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In a perfect world, Claypool deserves the nod

Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Special to suffredin.org
by NEIL STEINBERG SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

Opening shot

If government really resembled the fairy tale fed to us in civics class, then the Democrats would pick Forrest Claypool to run for Cook County Board president this November. He did, after all, receive 48 percent of the vote in the primary last March. In my dream world that would count for something.

Sadly, the current power grab has nothing to do with democracy, nor with good government, nor fixing the festering sinkhole of waste, incompetence and corruption that is Cook County. It feels naive to even suggest that it could be otherwise.

Not that Claypool is necessarily the answer either -- a reformer is somebody who hasn't found a way to jam his thumb into the pie. Yet.

And the gods walked among us

In classical literature, the gods always show up unexpectedly in the form of strangers, or rivers, or whatever. There is that dramatic moment of discovery when the struggling hero grasps that he is really in the presence of, not an old crone, but Pallas Athena.

That, as far as I can tell, is the idea behind Oprah Winfrey's springing her celestial selfhood on several wedding receptions in Tulsa. The divine, traveling down a golden wire from Mount Olymprah, to bestow grace on a pair of humble Okies as they embark on life's great journey.

She has done this schtick before -- Oprah de Milo emerging from the sea foam with your order of fries, proof that miracles are possible, that gods walk among us in human form.

Would it have been too much to ask that one of the dustbowl couples might have called hotel security and given the intruder, Oprah or no, the bum's rush to the tumbleweed-strewn street? Sadly, as the classics tell us, the fates are fickle, and not every wish is granted.



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