Massive reform is needed in Illinois government

Serving Waukegan, Libertyville, Lake County, Gurnee & nearby areas of Illinois

This week we confirmed that our current governor is a criminal. He has engaged in a scheme of corruption and paybacks that, although not surprising, has been revealed on an unprecedented level. This makes four out of our last seven governors felons. At some point, it is time to stop blaming only the players and instead look to whether our entire system of government needs an overhaul.

Last month, voters in Illinois had an opportunity to vote for a constitutional convention that could have lead to creation of a new constitution. Since a large majority voted against the convention, one must assume that not a lot of thought was given to the issue by the electorate. The issue received very little attention as the members of the elite media and higher ranking political circles gave it very little publicity. This only makes sense as those people all have an interest in maintaining the status quo. The fact is that the Illinois Constitution created in the early 1970's has been a miserable failure.

Our system has allowed the thirst for campaign money to overwhelm all else. The dishonorable felons Ryan and Blagojevich committed their misdeeds in the quest for millions of dollars necessary to finance their campaigns for higher office under our current system. Would pay for play and the under the table sale of government services have been necessary if a candidate for office did not need such huge sums to be viable? If we had a constitution that banned all political contributions and the existence of professional lobbyists, corruption and greed would go away. Then and only then would our public servants truly exist to serve the public and not themselves.

What about term limits? How about limiting each person to holding one public office in their lifetime? Such limitations would give us leaders who are truly committed to good government, are at the point in their lives that they can sacrifice a few years for the good of the general public and who are not always looking ahead to the next election cycle.

Where does our constitution say that we can only have two viable political parties? Why are the leaders of those parties allowed to create rules to stifle competition, individual voices and ballot access? Let's create a constitution that bans political parties and allows our elected representatives to do what is best for their constituencies instead of always being beholden to their parties and their leadership.

Drastic problems call for drastic measures. Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. It's time for a massive reform of our state government. If anything good is to come out of the latest gubernatorial foibles, let's hope its a change in the system, not just a new set of players trying to figure out another way to personally profit from public service.