It was a simple request. Revolution and Beer and Q4 radio in Chicago simply wanted clarification from candidates in Illinois’ 5th congressional district about the upcoming vote on the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, or TPP. The Obama administration, in a political slight of hand decided against putting the issue to a vote in congress before the mid-term elections in November. Democrats have also avoided any public debate on the issue. That should give voters pause.
The delay, presumably, is to protect democrat candidates facing challenges in their home districts. But critical issues cannot be left to political expediency and competition between the two major political parties. There are just too many important issues facing the nation that cannot be left to the folly of party politics. But democrats and republicans alike seem to be hiding details of the TPP, which still remain secret, despite a number of leaks, from the American people.
One of those contentious races is in the 5th Illinois district. Entrenched democrat incumbent Mike Quigley is facing a renewed challenge from Nancy Wade, a Green Party candidate focusing on reforms. The 5th district is reflective of the political mood in the nation. While constituents run the gamut from Left to Right, the district regularly skews strongly to the Left and progressive side in elections, due to a strongly middle class sentiment imbued by a strong sense of patriotism. Republicans have not fared well in the district, which runs from the near north side of the city west to the suburbs, including Elmhurst and Oakbrook. In the last election the Republican Party only fielded a token candidate.
There are indications that the democrats hold on the district, which was once represented by Rahm Emanuel, may be slipping as well. The reason is a perception that the party has taken its constituents for granted. TPP is a critical case in point. Quigley, who helped stoke tensions in Ukraine over oil and gas concerns, appears to be dutifully supporting policies to the detriment of Ukraine, and a sizable Ukrainian constituency in the 5th, in a backdoor scheme by the administration to sneak passage of the XL Keystone pipeline. That vote has also been delayed until the November elections.
Simply, the questions reflected discussions we had on our radio show, with voters and with activists, such as, does Representative Quigley opposed to in favor of the TPP? What reasons would he have, given the amount of information concerning to his constituents on this issue? Given the amount of time it has been in the public discourse, what is his reason for not holding a position on TPP? In that case, when would he expect to communicate a position to his constituents? What are Rep. Quigley’s positions or position regarding fast track on the vote? Does he have a personal position on any specific aspect or issue regarding fast track or TPP? What are his thoughts, concerns with how TPP might affect positively or negatively other regional or global trade agreements? Are there concerns regarding the agreement for oversight, loss of jobs, economic impact, US sovereignty issues or trade imbalances that might be created? What steps, positions and actions is the Congressman prepared take to satisfy genuine concerns over those issues by his constituents?
It has been nearly 3 months and not a word from Quigley’s office. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that he follows the party line, rather than the interests and wishes of his constituents. That might explain why district offices are located in the city, well out of reach of all of his suburban constituents, and why the congressman is nearly impossible to reach in person. That seems to be going around in Washington these days, on both sides of the aisle, and it has cost some notable politician’s their jobs. That is called voting, by the way, a handy little tool for replacing politicians who show a greater interest in their party than in their constituents.
Voters, you have choices. No one and no party should take you for granted. That indicates arrogance, and sets them up to believe that they know better than you. They do not, and when they refuse to respond about serious and critical issues to our nation and our families, it is an indication they have exhausted their usefulness.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com