If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Bloomington Pantagraph. August 7, 2021.
Editorial: Kinzinger steps up, does right thing on national stage
John F. Kennedy in his book “Profiles in Courage” wrote about eight senators who bucked public opinion or their own political party to do the right thing.
Take John Quincy Adams, who tussled with his Massachusetts Federalist party. Or Lucius Lamar, a Reconstruction-era Mississippian who called for cooperation between the North and South. Or Nebraskan George Norris and his bold effort to rein in the power of the speaker of the House, a fellow Republican.
Sixty-five years after that was published, tenacity and courage are still in short sup- ply among our elected officials.
Which makes the actions of Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R- Channahon, all the more important.
Kinzinger, a product of Normal Community West High School and a former McLean County Board member, has gained national prominence for his role on the committee to investigate the heinous Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The accounts of that day in testimony are terrifying and gripping — of Capitol police officers being assaulted by a savage crowd armed with guns, Tasers and bear spray. Mayhem reigned. The televised images are still hard to watch.
We continue to be alarmed by the downplaying of what happened, that somehow an attempt to block the lawful transfer of power to President Joe Biden is not a big deal. Equally alarming is that the creation of a bipartisan panel to investigate won only 35 GOP votes in the House and was blocked by Republicans in the Senate.
Party leaders ended up picking a slate of GOP members (including U.S. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville) to serve on the panel, but then two Trump loyalists were rejected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, setting up a political firestorm.
Republicans decided to boycott the whole thing because it wasn’t bipartisan enough, another example of diverting attention away from the actions inspired by former President Donald Trump.
Pelosi ended up going with Kinzinger.
Was that a politically motivated choice?
After all, he is also one of 10 House GOP members to back impeachment and was a vocal criticizer of Trump. Critics say he’s been on too many national television shows or is positioning himself for another office. (Like Davis, he is mentioned as a possible Illinois gubernatorial candidate.)
A group called the House Freedom Caucus wants to kick Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, out of the party because they agreed to join the Jan. 6 committee. Kinzinger has said he’s even at odds with members of his own family and those who backed his first run for Congress in 2009.
But he has pressed on.
“You guys all talk about the effects you have to deal with, and you talk about the impact of that day,” Kinzinger told officers during the testimony. “But you guys won. You guys held.”
He delivered on his commitment and protected our Constitution with a bipartisan spirit that’s too often missing among elected officials.
Kinzinger said he’s serving on the panel because “the American people deserve transparency and truth on how and why thousands showed up to attack our democracy.”
The simple truth is, Kinzinger only did what was right. He crossed ideological and party lines in search of the truth.
How that will play out among those who vote for Kinzinger is unclear. Having courage sometimes has that effect.
Consider that the eight sen- ators in “Profiles in Courage” all paid a steep political price. Their political careers were altered, some irreparably.
As Kennedy wrote, too: “In a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, ‘holds office’; every one of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of govern- ment we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsi- bilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.”
Chicago Tribune. August 4, 2021.
Editorial: Businesses in Chicago are insisting on vaccinated customers. Good. No counterproductive government mandate needed.
New York’s shrill Mayor Bill de Blasio held a news confer- ence Tuesday to say he is mandating that New Yorkers get vaccinated. In so doing, he turned untrained gym work- ers and restaurant employees into adjunct law enforcement officers, charged with check- ing the vaccination status of every customer walking through their doors. Presumably on pain of prosecution of the people on both sides of that transaction.
The de Blasio crew tried to spin the new mandate as positively as possible. Even though it actually prohibits the unvaccinated citizenry from doing things, de Blasio’s people co-opted the language of opportunity and called their plan the “Key to NYC.”
“When you hear those words,” he said at an Orwellian-like news confer- ence, “I want you to imagine the notion that, because someone’s vaccinated, they can do all the amazing things that are available in this city.”
The tone was paternalistic and condescending — hardly unusual for de Blasio — and risked being counterproduc- tive.
The city of Chicago should resist any and all temptation to do the same.
Let’s be clear — in case you’ve missed our previous protestations — that we believe all unvaccinated Illinoisans should overcome any reluctance and roll up expeditiously for their free shots. Ideally, immediately upon finishing this editorial.
The highly transmissible delta variant presents a clear and present danger to the unvaccinated of all ages. The scale of this problem represents relatively new information and it requires those of us who’ve chosen not to get vaccinated (no shame) now to re-evaluate the data, pronto, lest the only subsequent opportu- nity to do so comes too late, when you’re flat on your back in the emergency department.
Sure, vaccinations do not offer perfect protection, nor are they free of side-effects for every last human. It also remains unclear how long they will protect us without booster shots. So stipulated. Few things in life are perfect.
None of these arguments undermine the preponderance of evidence that the unvacci- nated represent a major impediment to Illinois and Chicago moving forward.
But the counterproductive polarization within the American response to COVID- 19 is a consequence not just of people being dug into outdat- ed positions and our collective inability to make effective cost-benefit analyses. It represents a deficit of relative think- ing and our hapless failure to talk to each other without pernicious judgment.
Of course a good number of Americans are resistant to government officials telling them that they must allow a needle to enter their arm, like it or not! That’s not an inherently irrational response. History teaches us such skepticism is warranted. “Follow the science” is not the binary admonition it often is assumed to be. Scientists say different things from each other as data gets tried and tested and their emphases and conclusions vary. As they should. It’s science for adults.
Smart people listen to all sides, including skeptics, before they make the best decision for themselves and they allow their decisions to evolve with the facts. And, let’s be frank, you don’t have to be reluctant to get vaccinated to think that the messaging from the federal government throughout this crisis has been disappointingly partisan, feverish and unclear.
That’s why the situation in Chicago is the best solution to this dilemma: private busi- nesses are leading the way.
Numerous employers now are insisting that their employees get vaccinated before they return to the office. If you don’t want to comply, you are free to work elsewhere. More and more restaurants and nightclubs are checking vaccination cards at the door and politely suggesting that those without them get their hamburgers elsewhere (they don’t have to call the cops). These eateries, posh and humble, are well within their rights to protect their staff members, and also their other, wiser customers. And if you don’t agree, you can take your business down the street. As is your inalienable right.
Where children and public education are concerned, of course, the ethics get trickier. So it makes good sense for local school boards to insist on vaccinated staffers and vaccinated eligible teen students, given that kids have to show up for an education with no obvious right of refusal. We’ve long recognized the right of schools to insist on a raft of childhood vaccinations. And if a nonprofit institution, such as a college, decides that it wants to require vaccinations from its faculty and students, we think it should have that right. Nobody is forcing anyone to take classes there.
But once you get politicians insisting everyone takes a vaccine that the government itself has yet to fully approve, that’s sure to cause the kind of counter-reaction that has led to broad swaths of the independent-minded populace of this country going without vaccinations, to the detriment of us all.
So Chicago officials should stick to ensuring easy, equitable access to the vaccine and on amping up their non- judgmental forms of persuasion. They key message? Respond to the new reality. Get the shot.
They might also copy something de Blasio and the public health crew in Albany have done well, which is to make it easy to prove your status with a secure, good-to-go app, rather that suffering the fate of the many at Lollapalooza who reportedly dropped their easily forged vaccination cards on the ground, where they got ripped in the mud.
An apt metaphor.
People are more likely to listen to those who they think understand where they are coming from. Period.
And if your boss or your favorite bar reluctantly denies you entry? All the more reason to chill out and roll up your sleeves.