Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lighten up and open up


By Bill Kraus

Almost all the things people say they dislike about politics and politicians--and the reason both get approval ratings in the low teens--are driven by secrecy and seriousness.

A couple of examples will suffice.

The blitzkrieg on the public unions that had long terrified their political enemies and intimidated their political friends was neither promised or predicted and was devastatingly effective.

The resulting demise or decline of the 600-pound gorillas has gone pretty much unmourned quietly by their presumed friends and celebrated exuberantly by their enemies. I would expect the same sort of reception to the overreaching of the billionaires who have their own sets of terrifieds and intimindateds as, if, and when the reaction to their excesses occurs as it surely must.

The Capitol's newly newsworthy Solidarity Singers are the public manifestation of those who don’t know that the battle has shifted, that they are prolonging the fighting in a war that is over. What they have set off is an equally ridiculous opposite response by the always questionable forces of law and order who are in a modest way replicating the unlearned lessons of Mayor Daley’s fiasco of 1968.

Lighten up, everybody.

And open up.

The authors and allies of the Act 10 surprise instead of taking that lesson to heart are exacerbating and permanizing it. They are drinking from the secrecy cup which contains, in Mark Shields’ eloquent words, a deadly narcotic.

Instead of opening up they are closing down.

They reveal little and do not respond to questions. The recent response of a staffer of one committee chair in the current Legislature to a request for a simple answer to an easy question was that they only respond to questions from the representatives’ constituents. One would have thought that we all are constituents of committee chairs because their committee deals not with parochial, local concerns and voters, but with broader subjects that affect everyone in the state.

One would be wrong.

Open up, everybody.
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