Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Why won't my opponent release his tax returns says Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. Is he trying to hide something?
I'll fight him here, I'll fight him there says disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, a man who's bragged of his testicular fortitude in the past.
Rather like watching little boys, isn't it? Political posturing is so often heavy-handed and so obvious that you can't help but cringe.
Behind all the posing and puffing up are the unpleasant facts that politicians would like you not to see as they distract you with rhetoric and mud-slinging.
The point of it all is to make you fill your limited brain capacity with questions about State Senator Bill Brady, who hasn't publicized his tax returns. That way your head is too full to ask another question that might have some importance to your life.
What happened to the $4.5 million that the State of Illinois gave the Muntu Dance Theatre? It's the Chicago Tribune asking that particular question, over there behind Pat Quinn doing his political two-step.
That's a lot of money to go missing. Too much to be hidden behind political posturing.
A few years ago, the Muntu Dance Theatre had a plan to reinvigorate Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, a once thriving mecca for black folks when black folks were banned from white areas. The theatre would put up a building using grant money and donations, on land purchased for $1, and before long people would be flocking to Bronzeville once again, for a dose of African-American culture.
The thing fell through because donations are hard to come by these days. The City of Chicago took back its promised grant because the project didn't get off the ground, but the State of Illinois was lost in a flurry of political posturing and no one noticed.
Eight years later, and it's dawned on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that $4.5 million of taxpayer money seems to have gone down some mysterious drain.
State government is essentially bankrupt, and the taxpayers are asking questions about budgets and expenditures and all the sweetheart deals that can be traced back to Chicago's political machine.
When there's lots of money around, most folks don't pay much attention to where it goes. They'll watch the politicians spar and dance around the ring.
Now that the money's gone and the bills aren't getting paid, the political posturing is more like a comedy act than a graceful dance.