Thursday, February 16, 2012

My name is Ben Joravsky and I am a lifelong Democrat

Posted By on 02.16.12 at 08:00 AM

In honor of Regrets Week, I’ve decided to write about the many politicians I regret having voted for.

As you can imagine the list's so long I doubt there’s enough room to fit in all the names unless we return to the good old days of yesteryear, when Reader cover stories ran on and on and on.

So I’ll boil it down to this….

I’m a Democrat. Can’t help it. It was ingrained in me at an early age by my parents, who grew up in the Depression, worshipping FDR.

It’s particularly difficult for a New Deal Democrat like me living in Chicago during the age of Mayor Emanuel, who's just a tad to the left of Rick Santorum.

By the way, Mayor E—anytime you want to make it official and just join the Republican Party, go right ahead.

But the fact is I’d probably vote for Mayor Rahm—library cuts, crony Charter Schools, rent-a-protesters and all—if he were running one-on-one against a Republican.

In fact, I have voted for Emanuel when he was running one-on-one against a Republican congressional candidate.

Oh, the shame of it.

Though, in my defense, I have never, ever voted for Rahm when he was running in a Democratic primary.


I’m not proud of any of this. Year after year I tell myself—this will be the election in which I break free from my Democratic yoke, if only to show the party bosses that I will not vote for any chump they put on my ballot.

And to the polling place I march. And into the polling booth I go. And up the voting stylus I pick. And just as I’m ready to bring it down next to the Republican, the heavens open, and out booms the voice of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “Don't do it, Benny!"

And I vote Democrat.

Oh, the guilt. The regret. I’m sorry. I won't do it again. Though I will.


Among those Democrats—aside from the aforementioned Congressman Rahm—are Dan Rostenkowski (when he was under indictment), John and Todd Stroger, Joe Berrios, and assorted water reclamation district hacks whose names I’ve long since forgotten.

Oh, yes, and Blago—at least five times (he was my congressman before he was my governor).

Though in my defense I did not vote for Blago in 2006, the last time he ran for governor. I voted for the Green Party guy.

I know you hear a lot of people making that claim. In fact, if all the people who claim they voted for the Green Party guy actually voted for the Green Party guy then the Green Party guy would have won the election.

As opposed to Blago.

Who I did not vote for.

For which I feel—get ready for this—regret.

Yes, yes, that’s right, readers. The sickening, self-righteousness with which every two-timing hack politician in this state acted as though Blago’s impeachment brought reform to Illinois…

Well, it was enough to make me wish I’d voted for Blago in 2006.

As opposed for the Green Party guy—whose name, for the record, is Rich Whitney.

So, considering my voting history, how, you ask, can I chide my fellow Chicagoans for being simpletons who vote for mayors like Daley and Emanuel?

Well, I shouldn’t. Though I do. For which I have—no regrets.

Act as I say, people, not as I do.

In that way, I have much in common with Mayor Emanuel, who pretends as though money doesn’t matter when it comes to schools other people’s kids attend, even though he had the best public education money could buy.

Up at good old New Trier.

You knew I’d find a way to work in that Mayor Rahm went to New Trier.

And I do so without regrets.

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