Wednesday, February 18, 2009

South Suburban Democratic machine confronts Team Obama

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of the corrupt politics that plagues Illinois. I am aware of the patronage and pay-to-play aspects that defines Democratic politics in the South Suburbs, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Barack Obama's message of Hope and Change stimulated many of us here in the South Suburbs to get involved -- many for the first time ever. The fact is that the corrupt politics that defines Illinois politics represses democracy and participation by the average person. Quite frankly, that's the way the political machine likes it.

So it should be no surprise that I am suddently getting some very curious feedback about our OFA group, Team Obama. The first hint was when Hazel Crest mayor, Robert Donaldson, sent an email to his fellow candidate Joseph Bertrand about our Team Obama meeting. The email was forwarded to me:

For your information. We should discuss these false, misinformational and misleading statements from these two individuals. Please distribute to interested parties.

Note that the mayor does not dispute the fact that he pushed through the village council a massive pay raise for himself -- and in these tough economic times! Nor does he challenge the public perception that he conducts village business in secret, or that he has engaged in the age-old practice of patronage. Rather, the mayor has apparently plotted to destroy Team Obama. Just because.

As followup, I got email from a machine hack who tries to convince me that we are choosing amongst Democrats "who supported President Obama." Of course, the truth is that the village races in Hazel Crest are nonpartisan. I have no idea whether the mayor (or Joseph Bertrand) are Democrats, although it is probably safe to assume that they are. Instead, as I mentioned in the previous post, we invited people who were involved in helping to elect President Obama to come speak to us. I'm unclear why I should have investigated these candidates' opponents before inviting them to pitch their candidacy before a group of people who lived in their community. Of course, the logic of machine pols probably escapes me anyway.

President Obama challenged us to get involved in our communities and work towards positive change. That does not mean that there won't be other people, Democrats to boot, who won't resist Change in our communities. Illinois has previously resisted the involvement of the national party in the state, and it is clear that they are resisting change again. Barack Obama may have come from Illinois, but the party leadership, both local and state, have every intention of resisting his Agenda for Change and his interest in seeing people get involved in their communities. The status quo in this area are Democrats. It just so happens that the forces for Change in the area are Democrats, as well...

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