Blagojevich trying to be lovable loser

By Dan Streib

As a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I have become very unsettled by the recent success of the Chicago Cubs. Despite thoughts that the curse of the billy goat could never be lifted (and other thoughts that the Cubs are just perennially bad), the lovable losers have been consistently atop the Central Division this year. If the Windy City’s National League team actually does win the World Series this October, the apocalypse must surely be at hand.

Of course, the end of the world as we know it is not quite here. With the exception of the Cubbies’ newly found winning ways, the rest of the universe seems quite ordinary. Two obvious signs of society’s current normalcy include the typical absurdities uttered by the press and the insanity of our state’s government.

The Associated Press has always earned great renown for missing the real news of each current event it chooses to cover. Case in point: Gov. Rod Blagojevich is trying to cut funding for many state parks. This is bad, but it is news, and the AP reported it. Then, however, in what was labeled an “AP exclusive,” it turns out that Blago has never visited the sites he refuses to financially support.

Oh, the humanity! Given all the foolish missteps of the governor’s current administration, I would be more upset if he actually did take the time to visit each park – he’s got enough problems on his hands.

The truly frustrating aspect of the situation has nothing to do with visits to parks. The real kicker is that this isn’t the first time Blagojevich has shown a total disregard for the state he governs. The first vicious stab against Illinois’ pride was his decision not to stay in the governor’s mansion at Springfield. Considering that Blago got re-elected, many people apparently never thought too much about this move. But it’s very serious. Let’s consider the following analogy.

What if the president of the United States never once set foot in the White House? What if he not only lived somewhere else, but never even entered the front door? Obviously, the nation would be furious.

This righteous anger would stem from the fact that the White House is America’s house, and America’s leader lives there because he is no longer his own man with his own home – he is entirely America’s and our chief representative. That’s why he stays at the home our nation gives him. If he didn’t, he’d be insulting our nation.

Blagojevich’s refusal to stay in the residence our state gives him, similarly insults the Land of Lincoln. It shows that he is not Illinois’ man but his own man. And his denial of funds for Illinois’ parks further showcases this mentality.

Many of the parks he wishes to close contain great natural beauty and some of them even have great historical value. If a state no longer has sacred land nor preserves its past, then why is it a state? What is to separate Illinois from, let’s say, Indiana, if not its own history and land? Nothing.

Thankfully, there is a ray of hope. On Tuesday, the decision to do away with these parks was postponed as the Blagojevich administration struggles with all of the paperwork. There is an opportunity here to still oppose the denigration of our fair land – and many politicians know it.

On Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn’s Web site, there is a petition against the closing of our state parks that anyone can sign – and I have. I encourage all of you readers to do the same. It’s a long shot that it will make a difference, but everyone has got to at least try.

However, not all is so desperate and dreary. Even if the petition fails to go through, I know that in the end, I can take comfort in the normalcy of our times.

That ordinary feeling about our society’s current condition means that the Cubs might not win the World Series after all. I guess there’s always next year …

Dan is a junior in political science that thoroughly enjoys baseball rivalries – even if his team isn’t currently doing so hot.