Don't laugh: Todd Stroger for county board president

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

When I was a teen, one of the most popular books out was: Steal this Book! by Abbie Hoffman. The book was filled with ideas on how to survive and oppose tradition in this society and the government. One of the lasting effects it had on me was that it made me realize one can fight city hall and that the impossible is possible — to use a bunch of clichés.

That spirit of bucking the system came to mind when I read about Todd Stroger's pronouncement that he is seeking to retake the presidency of the Cook County Board. I didn't laugh or mock his decision. I am 100 percent in favor and I want to tell you why.

Todd Stroger was never a flamboyant politician. He didn't have the gift of gab like a Harold Washington. His personality wasn't over the top like certain others. He would never stand before a mic and sing a Negro Spiritual to lull us away from reality and our anger. Instead he was a pencil pusher and when he proposed that a 1 cent increase in the sales tax was needed to keep the already in-balance budget on an even continuum, most of us balked. 

We listened when a contender for his seat declared that she would roll back that penny and we gave her our vote. But like the political snake that she was, she soon turned to bite us in the butt by not only putting that penny tax back in effect; she went after more and more taxes. The biggest insult was the penny per ounce tax on sugary drinks. The snake professed that penny per ounce was to save little children from becoming morbidly obese, yet many of those kids because of their entitlement to LINK Card benefits, could still purchase the product and pay no taxes whatsoever. 

Many average taxpayers awoke from their lackadaisical stupor of being part of the silent sleeping giant. The ensuing protest was so loud and constant that the otherwise never-listen-to-their-constituents board members got scared and voted to end the unpopular tax. 

Many of us hailed that day as a pseudo re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party. We saw a certain newbie politician as a 21st-century version of Paul Revere. Then that person declared he wasn't interested in running for the seat after his mentor dangled the prospects of a congressional run before him (by the way — that same dangle was used to halt an up-and-coming young female usurp who had plotted a run for mayor. She suddenly dropped out of the race when she, too, was waylaid by the hand of the let's-not-upset-the-applecart grandfather of keeping the status quo).

I had posted on Facebook that I wanted to see the Toddler back. He is now all grown up and not taking any s*** anymore! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that many who had taken a stance against him in the past were biased and ill-informed. I had volunteered for Todd's campaign back then and had offered him several great commercial ideas, including one that would have had his young child sitting on his knee and looking up to ask, "Daddy, why is everyone picking on you?" Todd would look down at the child and quietly explain, "No good deed goes unpunished." Needless to say my two cents with that idea wasn't taken. 

However, we the voting populace can use our vote in 2018 to send a chilling message to those who will need our vote in the municipal elections that will occur in 2019. Electing Todd Stroger to the office for a second chance will let those who think that their re-election is a cakewalk know that we the voting public are sick of their s*** and we're not going to take it anymore!

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