Fed up with a government that is non-responsive, wasteful, or corrupt? Fed up with a process that seems to shut you out? It's time to stand up and be counted. Join 970 WMAY this Wednesday at 2nd & Capitol, at the feet of Abraham Lincoln in front of the Statehouse. We will gather together for "THE RALLY FOR COMMON SENSE". We've invited lawmakers to come and show that they understand your frustration, but to really send the message, we need you. If you are tired of state jobs leaving Springfield, if you're tired of pay-to-play, if you've been using the word IMPEACH a lot more often - join us Wednesday in the noon hour, or listen live here on 970 WMAY, the News and Talk of Springfield.I’m always a little wary of political events, and that’s what this is of course, sponsored by media outlets that on the one hand bring us the news but also thrive on talking about controversy on their talk shows. Create event, cover it in your news, talk about it on your talk shows, sell advertising. But whatever. In general, I think political protest is great and should be encouraged so more power to them.
However, this thing strikes me as a little unfocused and scattershot in it aims. It could just as easily be the “Sick of it All” rally. I mean, is this to encourage the lawmakers to impeach Gov. Blagojevich? I’m guessing a lot of people planning to attend have that in mind. (You can even download and print from the WMAY website a Blago mask to wear for whatever reason.) Others are, I assume, coming to protest the real and theoretical move of state jobs from Springfield, which, like I said before, is a purely local issue and not many lawmakers representing other districts are all that worried about, especially if their district stand s to benefit. Then there are the usual budget problems (no one wants to raise taxes or cut spending), lawmakers pay raises, and assorted other political hackery that goes on all the time. Sure, plenty to protest, but all at once? I’m not sure how seriously that’s going to be taken.
And how will the lawmakers and governor view this. Well, the governor won’t be around and has demonstrated he really doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Lawmakers? Well they are going to view this as largely a gathering of the indigenous people and fear not any repercussions at the ballot box. And again, let’s be honest, this is a local event. We’ve got some righteous grievances, many with statewide implications, but this isn’t a protest involving the rest of the state and I think its impact is going to be minimal to non-existent because of that.
I think Springfield, as a community, has always had a distorted view of both ownership and influence on state government. And that’s for obvious reasons: We man the jobs, can see the Capitol from many places in town and generally feel the presence of state government to a much greater degree than other Illinois communities. And, thanks in part to our local media like WMAY, I think the community has had a slightly (and only slightly) disproportional effect on lawmakers and the governing institutions. Some of that is changing, I think, due to technology (internet, cell phones) that allows for better communication with the media in other parts of the state. Maybe I’ll flesh that notion out a bit more in another post.