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This Is What a Vote for Obama Gets You

About Frank Salvato
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network and on The Captain's America Radio Show catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements.

Frank Salvato, Managing Editor

This Is What a Vote for Obama Gets You
October 31, 2008

I live in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. I live in the state that incubated the political career of Barack Obama and for that, as a resident of the State of Illinois and a conservative, I apologize. But this puts me in a unique position to afford you a glimpse of things to come for our nation should Barack Obama attain the Oval Office, and especially if Democrats maintain or increase their control in Congress. I present to the citizens of the United States the State of Illinois; a working model that illustrates the consequences of a government run by the Progressive-Left.

In 2003, five short years ago, the State of Illinois went blue; not light blue or royal blue but Daley Machine, Chicago Democrat, Progressive-Left cobalt blue. For decades our state existed in a symbiotic political state; the Daley Machine Chicago Democrats controlling Cook County and most of the lesser "urban areas” and the Illinois GOP holding sway in the collar counties and rural areas. But the failure (and I believe cowardice) of Republican Governor George Ryan to take one for the party by stepping down before he was convicted of corruption, ushered in a dark era of Progressive-Left, Democrat political control in Illinois. Democrats now hold all statewide offices and control both houses of the legislature. This being said, everything that has happened since 2003 is attributable to Democrat and Progressive-Left action and leadership.

The governor of the State of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, has an approval rating of 4 percent. Rasmussen Reports ranks Blagojevich as the country’s least popular governor. He is embroiled in the Tony Rezko/Stuart Levine corruption probe. Levine pled guilty and Rezko was convicted for scheming to obtain kickbacks from investment firms seeking business from two state boards. The governor’s wife, Patricia, was a business partner of Rezko. Of course, we know the name Tony Rezko from his shady relationship with Barack Obama.

Under Blagojevich, the state’s unfunded pension debt is the largest in the United States. In 2005 that amounted to $35 billion. But that didn’t stop Blagojevich from raiding the State University Pension System to the tune of $1.2 billion in order to "balance the budget,” something that still eludes the governor. Additionally, Blagojevich raised licensing fees on auto dealers almost 20-fold, required small businesses to print all of their own forms when filing state paperwork and proposed raising the fee for the Illinois Firearm Owners Identification Card from $50 to $500. He said the increased FOID fee, "...was necessary so people would think twice about wanting to own a gun.” Of course, it also put the ability to purchase a gun – to defend oneself with a legally purchased firearm – out of range for many middle and lower-middle income families, the Second Amendment be damned.

Because of the ever expanding entitlement mentality possessed by the Chicago City Council, Chicago now has a $420 million budget deficit for the year and the highest sales tax in the United States at 9 percent. The sales tax is causing Chicago residents to flee to the suburbs to buy big ticket items, thus decreasing the tax revenue earmarked for the city. The $420 million budget deficit – hot on the heels of a 2006 $217 million budget deficit – has caused Mayor Richard M. Daley to institute mandatory furlough days for non-critical, union, city employees, as well as numerous other gimmicks to generate revenue. Shedding surplus entitlement programs and/or trimming the budget of unnecessary programs or agencies would make too much sense.

The City of Chicago, being the caring, diverse, tolerant, progressive city that it is, has achieved a rare distinction among American cities: Chicago is the new murder capitol of the United States. Chicago has experienced 426 homicides this year to date. This compares to 417 in New York City and 302 in Los Angeles, California (both of those cities have Progressive-Left friendly mayors and city councils as well). In fact, Chicago is home to a number of fine, upstanding young Progressive citizens in the form of a plethora of street gangs. From the Latin Kings to the Gangster Disciples, the Insane Deuces to the Insane Gangster Satan Disciples, street gangs that deal drugs, enforce protection schemes and offer a culture of fast-living, easy money and early death reign in Chicago’s neighborhoods. Meanwhile, owning a handgun in Chicago is forbidden and Mayor Daley has shamefully used the murder of a young child to call for a complete ban on civilian owned firearms, usurping the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. Incidentally, the Chicago City Council has also passed a resolution that makes Chicago a "nuclear weapon free zone,” so we’ve got that going for us.

Chicago’s education system is also a jewel. Chicago’s Board of Education pats itself on the back for achieving a 51 percent graduation rate, while sending "graduates” to institutions of higher learning whose proficiency in reading, writing, math and science is arguably insufficient. In fact, an inordinate number of Chicago Public School graduates must take rudimentary classes in math and English in order to be fully accepted to College or University. Violence, including gang related shootings, is not unheard of in the schools of Chicago. In fact, there are special police that are assigned to schools throughout the city and metal detectors adorn many a school’s doors.

To be fair, this disturbing reality is more the result of union interference in matters of curriculum creation, teacher quality and classroom instruction and special interest group and civil rights organization influence and interference – along with parental apathy – than it is anything else. Chicago Public School Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan has made an admirable attempt to maximize the learning experience for Chicago’s students and teachers alike in the face of special interest tyranny, even if he has had to do so with one hand tied behind his back, the other under the critical and political eye of Mayor Daley.

And as Chicago, the city, becomes inebriated in decay, Mayor Daley and the Cook County Board are feverishly trying to salvage their entitlement-based regimes by capitalizing on the process of "community rehabilitation” – the exportation of residents who previously lived in "undesirable,” non-revenue generating "affordable housing” to the collar counties and suburbs. As old high-rise "affordable housing” units are destroyed to make way for the tax-revenue generating condominiums, townhouses and Olympic venues, the stench of Progressive-Left entitlement, along with the consequences its ideology brings, is infecting the rest of the state in a destructive way.

An aggressive "urbanization" of the once peaceful and amiable Chicago suburbs is causing a rise in problems traditionally found in urban areas: struggling schools, overcrowding, crime, traffic congestion, elevated costs of living, municipal budgetary woes, stagnant development, and ideological confrontation, complete with special interest influence from outside the community. Just as with the National Education Association’s encroachment upon local control of schools and their curriculums, the "urbanization” of the suburbs, collar counties and progressively (no pun intended) the rural areas of Illinois is facilitating a culture of urban morality; a society ruled by moral relativism, victimhood and the caretaker nanny state.

We here is Illinois understand the pitfalls of a one party, Progressive-Left, socialist system of government. In a state where the largest urban locale accepts as unavoidable the notion that dead men can vote, sometimes twice, the art of committing voter fraud and eliminating opposition candidates – sometimes of the same party – is handed down from generation to generation in a quest to maintain a stranglehold on power for "the machine.” From precinct captains, aldermen and community organizers to special interest activists, racially biased religious leaders and former Weather Underground terrorists, Illinois, because of the unyielding aggression of the Progressive-Left, has been transformed from a land where individual rights were guarded and constitutional liberty was valued at all costs – the Land of Lincoln – to the home of religious zealots like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Fr. Michael Pfleger and the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan and political opportunists like Jesse Jackson, Dick Durbin, Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama. Conservatives are left with no voice on the national stage and small quarter in the state where we live.

This is just a limited glimpse into what it is like to live in a cobalt blue state; where Progressive-Left Democrats wield the tenets of socialism – including wealth redistribution and the limitation of constitutional rights – with impunity. Should the voters of America foolishly opt to discard liberty, opportunity and self-reliance in a self-centered quest for unearned wealth and a fraudulently engineered societal equality, we will come to rue the rhetoric of "hope and change," just as we will all  soon be weeping for the freedoms we so imprudently cast aside.

Government must come before politics. The sanctity of the Constitution must trump political ideology. Country first.

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