Over the past week we have received several requests from our faithful readers to comment on the recent Blagojevich blowout (or Blago-palooza as us native Illinoisians call it). I was initially confused by these requests as I am not well-acquainted with what you kids refer to as “The News.” I knew our governor had been arrested in college for public indecency and attempted sodomy, and I had heard that he was under investigation for the residual kickbacks he was receiving from the Chicago Black Sox scandal of 1919. I had also read somewhere that he is the only elected official since Nero to have an approval rating of zero, but I had heard nothing of an investigation surrounding the selling of exorbitantly priced seats.
Naturally, I assumed this had something to do with [Hot] Rod’s pre-gubernatorial career as a distributor of high-end office chairs. You can imagine my befuddlement when I stumbled upon this video that laid bare the whole sordid affair in just over 90 seconds.
My reaction to learning the truth went something like this: disgust, amusement, exhaustion, hunger, gluttony, regret, and then back to exhaustion. You’ll notice that surprise is nowhere on that list. This is because Rod Blagojevich is a politician in Illinois. Corruption is what politicians in Illinois do. If we waited around for a candidate with morals, democracy would be dead and Wisconsin would have conquered us years ago. It’s like when that velociraptor in Jurassic Park eats that one dude. Brutally violent? Sure. Awesome? Absolutely. Surprising? Of course not. That’s what velociraptors do, they eat people. The same principle holds true with Illinois politics. This is why I will not be surprised next year when it finally comes to light that Barack Obama has been running a South Side meth lab for the past half decade.
Let’s look at the facts. For the last 100 years, the name Chicago has been synonymous with political corruption (also pizza, wind, and baseball futility). Four of our last eight governors have been arrested or indicted (seven total in Illinois’ history). In the late 1980s, the residents of Chicago were so thoroughly disgusted by the nepotism, cronyism, and corruption displayed by Mayor Richard J. Daley’s regime that they elected his son Richard M. Daley to the position and have kept him there for the past twenty years. It was during Daley The Sequal’s reign that a Fortune magazine study identified “relative of an elected official” as the highest paying job in the state.
And that’s the thing. As much as we like to throw self-righteous stones at Blaggers, Illinoisians love political corruption. It put us on the map! Our local, county, and state governments have been over-run with criminals since the beginning of recorded history, and you know what? Illinois isn’t a terrible place to live! (Ok, yes it is, but not because of the corruption.) The crooks must be doing something right. Think about it. Over the last three decades Chicago has been responsible for the following: six NBA championships, a Super Bowl, a World Series, Kanye, The Smashing Pumpkins, Fall Out Boy, that Sufjan album everyone loved, Vince Vaughn, The Fugitive, and all the Gotham City scenes from the last two Batman movies. Not too shabby.
That is what we in the Land of Lincoln expect. Results. Stability. Camera Crews. Don’t tell us how you did it, just make sure it gets done. We put on a convincing show when the rest of the country is watching, but the truth is, people here can no longer differentiate between a political convention and an episode of the Sopranos. In Illinois, they’ve always been one and the same. In a 2008 poll, six out of ten Illinois residents could not figure out what the big deal was with the whole Eliot Spitzer thing. Terms like “ethics” “accountability” and “human decency” are as foreign to Illionis voters as “common sense” and “moderation” are to people from Texas.
So, please, don’t be fooled by the disgust and condemnation currently being hurled at Rod [the Bod] by his fickle subjects. Sure he’s a scumbag and he’ll probably be forced out of office and everyone will spit on him and congratulate themselves for denouncing corruption just like they did in 2003 when Ole Gov’ner Ryan got dragged to the slammer. But I promise you this; if his successor can find a way to get the 2016 Olympics to Chicago, he could videotape himself stealing change from hobos and no one would care. Give us what we want; fill your pockets with whatever’s left.