Missing the (Gambling) Boat – Big Time

By Rick Newton

How about a little prostitution, state Senators of Illinois? At what point does morality come into play in the decision making process for a legislator – if ever? A major expansion of gambling in Illinois was given the approval by the Illinois Senate by a 31-20 vote this week, making it abundantly clear that moral scruples will not stand in the way of raising revenue.

Is it so farfetched to expect that introducing prostitution and the legalization of drugs could be just around the corner? Wouldn’t you just love to know if and where there is a line that these stewards of our state would draw between worthwhile and unacceptable means of raising revenues? But as much as I would love to know that answer, this legislative “solution” should never have had to surface at all. Although raising revenues on the backs of the poor and those with gambling addictions is inexcusable, the morality dimension to this issue is actually not the only concern.

When will our Senators engage what it takes to examine the crux of this simple fiscal management issue? As much as there are times that I question the wisdom of some of their decisions, I strongly suspect that the intelligence required to achieve a balance or surplus from the simple equation of “Revenues (R) + Expenditures (E) = Balance (B)” is not the issue at hand. Recognizing that there are only 2 variables in play in allowing “Balance” to be greater than or equal to zero, even products of the Chicago Public School system should be able to recognize that this is simple ARITHMETIC!

They’re all familiar with that complex decision making that we as citizens have to do to prevent personal bankruptcy, right? When that ol’ revenue stream (R) seems to be tapped out, do we as citizens just simply buy a slot machine, stick it on the sidewalk, and wait for ne’er-do-wells and addicts to empty their pockets until we can pay for our next nice-to-have? Do we open our garages as a house of prostitution? Sell drugs on the street corner? Take on irresponsible, endless debt?

Fortunately for most of us, we understand this simple equation and the variable of “expenditures” better than most of our Senators and we have the moral character to know where to draw the line for options. It boils down to another couple of character components unknown to too many in the Senate – they’re called responsibility and courage. Recognizing what expenditures must be reduced or eliminated and carrying out the necessary decisions in order to survive is called “responsibility.” Having the courage, however, to make what may be tough decisions on the expenditure side of the equation is equally as important. I suspect that many of our state Senators are severely lacking in one or both of these traits. They should not only be embarrassed, but they should be ashamed – not to mention voted out of office.

Character matters. And when it comes to politics, it’s about (in this case) the type of character that yields what’s best for the citizens of Illinois – not the political careers of politicians. Character is present in Illinois politics, but, unfortunately, it’s present only in a minority of legislators – we should acknowledge and reinforce our appreciation to those who demonstrate it. For those who don’t understand or choose to ignore character, however, we as responsible citizens need to be relentless in letting them know not only what we expect in terms of acceptable legislation, but also to remind them when they’re missing the boat with the basics of character.

P.S. This is also another example of the importance of allegiance to conservative principles and not political party. Yes, most of this bill’s support came from Democrats. However, they were not alone. Unsuccessful (and supposedly conservative) Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady voted “present” on this bill. Unsuccessful (and supposedly conservative) Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Kirk Dillard voted in support of the bill. Republican Dave Syverson voted in support of this bill – of course. Mr. Syverson also supported the movement of Gitmo prisoners to Thomson prison in Illinois. We understand that the Rockford area which he represents has been hit harder in terms of job loss than the rest of the state, but again, wouldn’t it be good to know exactly how many gambling casinos, whorehouses, and drug peddlers Senator Syverson would support before his conscience was triggered – if ever?

Rick Newton is a tea party activist and the publisher of Right Bites, an excellent newsletter “Highlighting News & Opinions the Mainstream Media Ignores, Fears, or Distorts.”