Thursday, July 2, 2020

Damn you, J.B., for trying to save our lives!

      When pausing to photograph this distinctive sign in generally pleasant, rustic Channahon Monday. I did not consider the juxtaposition with the nostalgic tableau next to it: the classic Schwinn bicycle, its basket full of flowers, the sweet little girl statue.
    And then "J.B. PRITZKER SUCKS." In case you can't read the fine print, it continues, "THE LIFE OUT OF ILLINOIS SMALL BUSINESS."
     It was only later, looking at the picture, that the disconnect between folksy and hateful jumped out. Which is rather like what often happens when you meet people downstate—lovely folks, on the surface, but with a few odious beliefs jingling around their pockets like loose ammunition. 
     The sign doesn't go on to explain exactly how the governor is hoovering vitality from mom and pop establishments. No room and, besides, it's a given. It's assumed you know the problem is his closing down the state, more or less, trying to keep residents from dying of COVID-19.
     Can't the guy who posted the sign see what happens when you don't? 52,000 new cases. Tuesday. Isn't trying to tamp down that curve—surging up again—the kind of effort that even residents of this small community, 60 miles southwest of Chicago, can wrap their heads around. It's not like you need a Ph.D. to figure it out.
      Then again, I have a job, and my wife has a job. Maybe if we were sitting on our hands, day after day, watching our livelihoods shrivel and die and our life savings dwindle away, we might have a very different take on the matter. I don't want to be one of those guys sitting warm and dry in the boat, raising my hot tea and lemon to my lips, tut-tutting at how unseemly are all those thrashing about in the water, splashing in such an unseemly fashion. And those awful cries! Really. Can't they sink wordlessly? That's what I'd do in their position. Blow a few kisses at the governor as I expire.
     Or am I succumbing to that Democratic folk disease, empathy? Wear your fuckin' mask, Jethro.
     If I had presence of mind, I'd have pulled over and knock on the door (and no doubt been shot through it by someone in fear for his life; it isn't only the Right who can traffic in stereotypes). But I was already 20 minutes late—construction traffic on the Stevenson—heading down, and after I had been biking for three hours and just wanted to get home and eat dinner.
    Then again, I don't need to quiz the sign owner. This week the Sun-Times ran a story on the dozen or so death threats against the governor. The Illinoisans making the threats seem to be mostly the mentally ill, or the incarcerated, and not beleaguered small businessmen whose cupcake shops are languishing due to social distancing. The true nature of people come out in a crisis, for good and ill, and it is to be expected that along with the selfless acts of nurses and social service types there are bitter red staters just itchin' to shoot sumptin'.  Not to tell the governor his business, or make my colleague's work any more difficult, but myself, I'd squelch reports of death threats, just so as not to give anybody any ideas. 
     Think about how much you have to hate somebody to condemn him on a sign in your front yard. I like to think, no matter how extreme a situation I'd find myself in, I wouldn't do that. In fact, I don't have to assume. I know. For three years I've watched a liar, bully, fraud and traitor ripping at the foundations of my beloved country, which is worse than driving your bar into receivership. And yet not once found myself condemning him to passing cars. 
    Although, now that I think of it, I have put up a sign.  A neighbor had them printed up, and I eagerly bought one and placed it at the strip of forest along the edge of our yard. Here it is.



  1. or three years I've watched a liar, bully, fraud and traitor ripping at the foundations of my beloved country, which is worse than driving your bar into receivership. And yet not once found myself condemning him to passing cars.

    Well, you do have other outlets that are not open to folks without a newspaper column...

  2. I saw one of those signs while walking in River Forest yesterday. You can probably find not far from the Glenbrook area without too much trying.

  3. I feel sorry for those small-business owners, but at the same time, we mustn't let them dictate the terms of the state's reopening. They have their interest, which is economic survival, and I have mine, which is actual, literal survival. To the extent that they conflict, the latter has to win out.

  4. 100 % !! 'lovely folks, on the surface, but with a few odious beliefs jingling around their pockets like loose ammunition'. I am an essential worker and the behavior I have seen from otherwise 'normal' individuals is astoundingly selfish.

  5. And as the article in the paper pointed out on Wed., unfort. he's been getting more threats as well from the right wingers.

  6. I blame Trump. Heck, he televised his animosity toward Democratic governors. Naturally Trump supporters are going to side with Trump and go along with that animosity. I don’t agree with all of Pritzker’s decisions, but I admire many that he’s made regarding COVID-19. I, too, would never post a sign on my lawn denigrating anyone. How can anyone be proud if putting something like that on their lawn? Shameful!

  7. I can see how Channahonites and small business people would be leery of the likes of the Pritzkers and big City folk -- they can be sure that their interests aren't top priority. After all, most of us had no idea Channahon existed until just now and we routinely eschew the local merchant for Walmart and Home Depot. However, one would hope that common sense and respect for science would prevail even here in the hinterlands.


    1. I was born and raised and spent half my life in Chicago and its suburbs, but I also spent some timeout in the boonies to the west, so I have heard of Channahon. It's not all that far from Joliet. I guess what was true 30, 40, 50 years ago is still true: To Chicagoans and suburbanites, anything south of I-80 is still considered to be rural, rustic "Downstate."

      The sign is a jarring contrast to all the Americana in the background...the Schwinn bicycle, the flowers, the rocks, the flagpole, the blue star, the wicker chair, and especially the gazing globe on the pedestal. My God, I actually own a red one and a blue one. And here I've always thought of myself as urbane and sophisticated. Not so much.

      Yes, the Downstaters can often be both folksy and hateful. My neighbors seemed like wonderful, down-to-earth folks...until their views clashed with mine and those same folks stood on streetcorners and inside their storefronts with loaded weapons and itchy trigger fingers, waiting for anti-war students to march and to protest the killings at Kent State. It could have happened all over again, a few days later, in "Downstate" Illinois.

      One does not have to wonder much what the "Downstate" reactions were after the urban violence of last month. The small towns an hour or two south and southwest of Chicago may as well be in another state entirely, or on another planet, where it's still 1970. Nixon and Trump. 1970 and 2020. or even 1920. Law and order. The business of America is business. Intolerance and xenophobia and bigotry. Yes, a number of small Midwestern towns did have protests in May and June, but they were the rare exceptions.

      I'm afraid I've got a bad case of the Democratic blue flu: Wear your fuckin' mask, Jethro, stay home, and stay the hell away from me. Far away, because you're trying to kill me. Bubba's supposed "constitutional right" to not wear his mask ends where my covered face begins.

      Sadly, Walmart and Home Depot have effectively killed off most of the Main Streets in small towns, which is why I won't even drive into their parking lots.

  8. Did you check the Jewel in Channahon for Fresca? I found some Mountain Dew Code Red today down by Plainfield.

  9. I had no particular expectations when Pritzger came on the scene, but have had nothing but admiration for the way he's risen to the challenge of governing in unfathomable circumstances. Speaking of someone I wish would go away, is there is no way I can cleanse my computer screen of Ron Paul?


    1. Ron Paul is still online? Seriously? I thought he was dead.
      But he's alive and kicking. He'll be 85 next month.
      Or did you mean Rand Paul, the son? He's a royal pain, too.

  10. Living in a small county in Florida where we were getting maybe two or three new cases a day, all the right wingers drank the Trump Kool-Aid, believing it couldn’t happen here.
    Well, now we’re getting over two hundred new cases a day and the county commission still would not pass a mandatory mask in public places law.
    They still are feeling the Kool-Aid citing freedom of choice. For some reason these people don’t understand it isn’t about wearing a mask. the choice is between spreading the virus or not.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.