Maybe this was naive, but I thought I’d look for noteworthy items on both the corruption of our area (which I was guaranteed to find), as well as material on some truly honest politicians or leaders (totally not guaranteed)!
(Left: click on the clever illustration of Illinois hiding behind corruption for a recent article in Chicago Magazine on Illinois’ reputation.) As far as books at EPL, do-gooders are scarce. The title Grafters and Goo-goo’s caught my eye. A “Goo-goo” refers to a person who’s trying to reform government, or a “good government” type. Curiously, the Daleys seem to evoke awe and pride amidst an awareness of less than honest dealings. Titles like The Winning Ticket or Clout– Mayor Daley and His City, reflect a degree of respect.
While I didn’t find many books on good politicians, I did find an art installation downtown to remind people to “Go Do Good” in six story letters. There also exists a civic initiative called ” One Good Deed Chicago,” to encourage individuals to volunteer their talents to specific programs.
Two years ago Pay to Play was published in response to Governor Blagojevich’s legal woes which lead up to his impeachment, a first in Illinois history. The book received acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly. I discovered a few articles and photo essays in light of Blago’s recent sentencing. During Blagojevich’s trial Judge Zagel pointed out, “Whatever good things you did for people as governor, and you did do some, I am more concerned with the occasions when you wanted to use your powers to do things that were good only for yourself.”
My favorite Chicago quote on this is: We Don’t Want Nobody Nobody Sent, which sums it up tidily.
Do not despair! Good news: according to one magazine Illinois is not the most corrupt state, nor is Chicago the most corrupt city. What a relief! To end on an upbeat note, I would refer you to this link which recognizes contributions made by city employees. My own feeling is that hundreds of public workers try to do a good job every day and remain largely unnoticed, while our attention is absorbed by media-hyped scandals. Unfortunately, some of them, like a corrupt governor, are too big to ignore.