Contrasting weeks: reform is possible but barriers exist

Last week was a good week for those of use who are calling for reform, as two state legislators helped us make our case. This week wasn’t as enjoyable, since we again had to do work no one else is willing to do. In this instance, it was pointing out the gap between the facts and the fabrications presented by an elected official on a Sunday evening radio talk show.
Why do we bother? Why not just let it go? Because there has to be accountability on the part of our elected officials. We’re not going to see real progress if we all just look the other way.
Our goal is simple: we want to see GOP-platform-based government policy reforms enacted. The problem is we can’t get there without the active participation of thousands of good folks who right now view the Illinois political scene as a small, polluted swamp.
Fortunately, rank and file Republicans are becoming increasingly aware that the barriers to progress are the individuals in legislative and party offices that fit any number of categories like:
  • Those who aren’t really upset with the status quo (despite their protestations) because currently their friends get state jobs and state contracts.
  • Those who are biding their time until retirement.
  • Those who don’t feel like reforming anything since reform is too much work.
  • Those who don’t believe reform is possible.
  • Those who don’t know what to do and don’t want to learn.
  • Those who believe protecting their title is much more important than making good use of their office.
  • Those who think they’ve got it all figured out and are on the right track despite all evidence to the contrary.
  • Those critical of our efforts to shed light on the true nature of the problem and the barriers to reform.
Again, it’s going take new blood. Fake “reform tours” and placing multiple roadblocks to real grassroots input isn’t exactly an invitation to would-be activists. No doubt the old-guard is already planning how to control next May’s state GOP convention.
As we’ve outlined, the State Party, for its part, could get serious about tapping grassroots energy by holding a special convention, it could lobby for opening up the State Central Committee to direct elections, and it could rid itself of a few embarrassments that serve as repellants to the party’s growth.
Legislators need to get real about putting together a plan of specifics and then get serious about winning support for such a plan. There are a number of examples around the country where a legislative caucus has taken their case to the public aggressively and succeeded. Florida Republicans, for one, have been providing a nice example over the course of the past several months.
Compare that list with the occasional statements from Illinois Republicans that we read in the Illinois press.
The work required to move public opinion in the right direction can’t be done by just a few. Illinois Republican legislators who truly desire to see change should realize it’s possible to muster an army to help them in their efforts. We’re not saying it’s easy. We are saying it’s possible.
This isn’t enough:
“I don’t accept the premise that we need new money or taxes raised for new programs.” (Minority Leader Tom Cross quoted in the Daily Herald)
Or this:
“What We Stand For

· Less government intrusion in our lives

· Fiscal responsibility

· No more ‘government as usual’

· Lower taxes

· Ending government waste

· Smaller government”

(From the new Illinois GOP website)
 ©2007 John Francis Biver