Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I don’t talk much about Illinois state elections because, as an expat, I can’t vote in them. However, Illinois is my homeland—I was born there, grew up there, attended primary school through university and began my working life in Illinois. I came out there. I first fell in—and out of—love there. My parents are buried there, and other family and friends still live there. My connection to that state is deep and unbreakable.
Illinois is a state ranging from rural to urban, with every demographic and all social strata represented. There have been times I’ve disagreed with my fellow Illinoisans, but on the whole I’ve found them to be kind, decent and fair-minded people.
Even though I no longer have a say through the ballot box, I obviously care very much about my home state—and also what happens there. This year, voters in my home state have the clearest, most stark choice for governor that I have ever seen: Republican Bill Brady must be stopped.
Brady is an extremist, out of step with mainstream Illinoisans. The video above (from the group StopBillBrady) outlines just a few of the ways in which Brady is anti-woman. All the issues highlighted make his record detestable, but even more so because they are so far outside the mainstream (even on abortion, where majorities support it in at least some circumstances, like rape and incest).
I also oppose him because he wants an amendment to the Illinois Constitution (and, one would assume, to the US Constitution) to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Some Illinoisans would agree with him on that, but not on outlawing any and all recognition of same-sex relationships, which he probably also supports. I say that because he also voted against a simple law banning discrimination against gay and lesbian people in housing and employment. His antipathy toward gay and lesbian Illinoisans is both obvious and despicable.
Brady is an extremist in every way: He’s a “birther” (doesn’t believe President Obama was born in America). He believes that religious creationism should be taught in schools. He opposed laws requiring safe storage of firearms, he opposed licensing gun dealers and he opposed legislation to restrict guns near schools. He also opposed strengthening hate crime laws and opposed a bill that would prohibit any government unit from discriminating against a person based on his or her race, colour or national origin—that vote was in 2003, not some long ago time he wants to forget!
The only candidate who can beat Brady is Governor Pat Quinn. I understand that he’s not popular; he wouldn’t be my first choice, either. However, he has two overriding qualities that make him the only rational choice: He’s not Bill Brady, and he's the only candidate who can beat Brady.
Brady is an extremist even among extremists, and he is far too extreme for Illinois. I hope my home state rejects extremism by rejecting Brady. Bill Brady and extremism must be stopped.