Saturday, November 17, 2012

A doggie bone? Or some real meat?

Excuse me for being skeptical about the City Council in my hometown of Chicago taking a stand and saying it believes that driver’s licenses should have nothing to do with one’s immigration status.

Yes, I do believe that it would be a positive move to allow the people living here to apply for (and receive) a driver’s license because it would be a step toward these non-citizens living their lives in the open – literally providing us with their names and addresses where we could find them. (Unless they take the Elwood J. Blues approach. But that’s another commentary altogether).

BUT I’M NOT about to start issuing praise for the aldermen who earlier this week came up with a resolution that urges the Illinois General Assembly to change state laws to allow the estimated 250,000 people believed to be living in the state without a valid visa to be issued a driver’s license.

For one thing, their action is purely symbolic. They really didn’t do anything.

Since the issuance of driver’s licenses is in the hands of the Illinois secretary of state’s office, the City Council can blather on all it wants. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White isn’t obligated to listen to them.

A part of me wonders if this is a gesture meant to be a “reward” for all those Latinos who voted for Democratic Party candidates last week.

AS THOUGH WE’RE supposed to be so grateful for this resolution that we’ll think we’re repaid in full – and shouldn’t expect to get anything else!

If that is what’s at stake here, then there are some political people who are in for a big shock. For many Latinos are going to be watching now to see what concrete action results from this resolution.

If it turns out that the city’s aldermen do have the ability to influence their state Legislature counterparts to get off their collective culo and take action, that’s a positive.

Otherwise, it’s just talk. And talk is cheap!

IT ACTUALLY REMINDS me of the old stories concerning the former Mayor Richard J. Daley who used to talk about respect for ethnicities other than the Irish based on how solidly they turned out to vote.

Ones who didn’t got dissed. And it was said that Daley himself was often amused at how certain groups would get all worked up over having statues erected and holidays declared on behalf of their racial or ethnic brethren.

As though they could be bought off cheaply with a statue, rather than demanding anything lasting in the way of public policy. Heck, it seems like some political people aren’t even willing to give us a statue. If they think a resolution is our lasting reward, they’re misguided.

If anything, I find it interesting that Lake County, Ill., Sheriff Mark Curran, Jr., recently said he supports a measure permitting people to be licensed to drive – even if they’re not U.S. citizens.

BECAUSSE HE HAS the sense to realize that a properly licensed driver is more likely to be a safe driver and one who is properly ensured to the letter of the law.

Which may be the real benefit to society as a whole. Inclusion of these individuals makes them more likely to comply with all the elements of our society – rather than if they’re scurrying about trying to stay in the shadows and fearing that a minor traffic stop will result in an international incident.

The real reason so many of the ideologues oppose the idea of driver’s licenses for all who are qualified (as in the ability to drive safely) to have them is that they don’t want to have to acknowledge the reality that many of these people are truly people just like us.

Is it really worth the hassle of continuing current policy, just to reinforce the nativist nonsense of the ideologues who likely are now denouncing the Chicago City Council for its latest act?


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