Political shell game thriving in Will County
HerAld-News editorial April 26, 2012 10:32PM
Updated: May 28, 2012 9:08AM
Democracy allows citizens to guide the direction of their lives. It’s a great form of government. So good, in fact, that we believe certain Will County elected officials should give it a whirl.
Whatever form of government both parties are employing to hand off public offices to each other like batons in a relay race, it only resembles democracy.
Will County leaders have tricked out the process so that certain candidates, before or after an election, have sudden epiphanies and bail out — leaving their party to pick their successor.
All very neat and tidy. The only component missing from the equation is the voter.
Democratic state Rep. Jack McGuire (D-Joliet) quit less than three weeks after running unopposed in the March 20 primary. Citing his age and health, he decided he no longer had a taste for politics.
Likewise, a party committee in late February named Pat McGuire, Jack’s nephew, as state senator for the 43rd District. Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi (D-Joliet) had resigned to take a sweet job as a hospital lobbyist — after it was too late for anyone to file to run in the primary, which Wilhelmi won unopposed.
Democratic Party officials appointed Wilhelmi as state senator after his predecessor, Will County Executive Larry Walsh, resigned. Walsh got his job the same way. See a pattern? We do, too.
To be fair, Republicans engage in this political chicanery, too. Former state Sen. Gary Dahl (R-Granville) quit about a month after being re-elected in 2010. He discovered he didn’t like politics anymore.
His exit sent off a two-rail billiard shot with two other officeholders, who quit their elected jobs and rode greased political rails into different elected seats.
Democrats insist that no-voters-allowed democracy is mere coincidence. But voters need not be gullible, and there’s little question as to how these switches worked. It has the sickly sweet odor of cold calculation.
Politicians in Will County and elsewhere customarily weep crocodile tears about voter cynicism, but there’s a first step to cure it — look in the mirror and pay more than lip service to the democratic process.