Chicagoans reelect corrupt politicians: U.S. Rep. Jessie Jackson Jr., Rep. Derrick Smith and Judge Cynthia Brim
As I was watching the election results on Tuesday night, the TV news reporter broke the news that Rep. Jessie Jackson Jr. was reelected to office. The news anchor was surprised he was reelected. I wasn’t. Even though he hasn’t been seen in Capitol Hill since June 5th when he left for treatment at the Mayo Clinic for what later was revealed to be his battle with “mood disorder” and “weight issues.” The poor U.S. Congressman was too stressed out. With the FBI investigating his involvement in the Rod Blagojevich Senate seat scandal, his alleged use of campaign funds to furnish his Washington D.C. house or his alleged purchase of a 40,000 Rolex (as the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Friday) he bought for his mistress I can see how he’d be a bit stressed out. The stress sure wasn’t a by-product from our lame-duck Congress.
Another sign of Chicago’s penchant for electing corrupt politicians was exhibited in the retention of Judge Cynthia Brim for another six-year term. She was reelected Tuesday despite being suspended from the bench. Her court case was conveniently and “coincidentally” the next day. Her attorney said in court that the battery case should be thrown out because his client was “legally insane” at the time (yes, you read that right; her attorney admitted she’s crazy). The dishonorable judge was suspended in March from her $182,000-a-year job (which she is still being paid) after a wild week in which she was removed from her courtroom after launching into a 45-minute tirade and then, a day later, was charged with shoving a deputy at the Daley Center. She was barred from entering a courtroom without supervision from a police escort. These events and the fact numerous bar associations have recommended since 2000 that voters toss her from the bench failed to deter her reelection. Brim’s physician said Brim could return to work as long as “she stayed on her medication.”
And if that wasn’t enough to piss you off let me enlighten you on Derrick Smith’s reelection. Smith is set to take his oath of office January 5th, five months after he became the first Illinois House member to be expelled in 107 years. Smith was arrested a few days before the March primary in a federal sting and charged with taking a bribe in return for recommending a state grant. The representative wanted $7,000 in cash to ensure “no trace of it.” He incredulously pled not guilty to the charge, despite the audio evidence. The sad part of this reelection is that because he was expelled from the House on these charges, by law he cannot be removed from office for the same reason (similar to double jeopardy charges). Thus the only way for him to be removed from office is for a conviction (which surely will come his way).
I wasn’t surprised these people were reelected. I wasn’t surprised Chicagoans failed to research their candidates. I wasn’t surprised voters voted on party lines. What I am is angry. Angry that this state, more importantly this city, has become a national “laughingstock.”
Seriously how do you first elect a judge who deems herself insane!!!
How do you reelect a congressman who was busted in a federal sting days before the primary election?
And how do you reelect a U.S. congressman who has not only been AWOL, but is now working on a plea deal with the FBI?
I’ll tell you how. With the help of Democratic leaders (I’m looking at you Toni Preckwinkle)! The “reformer” I first avidly supported has had missteps after missteps. Months ago she said President Reagan deserved a “special place in hell” from his stance on drugs (“Say no to drugs”). In a robocall before the election, Preckwinkle urged voters to vote for all Democratic candidates “up and down the ballot.” “Vote yes for all of our judges for retention.”
It’s this sort of mentality that continues the unfortunate “status quo” we Illinoisans endure in this corrupt state. Voting for a candidate simply because of their political affiliations isn’t right. Assuming candidates of one party are always the best choice isn’t right. And most certainly voting for blatantly corrupt politicians isn’t right.
Wake up Chicago.
Wake up Illinois.
Unless you begin to do some basic research on the politicians you elect, nothing will ever change in this state. Nothing. Why would it? Why would anything change if the voters deem politician’s performances adequate?
So next time you get mad that this state is a national laughingstock, that Chicago leads the nation in homicides or that we lead the nation in unfunded pension liability, don’t get mad at the politicians. Get mad at yourself for allowing it to happen. For perpetuating the “status quo.”
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate