Lake County Democratic Convention 2018
The convention began with a host of state committee people making their speeches. The first speaker I saw was STILL upset that the Chicago Tribune had not endorsed Hillary Clinton and instead had endorsed Gary Johnson in 2016. Just wow, the thought of entitlement out of these people would continue through out the night and I would never cease to be amazed at how disconnected every speaker seemed to be from the real issues. The speaker would continue to say that we HAD to elect Nancy Rotering as Attorney General, the only reason he gave was that she was a woman. I suspect that this is the reason why Aaron Goldstein, another Attorney General candidate walked out before having his chance to speak. So much for the unity they push so hard. He also asserted that "As long as they are winning" it was essentially all that mattered. And so began the "Blue no matter who" indoctrination. Next up was state central committee woman Kristina Zahorik. She exclaimed "I believe in the progressive values of the Democratic party." I would be sitting there the rest of the afternoon wondering what those values are, considering multiple speakers would go on to brag about how they deserve support for being conservative and therefore can win as a Democrat... Next was Patrick Watson, running for state central committee person in another district. He claimed in reference to R's and Trump "You might think the reason for running is to call people names...we are Democrats, we run for office because we want to make change." and would continue to say "When people tell you there is not a dime of difference between Democrats and Republicans, shake your head and tell them how they are wrong." To which I began shaking my head and thinking of all the reason HE was wrong. Both parties are funded by the same donors. Both parties did nothing when they had House, Senate, Presidency. Both support endless war. Both are incredibly pro Israel. Both are against Ranked Choice voting. Both supported Wall Street bailouts. Both support the surveillance state. Both support the FED. Both support subsidies for massive corporations. Need I go on? He concluded with "If you know someone who might vote wrong" which is all I heard over the voice in my head which started screaming "how can you tell people they are wrong for voting for a party that compromises away their ideals over and over... After these three speakers I think that at least five minutes (speakers being given about two minutes) had already been taken up with applause... Next up was Mike Frerichs, the Illinois state treasurer. I was sitting there waiting for him to make any comment about how the state finances could be managed better and cheaper with a public bank, but that never came. Instead he made a few platitudes about random issues unrelated to his job and said he had a commitment to "democratic values, big and small D," which seems strange because not one person that day would even mention Ranked Choice voting. Next up was a few candidates for Lake County Board. Jessica Valisic would speak briefly about how they needed 4 seats to take over the board, and how the board made an unfair tax system. No one throughout the night would ever clarify how it was unfair (aside from property taxes being "to high," which is subjective because schools need to be funded). I would have been easy to say "Illinois has the fifth most regressive tax system in the country," but that never happened. It was referenced that "We cant have single party control," but they explicitly say they want Democrats to have control... That is single party control... We slam China for having one party rule, but both our political parties are always striving for one party rule themselves... They go ahead and lump every Republican into one boat with "We cant let the party that nominates Trump be in charge," which is exactly the type of stereo typing they claim to be better than... Not one of the board candidates every referenced a single policy point they wanted to see, they only attacked Republicans. They wanted to see "fair and responsive leadership" which is essentially a nothing statement... Next up were the 14th district Congressional candidates. They basically all blended together in list of resumes and personal stories. Call me crazy, but I dont care about your family or your past. What are you going to commit to in the future? Which brings me to Laura Underwood's repeated story about Randy Holtgren voting against protections for pre-existing conditions, after saying he wouldn't. She figured out not to do this by not making any hard commitments to policy. One of the candidates even made a comment about Republicans not being able to get us out of the Great Recession, which we all know was caused by a Democratic presidents policies... And platitudes, platitudes, platitudes... What do Democrats stand for? You're not going to find out more than "My platform is 'Prosperity for the middle class'". Intense... The absolute idiocy of statements like "Everything our government does is against the will of the people," which studies have shown is true whether you vote Dem or Republican. Great point, maybe we should stop voting for either party! One even said "We need to talk about the issues" while not one candidate substantially addresses any issue. The worst part? When each candidate had to tout all the endorsements they received... Next up, Daniel Biss who would disappoint immensely as this was my first time seeing him speak in person. On why he entered into politics "I saw a president lying, I wanted to be a part of the movement against...That President was Bush, those problems were quaint." This comment lost him my vote, and there's honestly nothing he can do to get it back at this point. I dont even know where to start... Afghanistan, Iraq, torture... As Jimmy Dore likes to say, Trump excites their lizard brain. All logic goes out the window. Describing Bush's lies as "quaint", even though they plunged the country into over a decade of war killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, setting the middle east on fire, in the face of Trump is why I have such disgust for the Democratic party. My opinion would only be reinforced throughout the convention. Biss would exclaim "We need to keep the governors office Blue," which is further indoctrination of the "Blue no matter who" theory of why you HAVE to vote Democrat no matter what. I started to notice from the applause at every mention of "Democrat" that the Democratic party seems to trying to create the same type of religious movement as the Republicans have built for themselves. Biss made no mention of real policy, yet he got applause after applause for his platitudes. Next up was Attorney General candidates. Each would tell a personal story and announce a few platitudes, save Scott Drewery. Drewery spent a large amount of his time saying that Democrats needed to look inward at their own problems, especially with party leadership, instead of blaming and attacking the other side. He got no applause. I felt bad for him, since he made the best point of the night right there. Next up was JB Pritzker. Pritzker would prove that it takes a billionaire to talk about policy. Which reminded me of Trump. Trump talked much more about concrete policy (as dumb as some were) which is what people want. JB announced his commitment to universal pre-K, a progressive income tax, legalizing cannabis, a public option to medicare, and ending right to work. This was the most policy discussion to be had all night, and I came out of his speech finding it hard not justify voting for him. He's still a billionaire so no, I cannot in good conscious promote oligarchy; but he did genuinely make it tough decision. Next up was Brad Schneider who received a standing ovation for being one of the most moderate Democrats in Congress... He says in all seriousness "We say it every two years, this is the most important election of our lifetime." Which encourages people not to think beyond one election cycle, and further indoctrinates people into "Blue no matter who." He touted the Alabama senate election, which is a complete joke which just will not go away. He also exclaimed that "America is the greatest country on Earth." Which is only true if you don't care that statistics about happiness, social mobility, education, crime rates, and life expectancy tell a much different story. Have I mentioned indoctrination and the attempt to build a religious like following yet? Next up was actually my favorite speaker of the night, for reasons that might be surprising. It was a candidate for Lake County Sheriff, John Idleburg. He didn't say much and struggled through a short written speech. I admired how humble he was in giving his speech which clearly made him uncomfortable. Next up was Holly Kim who was given 30 seconds to speak, which made me feel bad at how the Democrats, through giving local candidates so little time to speak, seem to belittle lower offices. This is one of their core problems, and the reason Republicans are able to excel over them so often in local races. Robin Oconnor, running for Lake County Clerk came up for 30 seconds of platitudes. Followed by Adam Broad who made sure to mention Cross Check, unlike his primary opponent. Given his 30 seconds to speak, he did his best to reference the only reason Democrats lost the election in 2016 (albeit indirectly), but at least he knows the problem. Another two candidates would come up and give super short speeches about platitudes which I honestly zoned out for but their names were Susan Malter, and Eric Herman. Chris Kennedy was up next. He got a huge round of applause for saying his parents were Kennedy's. Apparently I was the only one there who didn't care... He referenced a few good statistics on education, and talked about property tax being an antiquated system that no longer works. He didn't provide any specific solutions to funding more education or how to begin an alternative to property taxes, so its hard to give him much credit as a governors candidate for simply pointing out problems but offering no solutions. Call me crazy for wanting more out of a candidate for governor. Maybe he should read some of Rich Whitney's writings on Medium. As a former governor candidate with the Green party, he managed to outline a solution to funding increased access to higher education, and filling the entire Illinois budget hole indefinitely all in a fifteen minute read. Next was another governor candidate, Robert Marshall. He comments about not being a millionaire/billionaire which is nice, but he goes on to say "I think a graduated income tax rate is a tax on the middle class." This is absolutely false, and its sad to see a governors candidate who doesn't realize how taxation works. I've already mentioned the regressive statistics for Illinois tax payers, but there is also the fact that Rich Whitney pointed out in his writing on Medium. The less money that a person makes in Illinois, the higher percent of their income they pay in state and local taxes. Although he cleared showed his lack of knowledge about how taxation works in Illinois, he did support legalizing cannabis and put out two ideas that I had previously not considered, though I would count myself as opposed to both. He said that we should legalize gambling in Chicago and split the state into three new states (which I see as splitting one state with huge problems into three states with just as big of problems). Melinda Bush would come up next and talk about how she used to be a Republican and is now a Democrat. To those paying attention to long term political trends, the Democrats have been becoming the home of many Republicans who are unable to stomach the far right policies taking over the party. Democrats are now moderates. This is why many Republicans who have come around to progressive policies don't join the Democrats, they become independents. A few more speakers would come up to follow in the footsteps of the platitudes that came before them. One that struck me was the young woman Viviana who came up to say that we just needed to vote for Democrats and things would get better, being the voice of "young people," who according to statistics are majority in favor of a third party and over half of whom do not identify with capitalism whatsoever. Another candidate was Sean Kastin who commented "If you deny facts and you are legislator, you kill people. They [Republicans] deny that Russia completely hacked our voting system..." Which is a bold faced lie. An ALLEGED Russian group phished their way into ONE state voter registration database which had no ability to affect tabulation systems at all, and according to all reports, they did not tamper with any data whatsoever. Good point... The very last speaker was Amanda Howland, another candidate, who made the first mention of a single payer system all night. While people cheered for many platitudes throughout the night, the room was silent about a push for single payer. Even well educated long time Republicans have come around to the idea, and a crowd of Democrats who want to campaign on healthcare can't muster a single cheer for the only mention of single payer? After all the talk of this "blue wave," its a wonder how these people can live in their world of Democratic party membership trending downward, yet still think its a thing that's going to happen. I apologize for any misspelled names, or errors in quoting. Please send me a message with any corrections for misspelled names, misattributed quotes, or misquotes if you believe I have made any. Overall the convention was a platitude fest, and I left still wondering "what the heck does this party actually want for the country?"