Thursday, October 27, 2016

I cast votes for a whole slew of judges, but don’t ask me who any of them are!

I went to an early voting center on Wednesday and spent about 15 minutes going through the process of casting a ballot for the 2016 general election cycle.
Yes, I did!

The highlight may well have been getting my sticker that informs the public in so many languages that “I Voted!” Gee, aren’t I special?!?

FOR ANYONE WHO has read my commentary, it shouldn’t be any surprise that I couldn’t cast my vote against Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations quickly enough.

Aside from Miss Hillary, I also cast my votes for Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate (Tammy Duckworth), Cook County state’s attorney (Kim Foxx) and Illinois comptroller (Susana Mendoza). I also said "no" on road funds and on merging the recorder of deeds with the clerk's office, but "yes" for the earned sick time measure.

In the case of comptroller, I have noticed that many official endorsements are backing her opponent, Leslie Munger, on the grounds that Mendoza is tied in too tightly to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago; without noting that her opponent is nothing but a lackey for Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Independence is a dirty word, it would seem, when it comes to lower-level political posts.

BUT I HAVE to confess that when going through the process of filling out a ballot this time around, I was caught noticing the level of cluelessness I felt going through all those judges.
Would this "judge" have been better?

Some of whom I was asked to make a mark beside their name for retention, while others I was asked to vote “yes” or “no.” There were a couple of cases where I was asked to pick a name.

Yet as I write this, some five hours after I actually cast my ballot, I’m not sure I could name any of the people I voted for to serve as judges within Cook County. That truly is sad. It really is clueless on my part, and borders on political irresponsibility.

Yet I doubt I’m alone in this regard. I suspect that most of us don’t have a clue about judges, and have probably trained ourselves to not think twice about this. After all, how can you be bothered about screwing something up if you don’t give it any thought at all?
MENDOZA: She got my vote!

BEING A REPORTER-type person, I did recognize a few names of judges – either because I may have once covered some type of story that occurred in their courtroom, or perhaps because some of these names have popped up on enough ballots throughout the years that they’re somehow stuck in my brain.

Similar to how I can remember ballplayers of the early 1970s when I was a kid – Johnny Jeter is just one of many names that takes up valuable brain space that probably could be better devoted to something more useful in life.

But for the most part, I don’t know the legal qualifications of the people whom I voted for – which is exactly what (I suspect) the legal types like about it. Why get ourselves all worked up worrying about qualifications.

So long as they look authoritative while wearing a black robe, that’s all that matters to some people. Even if we wind up with incidents such as the one in at the sixth district circuit courthouse in suburban Markham where a judge let someone else don her robe and get a feel for the job -- even though the person wasn't a judge at all!

OF COURSE, I suppose I could have followed some of those ridiculous rules that political people concoct; in particular that one about liking the sound of Irish ethnicity names.
I know more about .244 hitter than judges

If anything, that so-called rule makes me inclined to vote against Irish names when I cast my ballot, figuring they don’t need my vote to win. Heck, there have been some times when I was sarcastically inclined to automatically vote for every Spanish ethnic name on the ballot as a way of mocking the so-called rule.

Not that such acts are any more responsible. Because in the end, the rule of thumb that ought to apply is, “You get what you vote for.”

And if you’re the type who didn’t put any thought into the ballot aside from wanting to back Donald Trump (or dump all over him), then you deserve whatever form of political abuse your mind concocts from the actions of government in coming years.


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