I have been fretting for weeks how to tell my friends, my family and my neighbors that I may not be the person they thought I am.
Well, here goes...
In November, I will be on your ballot as a candidate for the State Representative for the 18th Legslative District. On the Republican ticket.
For the seven or eight of you that survived my use of the "R-word" let me explain how this happened to a life-long liberal Jewish Democrat who grew up in Evanston, who was active in Beth Emet, who excelled at ETHS, who writes and plays folk music decrying the plight of the common man and the human condition, who spent the late sixtie's getting teargassed in war protests in Berkeley, who ran as the Democrat's candidate for State's Attorney, who spoke to JFK on the phone and still reveres him, who believes the warnings that Ike gave us in his parting speech, who worked for the Israeli government, who is fighting for our food supply and battling GMOs, who contributed heavily to Obama's campaign and cried with overwhelming joy when he gave that speech from Grant Park.
Simply put, with no fanfare or crafted rhetoric: I running because I want to kill what my state has become. I want to create a new vision of what a resurrected Illinois can be and to help plan and implement a long-term strategy to make that happen.
Do I really have to tell you how bad things are in this state? Don't worry, I am not going to blame it on any party. All are equally culpable. (Boy, that should get me a lot of party support, huh?)
Just in case you have been asleep and not watching, reading or listening to the news, Illinois is a disaster. It has become the most financially decrepit state in the nation. It has earned a reputation for being among the top two or three most corrupt states. (In the past, when you told people around the world that you were from Chicago they’d say: "Rat-tat-tat. Al Copone". Today, when you tell them you are from Illinois, they give a wierd smile and say "Ryan. Blagovich.")
And, our pension mess. It is not a crisis...our "leaders" saw it coming for years like Metra barreling into the Central Street station. This just wasn't just some unfortuante accident, our legislature made it happen. Come on, Pension obligations $82 billion (probably more) in the hole, debt mounting at $12.6 a day, pensioners and local school districts, etc., all in a suspended state of anxiety and uncertainty until this "crisis" is somehow resolved. Do you really believe Springfield didn't see this coming? They are either really, really stupid or really, really corrupt. You choose.
What our are legislators doing about this? They're taken their neat little summer vacations to Wisconsin and Michigan dressed in Polo shirts and Patagonia shorts (Yes, I am talking to YOU Mr. Representative, sitting on the beach in New Buffalo sipping a Dewey Cannon beer and reading "Samuri Game".) Even worse, they are out raising re-election funds at fancy fetes in rootop gardens so they can get re-elected to perpetuate this statewide suicide pact we are in.
This is not just ivory tower politic-speak or stuff to talk over while you dine on Hecky’s barbeque. Recent studies report that the corruption in this state has a price tag...they call it a "Corruption Tax" of over $500,000,000 each year. That's a lot of moolah out of my pocket and yours. This corruption seeps into eveything: the pension crisis, the way political bosses decide who you'll vote for, the losses of business and jobs, the declining way of life and poverty outside our cozy little northern suburbs, You choose: you want to do something about it or you want to go swat balls on the tennis courts at the Nielson Center or swing your clubs at the Peter Jans Golf Course or escape to wait for that German Pancake at Walker Bros?
You see, I am not letting you voters off the hook. Your sniveling, "I stick with the party" thinking makes you as culpable as the most corrupt and inept politician. Insanely, you have installed, supported and re-elected a corrupt government over and over and over again, until it has become so entrenched in our culture that you accept it and mumble: "Well, what should I expect? It is Illinois, afterall" Well, rat-a-tat-tat! You accept it because the wrongdoers happen to be in your favored party that supports a combination of these same old schtick platform issues: low taxes, high taxes, laisez faire, the government will take care of the poor, the sick, the needy, the constitution doesn’t quarentee life is fair, businesses don't need to be regulated, businesses need to be controlled for the people, aren't our schools wonderful, our schools have filed us, etc., etc., etc. Ad naseum. Or, should I say, this distraction of "party politics" makes me nautious? It is a diversionary tactic to prevent us from address the real problems and finding the real solutions, if any still exist. Party politics are shield us from the truth.
So, I am running to make you aware, because - like any stepped recovery program - we must admit we have a problem before we can make systemic changes.The problem isn't that some ofus like bourbon and others of us like gin. The problem is that we are drunk.
I am running because I have this broken chromosome in me that makes me want to fix things and help people.
I am running because it will take years to make the tremendous cultural change we need to make. We should have started it twenty years ago. The next best time is to start today.
And, BFD that I am running as a Republican. There was already an incumbent riding the ass, all that was left was the elephant. With our state legislature having failed us so profoundly, there is not one single incumbent that should run opposed. Not one. My G-d people, that's how we hold them accountable. I now have little use or belief of parties and side with some insignificant do-little American politician, some guy that wore wigs named "George Washington" who wrote: "However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government". So, grow up, get over it and move on. It is not relevant whether I am running as a Democratic, a Republican, a Libertarian a or member of the Looney Party (Month Python fans remember.) The sooner you understand that, the sooner you will open your mind to the freedom that awareness brings.
Now that I am out of the closet, I have much work to do trying to get my message out without scaring off the very people that need to hear it. We’ve been working on my the website -www.liebermanforillinois.com - it will up and running on the 18th.
The chances of me winning in November may be laughable. But, the chanches of me maybe awakening 2 or 20 people is enormous and of awakening 2,000 or 20,000 people is a possibility. In business, I was taught to always consider the worst case, best case and expected case in any situation. The best case here is I could win, the worst case is I could become embarrased and shunned in the community, The expected case is I will make some small dent in the party-think that has fostered the decline of our state.
Eric Joseph Lieberman
Candidate & Exec. Director of Evanston GMO Watch (egmow.org)