I have sent our esteemed Senator Mike Jacobs two letters over the past couple of years regarding matters that I consider important to the People of the State of Illinois. Senator Jacobs apparently disagrees, since he has not even given me the courtesy of a political "thanks but you bore me." You know, the typical, "Thank you for expressing your concerns, and I will give your suggestions all of the consideration warranted under the circumstances." Or, "Your letter brings up some important matters of which I was not fully cognizant. I will immediately create a commission and make recommendations accordingly." Anything would have been nice, including actually doing something.
My first contact was when I was unable to get anyone interested in the rampant mortgage fraud occurring in our area. I was under the mistaken impression that maybe our legislators could light a fire under the appropriate enforcement agencies.
No response from Senator Jacobs.
Next, I was frustrated with the one-sided and possibly unlawful contracts being required by banks selling foreclosed properties. In many of these contracts, the bank requires the buyer to use the closing agent and sometimes title agency selected by the bank. These closing agents and title agencies are sometimes charging as much as five times what a local provider would charge (i.e., local providers which are small businesses in Senator Jacobs' district). No disclosure of these exorbitant fees is provided to the buyer prior to when they show up at closing. I had this crazy idea that Illinois could follow several other states in allowing buyers to select their own settlement service providers. After all, there is no good reason that the seller should tell the buyers who they have to hire and pay.
No response from Senator Jacobs.
Did I take this personally? Not at all. Maybe he is too busy getting these things taken care of for us. Maybe his typewriter is in the shop. Was I bitter that I made an effort to make a difference and make things better for the people of the State of Illinois and was summarily ignored. Of course not! Perhaps Illinois Senators do not send letters as a cost-saving measure.
But then I hear that he CAN write AND send letters! Well, sort of write, anyway. An acquaintance sent me correspondence from Senator Jacobs. Apparently, someone was annoyed that Senator Jacobs cast the only vote in favor of using taxpayer money to pay for a portrait of Rod Blagojevich. (Actually, in the interest of accuracy and specificity, he voted no to a bill which would prohibit the use of taxpayer money to pay for the portrait, so it is a double negative kind of thing.) And she sent a letter to Senator Jacobs telling him so.
Rather than take the high road and ignore her, which, I assure you, he is fully capable of doing, he sent a letter to her demonstrating his intellectual prowess. He responded that "in the words of Harry Truman, if you want a friend in government, get a dog."
Well, first of all, what President Truman is actually credited with saying is, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog" [emphasis added], so he did not even quote correctly. See the difference? The big difference is, President Truman's statement actually makes sense. He was simply saying that Washington is full of folks with ulterior motives desiring political gain. If you want a real friend in a town like this, a dog is your best bet. Senator Jacobs' quip seems to imply that the government is full of dogs. I guess. Maybe
Now for Senator Jacobs quote: How would getting a dog help me have a friend in government? Ok, Senator, I went and got a dog at the shelter and he is my friend, now what? How does this help me get a friend in government? Should I get my dog elected to office? Can I get my dog to replace Senator Jacobs? What if my dog was a relative of Senator Jacobs, would that help? Perhaps Senator Jacobs should stick with ignoring letters sent to him. Less embarrassing perhaps.
It is great for Senator Jacobs that the job was handed to him by his father, but I am not so sure it is great for residents of western Illinois. This is why nepotism is generally frowned upon in most circumstances. It is also why tigers often eat their young.