Politics Rules in IL Despite Coronavirus

Politics Rules in IL Despite Coronavirus

Politics Rules in IL Despite Coronavirus

On Sunday, Illinois followed other states by closing restaurants and bars due to coronavirus. But because this is Illinois, politics still rules.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker made the announcement with soaring words at a Sunday press conference:

“Every choice now is hard, and it comes with real consequences for our residents. But as your governor I cannot let the gravity of these choices prevent us from taking the actions that the science and the experts say will keep people safe.”

Buckle down, residents of the Prairie State! And you Chicagoans — not only will the Chicago River not turn green for St. Paddy’s Day, you won’t be able to lift a pint at your neighborhood Irish pub, either.

But guess what’s still going on as scheduled on Tuesday: the primary. “We’re gonna go ahead with it,” Pritzker told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Because Illinois and politics are tightly joined in an unholy marriage.

Never mind that Illinois schools have closed, along with popular Chicago tourist spots. Or that the Cubs and the White Sox won’t be playing ball, and even an Illinois circuit court shut down.  Never mind that, as of this writing, 105 people in the state now have coronavirus after 12 new cases popped up. You see, politics reigns supreme in Illinois.

But since “Toilets” Pritzker cares about the health and safety of his citizens, he encouraged people to not wait until election day to vote. Well, that’s helpful, considering the deadline to register to vote by mail ended on March 12. And the primary is on Tuesday.

Now the Chicago Tribune praised Pritzker’s kibosh on restaurants, bars, schools, parades, etc. etc. It was necessary, they said. A “call to arms,” they said.

“Even the City of the Big Shoulders — of steel-toed boots and squeaking trains, of chest-puffers and snow-shovelers — needs a reality check. We’re not invincible. No one is immune to the coronavirus, or to the disease known as COVID-19. . . . It’s happening: The only way to beat coronavirus is to minimize public activities and interactions.”

Sounds grandiose, doesn’t it? Stay home for the common good!

However, on the same day the Tribune published that editorial, it ran this one, too:

“With Tuesday’s election under a coronavirus cloud: We hope you find a way to vote.” 

Oh, in addition — won’t you help these candidates? Here’s a handy list we’ve included in this article.

Plus, here’s another fun fact for Illinois voters before they brave the virus and head to the polls: Pritzker just endorsed Joe Biden the day before the primary election. Just so you know. *wink, wink*

Because. . . politics.

But let’s consider something else, too. Like who mans those polling places: mostly older citizens.


Credit: Fairfax County/flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0.

As a matter of fact, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission reports that not only do many jurisdictions find it difficult to get poll workers, over half of them are over the age of 60. And what is one population at greater risk of coronavirus? Yep, people over 60.

So while voters might be able to “socially distance” themselves when they come in to vote — especially if not many voters show up — imagine groups of older adults sitting at tables, hour after hour.

As Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote on Friday:

“I don’t have statistics on the age of election judges in Illinois, but after about 6,000 years of covering politics around here, my experience is that most are in their 70s or older. They are mostly retired and have the time and concern about doing their “basic civic duties” to sit there at polling places and serve as election judges. . . . Now they’ll be sitting or standing at a table looking at documents, and voters will walk by and touch the table, touch their own faces, touch the table again, cough, touch their hands, touch the pens, for hour upon hour, so politicians can get their votes.”

Because . . . Illinois priorities. Because in Illinois politics ain’t beanbag. Politics is the next thing to a religion in a state that bleeds a solid blue.


Featured image: wikimedia commons/public domain.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

1 Comment
  • Charles N. Steele says:

    I think you are making too much of this, Kim. “With Tuesday’s election under a coronavirus cloud: We hope you find a way to vote.” This seems sensible. It’s Illinois, after all, where even people who have been dead for years find a way to vote.

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