It’s been awhile, but I felt a real need to post again. This time, it’s about the race for Illinois Governor and it’s something I do not because I want to as much as I feel that I have to. I’m no fan of Governor Quinn. I downright despise his running mate Paul Vallas. However, I am throwing my support to him and I am asking everybody who either teaches or cares about education in the state of Illinois to do the same.
I feel that in this election, Illinois is Bedford Falls in Frank Capra’s classic film It’s a Wonderful Life. Everybody would love to have George Bailey running for governor, but he’s not running. Instead our choices appear to be evil Mr. Potter (Rauner) and incompetent Uncle Billy (Quinn). Neither is a great option, but I’ll take incompetence over evil any day.
I expect that most readers of this blog would sooner walk barefoot across a CPS classroom floor (Thanks Aramark) than vote for Bruce Rauner, but I’m addressing this to those of you who feel that Quinn is such a bad Governor that they’d just assume not vote or write in Karen Lewis or Mickey Mouse. Allow me to give you my reasons for not doing that.
The Wisconsin Example: When Scott Walker won, the reaction wasn’t for the Democrats to rally around a true progressive who could unite all those people who occupied the Capitol Building. Instead they ran Tom Barrett and now Mary Burke. Both are the pro-charter non-progressive Democrats that we love to hate so much in Illinois. There is no reason to believe that if Rauner wins, anybody will take the message to put a Democrat or Independent who is truly progressive. More likely, the lesson will be that we need a Democrat with their own funding like Rauner had and we’ll get a Pritzker or something running for Governor.
“But the Democrats won’t let him set an agenda”: That isn’t quite true. There are plenty of places his interests will intersect with either Madigan or Emanuel. We’ll get more charters, union crushing, privatization, corporate handouts, a corrupt Chicago casino, and pension holidays.
Paul Vallas: I hate him too. However, there is no less important job in the world than Illinois Lieutenant Governor. It’s a job that makes Vice-President seem demanding. Maybe Pat Quinn is actually doing a school district somewhere a big favor by keeping him away from education.
It’s Easier to Stand up to a Republican: This argument is that it’s easier to stand up to a Republican because people will see he’s a right wing nut job much faster than they’ll see just how corrupt a corporate Democrat is. The problem is that a Rahm-Rauner coalition allows them to claim any attack on the Chicago schools is a bipartisan move.
I am Tire of Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils: I am too, but the time to fight for a progressive governor was when Quinn was running in the Democratic Primary or if you wanted a Green candidate when it was time to organize a campaign. It’s too late to do anything now that would have any significance. You may get the satisfaction of saying, “Well I didn’t vote for him,” but if Rauner wins, you’ll also have to live with knowing you didn’t help stop him.
So I’m endorsing Quinn. I’m not doing that because he’s a great governor. I do it because I know Rauner will be much worse.