Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Red State/Blue State by Sara Paretsky

Red State/Blue State

Okay, Illinois, home to the Outfit, is officially a Blue State—we voted Democrat even down to Todd Stroger, who was appointed by the local polit-buro—sorry, Cook County Democratic Organization—to head the county ticket after his father suffered a stroke in the middle of the primary. Cook County’s budget is over $3 billion, with some 30000 employees, a patronage nest that makes the county presidency a prize worth fighting hard to keep. But is Illinois a liberal state? Is Chicago a liberal city? TurnLeft.com has some interesting comments on this.

I first came to Chicago in 1966, when Dr. Martin Luther King was here, trying to support Al Raby and others in their fight to integrate what is widely thought of as the most segregated city in America. The white south side erupted in violence that shook Dr. King to his core, as Taylor Branch reports in At Canaan’s Edge. ( Like a lot of bloggers, I’m a new and enthusiastic Branch reader.)

The white south side was furious with Mayor Daley for sending police out to Marquette Park to protect Dr. King. Shouting the kind of epithets that got Richards in trouble on national TV this week, they vowed never to vote Democratic again. They packed up their marbles and stomped off to the western suburbs, where they formed a Republican machine every bit as corrupt, powerful and dangerous as the old Daley or the new Stroger operations. And they send some of the reddest of the reds to Congress, including Judy Biggert, Illinois 13th and the outgoing speaker, Dennis Hastert, Illinois 14th. So whether we’re red or blue or progressive or reactionary—it’s all where you’re registered to use that Diebold machine!


Libby Hellmann said...

I moved to Chicago 12 years after you did, Sara, and I am in awe of your command of Chicago and Illinois politics. When you write, everything is suddenly so clear and straightforward.

Thanks. Great post.

ab said...

Thanks for the post. I'm equally impressed. From now on (or starting next Monday) I'll know the budget of everything. And have the energy to make interesting links.

Not familiar with the colour code - is blue left and red right? The other way around here.

Kevin Guilfoile said...

Yep AB. Blue is left and red is right. Several years ago the television networks standardized the color schemes on the maps they use during election night. In presidential elections, a state that is carried by the Democratic candidate is colored blue and a state that is carried by the Republican candidate is colored red. A good number of these states generally vote pretty predictably and are called "red states" or "blue states." Even more recently, states that are more evenly divided, and which could vote either way, are sometimes called "purple."

Illinois has been a pretty reliable blue state of late. But as recently as 1984, a majority of voters in 49 of 50 states voted "red" for Ronald Reagan.

Harold Henderson said...

Why is Judy Biggert "one of the reddest of the reds"? According to that site's rankings she's significantly less conservative than Hastert, Hyde, and Weller, in the same ballpark as Mark Kirk.