our state has throughout the country is atrocious at best. It’s sad that the first thing that comes to mind when Chicago is mentioned is corruption. Unfortunately, it’s true.

    The problem is, though, that Chicago (and Illinois as a whole really) is just the City/State that’s gotten caught with their hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. This sort of political corruption is happening all over the country, and hopefully people’s eyes are finally being opened to it.

    I look at Washington and just hang my head in shame at what it has become. As much as I want to like the candidates I vote for, I honestly don’t think I can trust a single one of them. Even Barack Obama, who I have been a loud supporter of for a long time, spent his entire first campaign on the back of “grass roots” funding, and this election has his own Super PAC backing him, lined with corporate sponsors.

    Unless something is done soon, I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to get ourselves out of this mess.

    Also, how are you liking the Tribune? I used to subscribe to the Daily Heretic as well (which I believe we talked about in the past), and they bent me over and had their way with me. I had to threaten their billing department with legal action if they didn’t leave me alone, after they sent a collection agency after me for a paper I had stopped subscribing to over a year before and they were still trying to bill me for.

    Now that I have a Kindle, I’ve been looking to pick up a daily paper again, as it would be sent straight to me every morning.

    Final question, and sorry for the super long comment, are you and Fran going to be at C2E2? I’d love to meet up if so.

  2. Sr. Julie
    March 22, 2012 | 4:55 pm

    Why do we subscribe to The Chicago Tribune? 1. John Kass, 2. Better funnies. 3. the bird likes to shit on the Chicago Sports section (she likes to beat them to it). We have the paper delivered on part of the week…the days we have the most time to read it.

    As to Chicago Comic Con, this may be the first year we haven’t gone in several years – it all depends on the budget. Happy to meet up another time if we don’t go.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL