Tuesday, July 19, 2016

About last night

Our trip to hear our state representative speak on funding for our university turned out to be an interesting waste of time. We arrived about ten minutes late — Google Maps gave two locations for the venue, miles apart, and we chose the wrong one first. What we missed: all but a minute or two of someone from state government explaining how to create a household budget. (Metaphor? Parable?) She gave up, saying that she felt that she was lecturing. But we heard every word of our rep’s presentation, a meandering, ill-organized combination of plain-folks talk, high dudgeon, and cynicism. Though the event had been advertised as a discussion of university funding, that subject came up only briefly. The main purpose of our rep’s presentation seemed to be to run down the clock — he even joked that he was leaving about “one minute” for questions. Ha ha.

Key words: billion , billions . Yes, Illinois spends billions and billions of dollars (which, really, are no laughing matter). Our rep failed to mention though that Illinois has one of the lowest rates of per capita spending of all states. Other key words: Chicago , Democrats , them , they . The last two words referred to Democrats.

Low point: our rep holding up and then thumbing through a binder-clipped, printed version of a stack of PowerPoint slides. (He was not using a computer or projector.) As he explained at another point in his presentation, he is “not yet technically savvy.”

I was disappointed to see so few members of my university community in attendance. Perhaps they had concluded that they would be wasting their time. I did my bit by talking (at some length) about our rep’s dubious arithmetic and about public higher education and the national attention that our state’s manufactured budget crisis has drawn. One older man stared at me angrily when I mentioned a recent Daily Show skit and its advice for students: “Get the fuck out of Illinois.” I left the fuck out: I respect decorum, at least at public meetings. This man had turned around angrily at my mere mention of The Daily Show .

Elaine and I had ice cream and strawberries when we got home.

Related reading
All OCA Illinois budget crisis posts (Pinboard)

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