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:

Questions About Race Relations and Racial Politics in America (and a Few Answers)

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Definitions of Racism, Prejudice, Discrimination, Stereotypes (etc.)
III. Hispanic-American Issues, Immigration, and "Where Are You From?"
IV. Political Correctness (incl. P.C. Language on College Campuses)
V. Racial Politics: Trump vs. the Democratic Party
VI. Reparations, Affirmative Action, and "Reverse Discrimination"
VII. Native American Issues
VIII. Busing and Black Incarceration

I. Introduction

     The following 28 sets of questions were written as part of the planning stages of my appearance on  an episode of a public access television show based in Highland Park, Illinois. The topics of that episode are race in America and political correctness.
     I believe that these questions are the most important and relevant questions that need to be asked, in order to produce a thorough discussion of race relations.

     I did not answer all of the questions that follow (I refrained from answering questions #7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14-19, 22-26, and 28). However, my readers should be able to discern my opinion from the way I worded most of those questions.
     In case it's necessary to explain my positions any further, I support political correctness and safe spaces, but only when they don't interfere with the right to free expression and the right to debate what the truth is. And I do believe that Donald Trump is a white supremacist and a racist, and I have criticized (and will continue to criticize) the Trump Administration's immigration policies as reminiscent of the Nazi regime that governed Germany during World War II and the Holocaust.

     Along with many of these sets of questions, I have included links to news articles, so that the reader can learn more about the original context of the news about American racial politics to which I am referring.

II. Definitions of Racism, Prejudice, Discrimination, Stereotypes (etc.)

     1. What is the definition of “racism”? What is the definition of “racial supremacy”?

     Answer: Racism is “Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race, based on the belief that one's own race is superior.” Additionally, the term “racism” is often used as shorthand (or a synonym) for “racial supremacy” and “the belief in, or promotion of, racial stereotypes”.
     Racial supremacy, in particular, is “the racist belief that one's race is superior to others, and that therefore that race should dominate, subjugate, or control other races, or the belief that the superior race is entitled to do so.”

     2. Is the term “racist” being overused? Does calling everything “racist” diminish the seriousness of racial hatred? Why has this term become so popular recently?

     Answer: Because many people lump racial prejudice, racial supremacy / racial superiority, racial stereotyping, and racial discrimination in with racism, and refer to all of those things (as well as making insensitive jokes about race) as “racist” actions.
     The term “racism” has thus become a convenient descriptor for any and all actions which could be described as racially insensitive. The popularity of the word's use in recent years, could owe in part to the fact that the word now refers to a wider and less specific set of arguably racist actions and statements than it used to.
     On the other hand, those who feel that it is appropriate to call a lot of people and things “racist”, do so because they believe that racism is now practiced mostly covertly, as opposed to overtly. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-60s featured obvious, public, out-in-the-open discrimination against, and segregation of, African-Americans; not just in private and on business properties, but by the government itself. Some of those who consider racism a serious problem, believe that racism has become harder to detect, and some even believe that we are being subconsciously programmed to support white supremacy, by sectors of our society such as government and advertising.

     3. What is the definition of “racial prejudices”?

     Answer: “Preconceived opinions about race, which are not based on reason or actual experience.”

     4. What is the definition of “racial discrimination”?

     Answer: “Preferential treatment on the basis of race.”

     5. What is the definition of a “racial stereotype”?

     Answer: “A widely held, but fixed and oversimplified, image or idea, of a particular race of people.”

     6. What is the difference between a positive stereotype and a negative stereotype?

     Answer: A negative stereotype is deliberately intended to be hurtful, while a positive stereotype is usually intended as a joke and is usually not intended to offend anyone.
     However, positive stereotypes can still be hurtful, such as the positive stereotypes that “Jewish people are good with money” and “all Asians are good at math”. These ideas are stereotypes about positive traits, but they are still generalizations, so they are still harmful because they contribute to the belief that all members of a certain group are the same.

III. Hispanic-American Issues, Immigration, and "Where Are You From?"

     7. Is it insensitive to refer to Hispanics as “Mexicans”, or as “Spanish people”? Should we be careful about using the term “Mexican” and “Spanish” to describe Latino, Hispanic, or Chicano people who might not even be from Mexico or Spain to begin with?

     8. Former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was recently criticized for asking reporter Andrew Feinberg “What's your ethnicity?” in response to his asking her to explain Trump's tweet telling four congresswomen to “go back” to their districts. The reporter replied that he was American, but Conway kept asking, because she wanted to know where the reporter's parents were from.
     Was it racially insensitive of Donald Trump to suggest that his critics in Congress “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe”, when three out of the four people he was criticizing were born in the United States, rather than abroad?
     Is it racially insensitive to suggest that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is “from Puerto Rico” just because her parents are Puerto Rican; and that Rashida Tlaib is “from Palestine” just because her parents are Palestinian? Wouldn't that imply that Ayanna Pressly is every bit as much “from Africa” as Ilhan Omar is? What about a Jewish-American person who was born in America, but has never been to Israel? Where is that person “from”, if not America or Israel?
     Is it racially insensitive to ask someone where their family is from; to keep asking where someone is “from” until they tell you about an ancestor that wasn't born in America? Is it reasonable for someone to be upset or offended by being asked such a question?

Kellyanne Conway asks reporter “What is your ethnicity?”:

IV. Political Correctness (incl. P.C. Language on College Campuses)

      9. What is the definition of “politically correct”?

     Answer: “Conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities, should be eliminated.”

     10. Some Americans feel that the culture of political correctness has gone too far. Critics of “P.C. language” (politically correct language) say that it causes people to be too cautious about the words they use. They say that worrying about avoiding offending people could make us afraid to speak the truth, and might even cause a “free speech chilling effect”.
     Do you believe that using “politically correct language” is a good way to help promote respectful dialogue about race in America? Or do you believe that P.C. language has gone too far? (And if you think it has gone too far, what are some examples of it going too far, that you object to?)

     11. The conversation about political correctness extends to not only race and ethnicity and nationality, but also to religion, biological sex, and gender identity. Thus, the treatment of transgender individuals, as well as of non-whites, has become an important and controversial issue on college campuses.
     Several years ago, in Toronto, Canada, psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson became notorious for refusing to refer to his students by their preferred pronoun, saying “I am not going to be a mouthpiece for language that I detest.” This came at a time when Canada was considering Bill C-16, a proposed bill by the Canadian parliament that would have prohibited gender discrimination on campuses, but also would have required people to use the gender pronouns which others prefer.
     Given that anti-discrimination could potentially threaten the freedom of speech in Canada – and maybe even result in “compelled speech” or “government mandated speech” - is there a realistic chance that the same kinds of laws limiting the freedom of speech on campus, could be implemented at universities here in America?


Dr. Jordan Peterson on why he won't use people's preferred pronouns:

12. What are “safe spaces”?

     Answer: “Places, including some college campuses, which are intended to be free from bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening or upsetting actions, ideas, or conversations.”
     Practices common in “safe spaces” are “trigger warnings” and protections from “micro-aggressions”. Trigger warnings are warnings that information may upset listeners, while “micro-aggressions” are uses of offensive, “aggressive” language, which cause others to feel attacked.

     13. In 2016, the University of Chicago received praise for defending academic freedom and freedom of speech, for announcing that it would not be creating “safe spaces” for students. The university announced that it would not disinvite speakers, invited to speak on controversial topics, if students protested and demanded disinvitation.
     As a reminder, riots broke out in Berkeley in 2017, after the University of California at Berkeley decided not to disinvite controversial “alt-right” speakers, including Milo Yiannopoulos and Lauren Southern.
     Do you believe that the need for political correctness – and so-called “safe spaces” on campus - help college students learn about race in America, history, etc.? Or are you worried that these things shelter students from reality, and from an educational experience that's meant to expose them to ideas that conflict with and challenge their own ideas? What kinds of protections do students need on campus, if any?


Riots occur after University of California Berkeley cancels Milo Yiannopoulos event:

V. Racial Politics: Trump vs. the Democratic Party

     14. Do you believe that President Trump a racist? Why or why not?
Why do people think he's racist? What has he said, or done, that indicates that he is a white supremacist?

     15. Is the Trump Administration's immigration policy racist? Is it intrinsically racist to exclude immigrants on the basis of national origin, or is just an issue of the president stressing the need to enforce existing law?

     16. Many defenders of the president have pointed out that some immigration policies - such as separation of children from families, and knocking-over water left for migrants – were started under the Obama Administration. The Trump Administration says it's just enforcing existing laws.
     The Obama Administration has been criticized for setting deportation records. But Obama and Hillary Clinton also supported D.A.C.A. (Deferred Action for Child Arrivals).
     Did the Obama Administration help immigrants? Was Obama's immigration policy good for America? Should Hillary Clinton have done something more to help immigrants, besides just support D.A.C.A., if she expected to prove herself more pro-immigrant than Trump, and win the presidency?


     17. “The Squad” - the quartet of four progressive Democratic legislators whom are all women of color – have become well-known for their outspoken criticism of Donald Trump, and his administration's policy towards immigration, the B.D.S. movement, and other issues. They have even called for his impeachment.
     Trump and the Squad have called each other “racist” back and forth several times, over several issues, especially the issue of whether the treatment of undocumented immigrants at the border is comparable to the conditions seen in Nazi concentration camps. The Squad accuses Trump of racial antipathy against people of Hispanic or African origin; while Trump accuses the Squad of racism for supposedly always making his statements about race, and for their arguably anti-Semitic criticism of the State of Israel.
     Whose statements are “less politically correct”; the president's, or the Squad's? Is it always racially insensitive to compare the treatment of undocumented immigrants to the treatment of victims of the Holocaust, or is it possible to warn people against repeating another potential Holocaust-like situation without diminishing the seriousness of that crime against humanity?
     What could be done to improve U.S.-Jewish and U.S.-Islamic relations, without offending the political, religious, and racial sensibilities of any of those groups?

     18. Statistics show that black home ownership rates did not go up or down from the beginning to the end of the Obama Administration. Unemployment among blacks is down, but that could be due to decreased enrollment in unemployment benefits, and the way unemployment is measured.
     That, and the fact that black homeownership rates are not currently at an all-time high (as Trump has claimed) point to the possibility that the Trump Administration is being “irrationally exuberant” about how much it has improved the financial situation of black Americans. In fact, black homeownership is now at an all-time low.
     Did Obama help African-Americans? Why did the majority of blacks vote for Trump instead of Hillary in 2016? Have African-Americans been doing better economically and financially under Trump than under Obama, or is it still too early to tell?


Black homeownership at 50-year low:

VI. Reparations, Affirmative Action, and "Reverse Discrimination"

     19. Some Americans still feel that the history of slavery, segregation, discrimination, and poverty that have plagued African-Americans, still has too much of an effect on their ability to get ahead in the economy. Many Americans who feel this way, believe that reparations for slavery are an appropriate and necessary response to the financial struggles of black descendants of formerly enslaved people.
     Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson is running on a platform that includes reparations, with an amount of money to be negotiated at a later date ($200-$500 billion), be disbursed over a period of 20 years, for the purposes of reconciliation with the black community, and, as she says, as “payment for the debt that is owed”. The money would be paid to a reparations commission, made up of a panel of black leaders.
     Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has proposed a somewhat similar plan. Yang's “Freedom Dividend” is a universal basic income plan, which will be payable to all Americans who want to participate in it, not just African-Americans. However, Yang says that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. supported the basic income idea, and the Freedom Dividend could become sort of a surrogate for reparations if Yang became president.
     Will reparations help African-Americans recover from slavery, or help them get ahead financially? Or are reparations hurtful to African-Americans' independence and self-esteem because they assume that all black people need this assistance?
     What are some potential obstacles to getting a reparations bill passed in Congress?


Andrew Yang supports basic income, and so did MLK:

     20. In 2016, white Texas student Abigail Fisher lost the second of her two U.S. Supreme Court lawsuits (after winning the first) against the University of Texas at Austin, which she alleged did not admit her because of its affirmative action program and its preference for non-white students.
     Affirmative action is a college admission policy which intends to “tip the playing field in the other direction” in order to account for the advantages whites have had in getting opportunities to go to college. Some consider college affirmative action policies “reverse discrimination” or “reverse racism”. Perhaps the same could be said about reparations.
What is the definition of “reverse discrimination”?

     Answer: “”The practice or policy of favoring individuals belonging to groups known to have been discriminated against previously.”
     To put it another way, “reverse discrimination” is discrimination against members of a social group or class which believes itself to be superior, practiced by members of the supposedly inferior class which usually finds itself discriminated against.
In modern America, the term “reverse racism” usually refers to alleged discrimination against whites by non-whites.


Abigail Fisher's affirmative action lawsuit:

     21. What are some other practices – aside from reparations and affirmative action - that could be described as “reverse discrimination” or “reverse racism”?

     Answer: One example is the assumption that all white people are racists or white supremacists. Another example is the increasingly popular practice in the Democratic Party of openly and intentionally giving more speaking time to women and non-whites, than to white men.

     22. Are reparations and affirmative action necessary to make up for America's history of unequal treatment of non-whites? Or do these policies themselves perpetuate racism, just in the opposite direction (that is, against whites)?

VII. Native American Issues

     23. In May, Democrats including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren pulled a bill that would have affirmed the federal reservation designation of tribal lands in Massachusetts, after Trump called the bill “unfair”. Proponents of the bill conjectured that Trump's casino deals in the state, may present a conflict of interest, which could explain Trump's opposition to designating the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe reservation as trust land.
     What do you think would help Native Americans more; giving them more (or possibly better) land, or giving them casinos? Or will it be necessary to enact some sort of reparations -type bill, to improve relations between the U.S. federal Government and the Indian tribes?


Trump calls Warren bill on Indian lands “unfair”, Trump's casino deal may present conflict of interest:

     24. In October 2018, Elizabeth Warren's DNA results were released, revealing that her ethnic background is between 0.09% and 1.5% Native American. Warren has since apologized to the Cherokee Nation for trying to use the DNA test to justify her claim that she has Native American heritage.
     However, prior to that apology, Warren's critics accused her of exaggerating the extent of her Native American heritage, in order to get special treatment such as a minority college scholarship and political clout.
     Are Warren's critics right? Does Warren have a right to recognize her Native American heritage (as little as it is), or is it racially and politically insensitive of her to move forward with her campaign, given that she has offended the very community she claims to come from?


VIII. Busing and Black Incarceration

     25. In July, during the first round of debates for the Democratic nomination for president, California Senator Kamala Harris confronted Joe Biden over his opposition to busing of black and white students to public schools. Biden was against school busing in the early 1970s, at a time when President Richard Nixon was urging the desegregation of public schools “with all deliberate speed”.
     Biden has also been criticized for having authored the Clinton omnibus crime bill (The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994), which put one or two million non-violent offenders in jail, most of them black and brown.
     Do these positions on busing and crime control, suggest that Joe Biden is a racist? Can Biden win the presidency, or even the Democratic nomination, if he continues to be dogged by the same sorts of rumors of racism which have followed President Trump?


Kamala Harris criticizes Joe Biden over 1970s busing position:

     26. Members of the so-called “Alt-Right” - such as Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos - have gained notoriety for using statistics to dispute claims that blacks are subject to harsh arrests and sentences more often than whites are.
     What are the statistics anyway? Do African-Americans really serve longer sentences than whites, and are they more likely to be killed by police during arrests than white people are? How do these facts compare with statistics about the rates at which blacks commit violent crimes?
     Is it “racist” to point out that violent crimes are disproportionately committed by African-Americans? Or is it more “racist” to fail to consider that the history of racial discrimination and poverty, may have contributed to the current high black crime rates which we are seeing today?

Data showing that law enforcement is tougher on blacks:

     27. Many people wishing to be “politically correct” refer to the imprisonment of black people as “modern-day slavery” and “The new Jim Crow”? Why is that? Why do some people think that slavery never ended, and was never abolished?

     Answer: Considering the high number of African-Americans whom are incarcerated – many of them unable to vote – it's arguable that prisons are continuing the legacy of slavery, albeit under a different guise.
     The facts that most prisoners are forced to work, and unable to vote, mean that they have no freedom but must work (like slaves), while they are counted under the census but their voting power is given to legislators whom they cannot choose (also like slaves).
     The 13th Amendment prohibited slavery, but permitted “involuntary servitude” as a punishment for committing a crime. But if we consider that many people are in prison for victimless crimes, locking them up – and taking away their freedoms, their vote, and their rights to own property - could hardly be considered a just punishment.


Black incarceration and prison labor are “modern-day slavery”:

     28. What do you think are the most important things that the American people, and/or the U.S. Government, can do, to help promote reconciliation and justice, in a way that heals racial, ethnic, and religious antipathies and divisions?

Written on July 30th and 31st, 2019
Published on July 31st, 2019

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

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

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The Waukegan Music Festival Controversy
3. Young Waukegan Residents Urged to Join Police Force
4. Council Tolerates Poor Set of Local Career Opportunities
5. Why the Council Urges Cooperation with the Census
6. Census Carries Deportation Danger
7. Local and State Government Must Avoid Betraying the People
8. Religion in the Public Square
9. Conclusion


1. Introduction
     My name is Joe Kopsick, I'm originally from Lake Bluff, and moved to Waukegan a year and a half ago.

     When I last spoke here, on July 15th, I talked about garage sales, the census, immigration, and permits. I meant to explain my criticism of the casino approval, but I didn't have time then, so I'll address it today. But not before sharing my thoughts about the Waukegan Music Festival.

2. The Waukegan Music Festival Controversy

     At that last city council meeting, a citizen shared her concern that it might be a case of illegal taxpayer fraud, that the mayor appears in advertisements for the Waukegan Music Festival. I feel that that citizen's concerns were not adequately explained.
     Please imagine, for a moment, that someone else is the mayor of Waukegan. We don't know the person's name. But they're facing re-election, like all mayors do. If the mayor's name, likeness, and/or title, appear in advertisements for public events, then it's reasonable to expect that that incumbent mayor would get an edge in the election, because of that ad, right?
     We should not blame the current mayor personally for the fact that he has appeared in advertisements for public events, because – as he explained - this is a tradition which was started by an earlier mayor. But we can blame the mayor who started it (if indeed this is an improper and illegal use of taxpayer funds). We can't blame Mayor Cunningham for starting this tradition, but we can blame him if he doesn't end it.
     Elected officials – or at least those whom are incumbents and are actively running - gain an unfair advantage from being allowed to appear in ads for public events. The issue of whether this constitutes taxpayer fraud, should best be decided by either the Illinois Supreme Court, or by the voters gathered here in this room; not through a shouting match between the mayor and an alderman.
     The city council allowed the mayor to be his own judge, and acquit himself, without any charges being filed. The mayor should have done the legally appropriate thing, and recused himself from this controversy, seeing as he is a party to it. Either the state Supreme Court should be consulted on the legality of this matter; or if there is no question about the illegality of these ads, then charges should be filed against the mayor (and/or the city department that plans public events).
     The appearance of incumbent candidates in advertisements for public events, unfairly hurts the election chances of new candidates who wish to unseat incumbents, whom should have the same chance as the current mayor to get elected. Finally, the name of the festival should not contain the name, nor title, of any public official, for all the reasons I have explained above.

3. Young Waukegan Residents Urged to Join Police Force

     I have to express my concern about the city council congratulating high school students, who have their whole lives ahead of them, to sign up to be police officers. Eighteen-year-olds may be adults, but they are not old enough to decide whether to sign up to work as police officers and soldiers.
     What would you sacrifice to make sure that your child has a good career? Would you sacrifice their very health and safety? Police and military recruits are often subjected to being pepper sprayed and tased. Military recruits are injected with strange mixes of chemicals that they're never told what it is.
     Do Waukegan parents really think that whatever their kids are getting paid, is enough to offset the emotional and medical cost of enduring beatings in the military, and an onslaught of poisonous chemicals? Is this what you're willing to put your kid through, in order to secure them a job?
     We're told that we're supposed to be proud when young adults – especially racial minorities – join the police force. “Make the police look like the communities they serve”, they tell us. Well, it just so happens that tyrannical regimes throughout history, have co-opted the local communities, and found members of them who were willing to sell all the others out, and chalked it up as a mark of social progress and racial equality.
     For example: European colonizers got African tribal chiefs drunk, and bribed them into letting the colonizers round up their people as slaves. Other colonizers got Native American tribal chiefs drunk, and bribed and defrauded them into letting them claiming the land and kick everybody off. When the Nazis conquered Ukraine, Poland, and Western Russia, they found local military leaders who were willing to compromise with the Nazis. Similarly, the Jewish Ghetto Police enforced Nazi rule over the ghettos (with some degree of Jewish self-governance), while maintaining communications between imprisoned Jews and Nazis.
     Tyrannical regimes co-opted native peoples they conquered, and used the fact that a representative has been chosen from among them, to pretend that that conquered people has given their consent to be ruled. It is a lie, and the idea that more minority police officers will improve a deeply racist, intrinsically violent law enforcement mechanism, is a complete hallucination.
     We should not be encouraging our children to join the police force, especially not at such a young age. God forbid they get shot to death at the age of 18; not even in a war zone, but on the streets of America while doing their job (when they could have chosen any other job, most of them much safer for a young adult whom, again, has their whole life ahead of them).
     Lastly, I must note that I find it laughable that the city noted that the students present, decided to become police officers because of their feeling that “being a cop isn't just for the stupid kids”. I mean, if these are the smart kids, I'd hate to see the stupid kids! Especially the ones who want to become cops. By the way, I hope the city council warns those students against becoming police officers in New Jersey, where courts have ruled it's legal to refuse to hire police applicants if their I.Q. is too high. Because I'm not so sure that the world has any need for smart cops; not until we start training them to de-escalate violence (instead of escalate it) in the course of carrying out orders.

4. Council Tolerates Poor Set of Local Career Opportunities

     And what career opportunities the graduates of Waukegan High School have these days! Why, they can volunteer for the police, and get pepper sprayed and tased as part of training! Hell, why not bring police training directly to the high school, as one town down south did? Why not tase and pepper spray these kids right in their classrooms!? God knows that school security officers have tased and pepper sprayed younger children in public school classrooms in recent years; why stop now?
     But suppose the kid doesn't want to be a cop. They can go to Great Lakes Naval Station, and sign up to be in the military! And be injected with mysterious chemicals, and routinely beaten up as part of basic training, for a very difficult to determine amount of money. Fantastic.
     If your kid doesn't want to be a cop or a soldier, luckily, that new casino is coming to town! Your 17- and 18-year-old daughters can take this opportunity to work at the casino, dealing cards or serving drinks to older men. Men who will probably leer at them, and get away with it because your child will be expected to flirt with them as part of earning tips. Swell.
     Don't want your kid to be a cop, soldier, casino employee, or bartender? Well, she can work at Medline, or a cement company, or the local Sterigenics plants. Why not help her make some money polluting the air that we all have to breathe?
     Waukegan City Council, you are not protecting us. You're not protecting our job opportunities, because none of them are any damn good. You're not protecting public health, nor public safety. And you're not protecting our children's prospects for a clean environment, and a future with decent, honest, respectable careers.

5. Why the Council Urges Cooperation with the Census

     Anyone who was paying attention during the last meeting, will remember exactly why the city council urged us to cooperate with the 2020 U.S. Census survey. The first reason was that a court ruled that the Trump Administration could not include the citizenship question on it. But I ask the members of the city council: What will you do to protect us, if the administration insists on including it anyway (whether they figure out how to do it legally or not)?
     The Constitution authorizes the federal government and its census takers to collect no information other than the number of people. All questions about ethnicity, race, religion, country of origin or birth, and citizenship, are thus illegal, and laws providing for those questions to be asked are unconstitutional. We cannot legally be obligated to answer any of those questions, and I urge residents not to answer them.
     The second reason why the city council urged us to cooperate with the census, is that our elected officials use the census to make money off of us. Making sure that everyone participates in the census, is how government makes sure that congressional districts have equal numbers of people. But the number of people in the district also secures that district federal funding, as part of its “equal share” of federal funding. Of course, it matters to almost nobody that spending and the tax burden are not shared anywhere near equally by the districts and states. But the fact that equality is not furthered in determining where these districts lie, should show that the census's main purpose is to secure whatever funding the district can manage to get.
     This is nothing more than a scam to defraud us, the voters and taxpayers and residents, of our financial power (through our right to those funds), and our legal power (through allowing our elected officials to take away some of our power of attorney, and in so doing, to appropriate more of those federal funds towards themselves and their own offices than towards We the People).

6. Census Carries Deportation Danger

     Aside from the census being a money-making scheme for our legislators, it is also a plot to track us, and harvest our private personal information. Government-regulated credit rating agencies and banks routinely lose millions upon millions of people's personal information; do you really trust government to handle your personal information wisely?
     Moreover, the census could potentially be used as a way to round-up non-citizens and other “undesirables” or “enemies of the state”. I repeat, what do you – the city council – plan to do, if the Trump Administration goes forward with its plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census (whether legally or illegally)?
     Well, I know what you're going to do; You're going to urge cooperation at all times, because to do otherwise would be against the law, and the opposite of what you're supposed to do as elected officials. Which is to urge faith in all public institutions at all times. And you might think that elected officials and police have an obligation to do their jobs, and do as ordered.
     But if your job is to threaten force against people who entered this country illegally but without threatening force themselves, then your job is immoral, and you doing your job conflicts with the public's moral obligation to peacefully resist unjust laws.
     The Waukegan City Council should urge Governor J.B. Pritzker to instruct the Illinois National Guard, and all public police in Illinois, to refrain from cooperating with federal authorities. And that goes for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.), and agents of the 2020 census, alike. That's because the vast majority of these agencies' activities (and questions) are unconstitutional.
     Under no circumstances should the Illinois public be urged to cooperate with federal authorities in pursuit of these unconstitutional aims. The governor should immediately issue an order nullifying the federal law which authorized I.C.E.; effectively removing the authority of I.C.E. to operate legally within the boundaries of the State of Illinois. If necessary, Illinois National Guard troops should be mobilized to arrest federal troops or agents, and/or prevent more of them from entering the State of Illinois, if they insist on enforcing unconstitutional federal laws.

7. Local and State Government Must Avoid Betraying the People
     Just as the Waukegan City Council is doing its residents no service to help them find a clean environment or decent careers, it is also doing them no service to recommend that they cooperate with the Trump Administration.
     Even if the administration doesn't use the census to carry out deportations, it's deporting peaceful undocumented immigrants now. I.C.E. is hassling Hispanic-Americans who were born in America now. Seasonal farm workers are being trapped in America at the end of harvest season, and mocked and driven into the shadows for being here illegally (through no fault of their own), now. Immigrants are being funneled away from points of entry where they could easily declare asylum, and instead are forced to trek through dangerous desert, now.
     Whether the Trump Administration's immigration, deportation, and census policies going forward, will be legal and constitutional or not, why should you urge us to cooperate with those “authorities”? Aren't you supposed to protect public safety? The city government is supposed to work for the people, not the other way around.
     If the police and National Guard of Illinois do not come to the aid of all non-violent residents (not just citizens who pay them) during deportation raids, then neighbors will come together to protect vulnerable residents of Illinois who are in the United States without proper permission.
     And if that happens, then it will be the members of local government – of this city council - who will have urged resident and police cooperation with federal authorities, whom will be remembered as the people who urged cooperation with a blatantly authoritarian regime, and nearly suckered us into becoming fascist collaborators (in turning-in our undocumented neighbors).
     The Waukegan City Council is either against fascism and for its own people, or else it is against its own people and it is enabling the fascist Trump Administration and the companies that are polluting our air and our social culture. Now is the time to choose.

8. Religion in the Public Square
     Finally, I must express my dismay at the fact that these city council meetings begin with a public prayer. Participating in the prayer may be voluntary, but for some 98% of audience members to stand at being urged to pray for the officials here gathered today, should by any reasonable person's standards constitute at least the appearance of government endorsement of religion (even if not some particular religion).
     The people should not be instructed to pray for their legislators. If it is a legislator's job to be concerned with the problems and salvation of the people, then if anything, it's the legislators who should be instructed to pray for the people, not the other way around.
     Residents, look at the way your elected officials are gathered before you. How was Jesus displayed when he was crucified? He was elevated, as a mark of sarcastic reverence towards someone who was said to be a king. Well, your elected officials are elevated in front of you too. Of course, modern legislative chambers and courtrooms are modeled after royal courts; so it should be obvious that this was done intentionally. Under monarchies, kings got their power from God, and everyone below the king (including judges) got their power from the king, who got it from God.
     Fellow citizens, I came to the Waukegan City Council meeting on a Monday evening. I did not come here to pray. I did not come here to watch 98% of you turn this place, intended to promote civic engagement, into a place where we pray for our king as if we were in feudal times, ask the government to answer our prayers, agree to sacrifice our own neighbors for the sake of federal funds and the illusion of civil order, and agree to sacrifice our children's health and safety for the sake of humiliating jobs and depreciating money.

9. Conclusion

     Waukegan City Council: You have no intention of protecting us against fascist federal authorities enforcing unconstitutional deportation orders. You are poisoning your people physically and morally. You are behaving as if the public commons were a church. You are thus a usurpation of God. Everything you are doing is wrong and has no authority, because it comes from neither God nor the people.
     I urge the people to arm themselves, and to resist the census. The federal government has the authority to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, not to enforce it, nor to establish any other types of immigration policy; and the federal government has no obligation to collect census data in addition to the number of people.
     Moreover, the governor would be fully within his right to nullify I.C.E., deportation orders, and additional census questions, and in so doing make Illinois a “Sanctuary State” (although I would not recommend that this designation be made in a way that secures Illinois federal funds). Thus, I also urge the people, and the police, to refuse to cooperate with federal authorities enforcing all immigration laws.
     The Waukegan City Council, and Governor J.B. Pritzker, have a decision to make: Whether they are on the side of freedom and the American people, or whether they want government to be a religious cult, in which we may trust nobody to solve our problems, except for the elected officials who happen to be in charge at the moment. And those officials may only attempt to solve those problems by enforcing whatever set of laws happens to be on the books.
     The Waukegan City Council does the youth of this community no service, by ruining their respect for the importance of civic engagement for the remainder of their lives, by blindly urging cooperation with - and trust in – government, even when the officials and laws we are expected to trust have authoritarian and fascist intentions.
     But even if the city council does put a generation of young adults off of the idea that the government deserves to be trusted, then frankly, so be it; it's not such a bad thing after all. Because government doesn't work - more bad untested laws and more violent enforcement don't work – and so, we should not teach young people to trust the government. If we do, then the next thing you know, their baby is missing, and they've been pepper-sprayed in the eyes, injected with toxic chemicals, and handed a wad of cash.
     Until the Waukegan City Council can start offering more than words when criticizing the Trump Administration's desire to implement legislation they know damn well is unconstitutional – if the council could offer condemnation and plans for action – then it could show a generation of young Waukegan residents that America is about not only civic engagement but also freedom and resistance to tyranny, and that the American people stood up to fascism, and will stand up to it again.

Written on July 30th, 2019

Based on "Public Officials Should Not Appear in Ads for Public Events:
Speech to the Waukegan City Council on August 5th, 2019"
(which can be read at the following address:

Edited on August 19th, 2019