The Paint Brush Ballot

Hey, citizen voters! Ready to make your voice heard? Sure, tomorrow it’s just a mid-mid-term type of election, for the most part. Small potato offices compared to what is headed our way in November 2016, when a few trillion–ok, just a couple BILLION–dollars will be spent on big-ass (on steroids!) potato-type offices in play.

But the future is now.

By this time Wednesday, the “spin” will have been spun on the results of the voting booth drop-ins far and wide. There will be some results that might resonate as far as indicating whether our country tilts further to the obscene, oligarchic Right, or at worst maintains the Quo of the Status, or possibly–just maybe, some how, some way, permits a ray of democratic sunshine to break through those increasingly menacing, roiling neo-con clouds brooding as in an El Greco painting.

C’mon, We the People!  How about more of, say, an Edward Hopper sky? Nighthawks at the Finer Diner? Pensive but more promising…

I hesitate to hope for a Norman Rockwell skyline. I’d get diabetes by looking at that type of paint brush ballot vista for very long. Baseball and Ma’s apple pie; dad and his briefcase full of bliss; white picket fences. Rosy-cheeked cherubs, playing with Rover or Fido or Checkers. Wait, wasn’t that the 1950s America?

No, the future is now, as I said.

The future, as in tomorrow’s vote. In my neck of the woods, a diverse semi-suburb called Oak Park (maybe something along the lines of a Leroy Neiman canvas–colorful, playful, full of whimsy but respectful of the subject at hand) grafted to a stretch of the western boundaries of  Chicago, the ballots bespeak school board, library board, park district board, commission-level stuff. Sure, that all matters. But if things get El Greco-ish here, I can vote again–with my feet, as it were–and move out. There’s always Berwyn, just south of here, Svengooli’s ( not familiar with him?; Google him and get hip) kind of town (Berrrrwyn?!). Well, it’s better than anywhere in Indiana…

How about that “spin” I mentioned earlier? Nothing in Oak Park or Berwyn will resonate too far afield, but that City on the Make just east of either of those burgs, Chicago? Now, that place has potential to really rock the vote/boat, to spin crazily and stir up an electoral gust worthy of Chicago’s other moniker “the windy city”. And by that I mean Chuy Garcia possibly beating Rahm Emmanuel for Mayor.

Why? Rahm has a massive campaign war chest. Gold, silver, baubles, bangles and bright shining beads! He’s the corporatist with the pinky-ring crowd, the sultans of swat, the clout meisters. Loves those folks, give a rat’s ass about the South and West side.

Chuy? He has a 1970s porn mustache, some loose change in his lint-lined pockets, decent inner-city street cred, and best all, the last name of Garcia, which makes him the guy who is NOT Emmanuel. Rahm , the 1%=er.  Chuy came out of nowhere to force a run-off election in February, in spite of being outspent 15-1 or so. Now, if he can get the fairly sizeable combo of Hispanic and African-American votes, and a scoop or two of plain, white vanilla types in the hipster precincts who seek “anyone but Rahm,” then Mr.Garcia might just win. That would resonate nationally.

Do I think it will happen? Likely not. Money does talk as bullshit walks and having spent most of my life around Cook County, machine politics, I have that El Greco feeling. I had it when Barack ran for President. I voted for Nader because…

…I’m mostly a Green Party/Independent voter. If I lived in the Chicago, Chuy Garcia , a Democrat, would have my vote. His victory could provide a jolt up the keesters for those other 1%=ers who buy elections and/or steal them and/or suppress the vote. That kick in the ass is needed. And if Chuy falls flat over his four-year term, the voters simply have to remember it’s they who call the shots,not the Brinks truck crowd, and come next election find someone even better, mustache or no mustache, deep pockets or loose change or whatever, but someone who might paint an even more appealing political landscape, one with a realistic, common-man touch, and an unmistakable sense of wonder at the edges.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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1 Response to The Paint Brush Ballot

  1. catt23 says:

    An insightful portrayal of a city at a crossroads on the eve of an election that will resonate on the national level one way or the other, rallying for change or clinging to the status quo


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