Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Speech to the Waukegan City Council on August 5th, 2019 (Third Draft)

     In the matter of the mayor appearing in ads for the Waukegan Music Festival, the legal issue at hand is this: Whether it constitutes taxpayer fraud (an illegal use of taxpayer funds) for elected officials to appear in advertisements for public events.
     Since this is a tradition started by a previous mayor, we shouldn't blame the current mayor for this; we should only find fault if he continues this practice. You see, it unfairly benefits incumbents – not just the mayor, but all elected officials who are up for re-election – whenever sitting public officials allow their names, faces, or titles to appear in ads. It's arguably a misappropriation and misdirection of public funds to promote an incumbent candidate's campaign.
     The only thing appropriate for the current mayor to do about this controversy, for now, is to recuse himself from it, due to the possible conflict of interest involved. But I'd like to ask the rest of the city council to do whatever is in its power to cease including the names and faces of all elected officials in advertisements for the Waukegan Music Festival - and all other public events - and also to refrain from including the title of any elected official in the name of any public event. It must be made perfectly clear to voters that this is the people's festival, not the mayor's, and that the mayor did not personally give this festival to the people of Waukegan.
     This is a delicate legal issue that should be handled by the Illinois Supreme Court, not argued out between the mayor and one of our aldermen. Even if it turns out that this practice is totally legal, the appearance of public officials in ads still unfairly helps incumbents. So, for the sake of fair elections, this practice should end immediately; before someone gets charged with taxpayer fraud, and before the courts have to get involved.

     The set of career opportunities which the city will stand to offer our young people, following the opening of this casino - is appallingly disappointing.
     The city council should not be encouraging kids who just graduated high school, to join the police – nor enlist at Great Lakes Naval Base - because they could get shot and die before the age of 20. That should be obvious, but judging from the last meeting, it's not obvious to the city council.
     To the parents present: If you value your children's career prospects, and their lives and health (which you should not be willing to trade for career prospects), then you should offer them something better than the three most prominent career choices in this area once the casino moves in, which will be:
     1) deal cards, or serve alcohol (a neurotoxin and central nervous system depressant), at a casino or bar to men who will flirt with them and leer at them;
   2) join the police or military, and get beaten up, pepper sprayed, and injected with strange chemicals as part of basic training; or
     3) work for a company that makes medicine while polluting the air we breathe.
     The purpose of the Waukegan City Council should not be to abide by a jobs policy that lets outside companies exploit Waukegan residents' need for jobs; nor to allow local government to passively enable local parents to expose their young adult children to these very real dangers in exchange for the prospect of money and jobs. It's not worth it.
     Even if your kid ends up in government (or tourism), he's just going to convince a bunch of criminal businesses to set up shop in this polluted county. And who will that help? Only the exploiters and polluters.

     I'd like to thank the council for celebrating that a federal court ruled against including a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. However, on July 29th, N.P.R. reported that the U.S. Census Bureau sent out census forms including the citizenship question to 240,000 households.
     The Trump Administration says this was only a test. However, they've been criticized for not doing this test long enough before the 2020 census, before it can be approved in its final form. There are five months left until 2020.
     It was completely predictable that the administration would keep pushing on this issue, because pushing and doubling-down is what this administration does. We shouldn't wait for the Supreme Court to stop them from doing something illegal; they will find ways to keep enforcing policies even when they know they are unconstitutional, improperly authorized, or could easily be enforced differently or not at all.
     We should endorse Jeffersonian nullification. Although using a "states' rights" solution could be politically unpopular (or even offensive), the same power could also be used to justify keeping Illinois a "sanctuary state".
     What are you going to do, Waukegan City Council, to stop peaceful undocumented immigrants from being deported? I'll tell you what you're going to do; you're going to urge the public to cooperate with law enforcement personnel at all times, because that's your job, and that's the law.
     So if you don't intend to do anything to stop the continued operation of an illegal federal department that didn't even exist just 17 years ago, then you cannot rightfully claim that what you do promote either freedom or public safety, which I believe are the tasks with which you're charged.
     The city council should demand that Governor Pritzker use his power to nullify unconstitutional federal law, to stop federal agents working for the unconstitutional Immigration and Customs Enforcement, from attempting to operate within the state legally (that is, without being arrested).
     Is it really worth the cost of freedom involved, if all of us be encouraged to cooperate with law enforcement - including in the enforcement of a census that includes a citizenship test (which could carry with it the risk of deporting beloved members of our community who committed no violent crime)?
     The only benefit we get from cooperating with the census, is a guarantee to federal funds. The number and location of people determines where district lines are drawn, and how much money they get. Our elected officials make money off of the fact that we live in their districts. That sounds like slavery to me.
     The census is a deportation and extortion racket, and I urge my fellow citizens not to participate in it.

     Finally, it is Monday night. I do not come to the Waukegan City Council to pray. Who even prays on a Monday night? Which religion is that?
      I thought we were supposed to have a separation of church and state. Instructing all people present to pray for the public officials before them, seems like enough of an endorsement of religion by a public institution to me, to potentially conflict with the freedoms listed in the First Amendment.
     We cannot truly consent to anything if we are under such intimidating circumstances, because we could easily become intimidated into refraining from expressing our disagreement. I will remind you that children have been physically assaulted in American schools for failing to salute the flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance; this shouldn't happen to children or adults.
     I would ask that the city council stop inviting everyone to stand and pray. This should upset not only those who don't believe in any gods; it should upset the Christians who just went to church yesterday that they have to stand and pray again today... for the government... while the government watches them. When they'd rather be praying inside of a church.
     This is not only a First Amendment violation, it is just plain rude, and creepy. It tests our abilities to do what is in our conscience, when everybody around us is doing something that we are not doing. If the city council will not discontinue this practice of public prayer, then it should pass an ordinance that if your friend jumps off a bridge, then you have to too.
     We should not be urged to pray for our elected officials; that is feudalism-era thinking. If anything, our elected officials should be urged to pray for us. After all, their job is salvation; their job is to save us.

     And we
need the city council's help, in order to save us.
     And it can do so by helping us to protect ourselves; from the casino, from companies that pollute our air, from companies whose H.R. departments want to exploit us, from the fascist administration that's currently running the federal government, and from government overreach in general.
     And also, from possible white supremacists in our police departments who may want to cooperate with I.C.E. and let them operate within the state, and from people in our government who excuse the continued operation of I.C.E. under completely baseless constitutional foundation.
     And I understand why you'd want to keep a casino away from schools, but not from churches. Where are Waukegan fathers going to go for repentance, after they've gambled away all of their family's rent and food money on card games and alcohol? Any casino approved, should be required to be near, even surrounded by churches.
     What on Earth do you think you're doing? Please do the exact opposite of what you're currently doing.

Read previous, more detailed drafts of this speech at:

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