Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Transcript of Governor Quinn's Speech to Social Workers

Transcript of Governor Quinn's speech to social workers in the capitol rotunda, June 23, 2009:

"The people's house in the land of Lincoln in the city of Abraham Lincoln, who believed in a government of the people, by the people and for the people, we are the people. Always remember that people united cannot be defeated and we will not be defeated. This is a moment in history and we the people must seize and go forward on behalf of the common good to make sure our state has a balanced budget, a budget where the revenue equals the expenditures, a budget that makes sure that human services are provided to the good, hardworking, loyal people of the state of Illinois...

The people of Illinois are good and decent, they understand the value of a good samaritan, that when your neighbor looses his job, or has a problem, all of us band together to help our neighbors. That's what the tradition is in Illinois, that's what the tradition is in America. We understand when it's very tough, in economic hard times, we aren't going to throw anyone overboard, the Land of Lincoln, we make sure that we all go together and make sure where we get to where we've got to go, a better place for the people of Illinois, are taking good care of each other. that's what I believe in, and I know that's what you believe in.

On March 18 in this very Building, the state capitol, I proposed an income tax increase... a temporary income tax increase that would make sure that we have enough revenue for human services, public safety, health and educaion, helping our veterans, the men and women who are the front lines for our democracy. When they come home, we want to make that sure we take good care of their health needs, their job needs, their education needs and everyone else's education needs, and everyone else's education needs. We believe in everybody in and nobody left out in the land of Lincoln.

There's something wrong if there are political people in our state who think you can leave people behind and cut the budget in a mean-spirited way, where we don't have enough revenue for child care, for senior care, for healthy people to have a chance. For all of those who are involved in serving others, I want to thank everyone here because I know... all the people who work in human services, you don't do it for the money, there's not a lot of money in this, you do it because you have the service heart.

There's a saying that I think all of us take to heart that service to others is the rent we pay for our place on God's earth. The people in this hall, in this building, have more than paid their rent in their service to others. Dr. Martain Luther King Jr. once said everyone can be great because everyone can serve. And we want to serve the people of Illinois in the best way possible. We've got to to make sure we have top notch human services during this tough recession. We have to make sure we have good mental health services in every community. There's something wrong in a recession when the politicians want to cut back on community mental health, that won't happen as long as I'm governor.

The great thing about America, the great thing about Illinois is that you adults are willing to sacrifice part of our present in order to help our children's future. We believe in our early childhood education we believe in health care... [cut off by audience's chanting of "no more cuts."]

We have a message. On March 18, I proposed a budget for our state, a decent budget, that didn't have severe cuts to social services... we have to get the revenue for that... As governor of Illinois, it's a great honor and priviledge to be a governor... But I call for temporarily raising the income tax from three and to four and a half percent, so we can have a decent budget, we can help people who have been laid off... we can help everyone in Illinois who is needing a helping hand. We can do that. What we have to do from now until next tuesday, the 30th of June, the end of this fiscal year, is use the power of democracy. What we have here is simple, the power of everyday, ordinary people, banding together, not for profit, for a cause we believe in. We believe in the people of Illinois, all 30 million people. Everybody's in, nobody is left out. We want to make sure our legislature can have a revenue bill so I can sign it, and we can make the will of the people the law of the land."

Read on...

In Search of Budget, Governor Quinn takes to Populism in Capitol Rally

With words of solidarity and praise, Gov. Pat Quinn let nearly 5,000 social workers gathered at the Illinois capitol know where he stood Tuesday afternoon.

“There’s something wrong if there are political people in our state who think you can leave people behind, and cut the budget in a mean-spirited way, where we don’t have enough revenue for child care, for senior care, for healthy people to have a chance,” the governor said before a mass of protesters that filled the rotunda.

In the midst of a $9.2 rift in the state budget, a crisis made direr by the faltering economy, the Governor is counting on the unity of populism to save services and balance the budget. His proposal of temporarily increasing the personal income tax from 3 to 4.5 percent for two years to bridge the gap has met intense opposition.

“We understand when it’s very tough, in economic hard times, we aren’t going to throw anyone overboard, the Land of Lincoln, we make sure that we all go together and make sure where we get to where we’ve got to go, a better place for the people of Illinois, are taking good care of each other,” he said.

Quinn told protesters at the rally, meant to coincide with the beginning of the special budget session, that citizens would have to organize and use the “power of democracy” to before the end of the fiscal year, Tuesday, June 30, to avoid cuts to services.

Quinn’s excited tone at the rally was a stark difference from the somber “doomsday budget” rhetoric observed in interviews. Members of the punditocracy have commented that this was a tactic employed by Quinn’s predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, and as such may harm Quinn’s ambitions and image as governor.

As with much of the politics in Illinois, the success of any given campaign (or budget) can change by the minute, often drastically. With a call to populism, especially in times of a great socioeconomic schism, the fate of the budget may even be out of the hands of the governor, placed squarely in the possession of the people’s voices.

Demonstrators packed the rotunda, displaying a variety of signs, many of which declared "JUST FIX IT." This was also a slogan chanted throughout the rally.

Social service workers, representing all branches of service, lined up to enter the rotunda where Quinn and others spoke. The heat was oppressive, but did not seem to have an effect on those lobbying. Many were left out by security personnel at some point before Gov. Quinn's speech.

Demonstrators line up to enter the rotunda to lobby. The message at the rally was completely unified around the message of salvaging essential services.

Members of New Mexico-based SWOP, the SouthWest Organizing Project, were among organizers at the rally. Chartered buses surrounded the capitol building, as organizers filed out in multicolor shirts representing their respective causes.

Another picture of Gov. Quinn's speech to social workers in the rotunda. Read on...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Putting Lincoln On The Couch, with Dr. Burlingame

Dr. Burlingame, Renowned Historian and New UIS Lincoln Studies Chair, Tries to Crack Abe’s Noggin.

In 1997, Michael Burlingame boldly declared that experts “have yet to analyze fully the psychological origins of Lincoln’s hatred of slavery, his aversion to women, his anger and cruelty, his role as a father figure,” among other quirks.

He proposed in that first book, “The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln,” that the solution was a healthy dose of psychohistory.

“It’s an attempt to address some questions about the past that otherwise would be very difficult to answer, unless you pay attention to unconscious forces,” Burlingame, 67, says.

A psychohistorian, Burlingame intends to bring a unique look at history when he takes the post of the Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield this fall.

He’ll be tapping into Carl Jung and Freud to pick apart history, while teaching a handful of UIS students a course in psychohistory and the American presidency at the historic Iles House in Springfield.

“We will be looking at people like Jefferson and Lyndon Johnson, really studying how their personal experiences affected their ideology and their behaviors,” Burlingame says.

Burlingame was hooked on Lincoln as an undergraduate at Princeton, under the auspice of noted historian David Herbert Donald. He would go on to earn his doctorate from the same historian from John Hopkins University in 1971.

Since then, he’s written three books on Lincoln, the most recent being 2008’s “Abraham Lincoln: A Life,” a two-volume series which garnered critical praise. He’s also racked up an extensive list of accolades, and retired from Connecticut College after a 30-year career there.

The 16th president earns a special place on the Burlingame psychologist couch.

For example, one enigma Burlingame finds is abhorrence to slavery, at a time when the average Illinoisan may not be inclined to abolition. Lincoln would not likely harbor those views from his native, slave state of Kentucky, either.

Given that history, what provoked Lincoln to protest a state proclamation against abolitionist groups in 1837 and write that slavery was “founded on both injustice and bad policy” (while only one other lawmaker signed his protest)? Or inspired him to argue in 1854 in Peoria against the Kansas-Nebraska Act with a lengthy speech about the moral ills of slavery, and re-enter the public arena? Burlingame recounts how Lincoln’s relationship with his father may have fostered abolitionist feelings.

“His father treated him like a slave. He rented him out to neighbors, so Lincoln as an adolescent would go out and spend days on end performing really back breaking farm chores like chopping down trees, picking up stumps, building fences and all that kind of hard work,” he says.

It wasn’t uncommon for Lincoln to be pulled from his lessons to work on a chore for a neighbor. Those earnings became the property of the parent, and Lincoln’s father didn’t hesitate to use his son’s labor. For a boy who loved to learn, Burlingame says, this was a trigger.

“Unconsciously he identified himself with the slaves and identified his father with slave holders, otherwise it’s hard to understand why Lincoln despised slavery from early on,” he says.

Lincoln hated working a hard day’s work without honest pay, and that became the stinging point for his antislavery rhetoric. He didn’t use an angle of civil liberties, freedom of speech, press or assembly when trying to argue abolition. “Instead, he talks about how it’s an outrage that somebody goes out and works in the hot sun all day, and somebody else derives the profits,” Burlingame says.

That Lincoln suffered from clinical depression and lost a great love in his earlier years (Ann Rutledge), was considered bunk until recently. James G. Randall, the distinguished Lincoln historian and professor at the University of Illinois two generations ago, discredited a large portion of William Herndon’s personal notes, silencing a wealth of the evidence in the process.

“That set Lincoln Scholarship back about 50 years and the Herndon treasure trove seem like a nuclear waste dump,” Burlingame says.

It was later revealed that much of this was influenced by Randall’s wife, who had a very high opinion of Mary Todd Lincoln and sought to purge Ann Rutledge from history books. In the process of making “The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln,” Burlingame, whose mentor at Princeton was a protégé of Randall, approached the archives of the president’s law partner with caution.

“I thought I should look at it, to say I just took a glance at it, and I found it quite persuasive,” he says. “There were so many people who testified and they all sounded reasonable to me.”

Now that his schedule of bicentennial speeches and book touring is winding down, he anticipates settling into his UIS post and getting down to a new book. Tentatively titled “Words of Lincoln reported by Contemporary Newspapers,” he hopes to collect reporter’s stories on the president.

“Sometimes it’s a direct quotation and sometimes it’s an indirect quotation, but those are valuable contributions to the stock of information about Lincoln,” Burlingame says.

He also intends to hunt down nearly 200 anonymous letters written to the Sangamon Journal, which he believes Lincoln wrote, along with primary source material from White House secretaries. Some of the data won’t be to be tremendously difficult to find, considering his living arrangements across the street from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, in an 1856 building where Lincoln may have been at some point.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in Springfield doing research, and people have been extremely kind and hospitable,” he says. “I have a pretty big circle of friends, and I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time with them.”

Read on...