I remember right after Trump got elected when there was a period I couldn’t watch the news or read a newspaper.
You too, right?
It wasn’t that I became paralyzed with grief or anything. Although I have some friends who didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I get it. But that isn’t me.
As Trump and the Republican’s troubles worsened, the cloud began to lift.
To be sure, he and the Republicans are causing plenty of trouble. And it will take years to repair the damage.
But I’m back watching the nightly news, reading the New York Times and in moments of quiet desperation I will even turn on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.
Some complain on Facebook that Trump’s Russian troubles are a distraction.
I think that misses the point.
His Russian troubles are a reality. It is like complaining that the rain is a distraction.
The problem is that Trump’s Russian troubles have become a spectator sport. Like watching the Cubs. Or roller derby.
And they involve forces and cliques we have no entry in to.
It’s fun. But we’re not players in all that.
Which is why I’m so annoyed with even the most progressive of Illinois legislators who voted for a budget bill that included what the Teacher Retirement System called “significant changes” to our pension system.
But since last Friday when I first received notice from the Teacher Retirement System of Illinois that the legislature had done something to our pension system, it has taken a determined effort just to find out what exactly they did.
There has been no follow up explanation from the teachers unions or We Are One Illinois, which represents other state public employees.
And the only information I have received from even the most progressive of state legislators is when I contacted them to ask.
That’s not movement politics.
That’s not participatory democracy.
I understood the need to pass a state budget and fund social services. I understood the need to override the Governor’s veto. I support raising revenue. I know that to get that done Republican votes were necessary and compromises had to be made.
I’m not quite sure why these things seem to always end up involving cuts to our pensions or underfunding, however.
Look. I follow these things. I knew there were bills floating around Springfield for years to convert our defined benefit pensions systems into defined contribution systems. I knew there were bills to shift pension costs to local school districts.
I have written about them and organized against them.
But we didn’t know that they was part of the budget deal. Nobody we sent to Springfield thought it was something we should know was happening.
Even after it happened.
Nobody said to us that deals are being made. They involve pensions. Get your people on the phone.
We would have done that. Believe me.
Trump’s Russian troubles may be a spectator sport.
I’m for participatory politics.