The Eminent Rep. Schakowsky
Quite a bit has been made of the news on Wednesday when Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) announced that she supported an impeachment hearing. Lawrence O'Donnell had her on his show last night to talk about it. Among other things, she said that she had discussed her decision beforehand with Nancy Pelosi who did not try to talk her out of it -- although Schakowsky made clear that this shouldn't be taken to mean that Pelosi gave her tacit approval.
I mention all this because I've been a big fan of Jan Schakowsky for almost 15 years. When my folks moved to their independent living residence in Glenview, the representative of their district was...Jan Schakowsky. Actually, she wasn't at first -- it's an odd area that's split, and Schakwosky represented the other part that overlapped with Glenview. And that was something that deeply disappointed me: so close, yet so far. But then, after redistricting, my folks joyously fell into her district (or did she fall into theirs?), which is now the Illinois-9th. But I've paid attention to her for a long time, even before she represented them, as I said, and have thought from the start that she was wonderful, and even wrote her a few years back.
One thing to note. In her conversation with O'Donnell she talked about how she had overwhelming support among her constituents for her decision, and added that it was a progressive area. And that true. But there is still a strong conservative undercurrent there -- not long ago, before the redistricting, that seat was held by Republican Mark Kirk, who later became one of the U.S. Senators from Illinois (until he had a stroke and was later defeated by Tammy Duckworth). So, while Schakowsky is very popular -- she won in 2018 with about 73% of the vote -- and the district is Democratic and progressive, the general area is a mix of politics. The Republicans there may not be of the far-right religious persuasion, but more of what we consider "traditional" Republicans (a rare breed these days) with a cross between being moderate Republican (an even rarer breed) and rock-solid, die-hard conservative. One of my folks's dear friends there is a staunch Republican, probably for 70 years dating back to learning it from her father -- though when you talk to her, she will slam Democrats in general as a species, but when you discuss issues, it would be shocking to find he concerns so often liberal. But she'd deny the label and always, always, always vote Republican. Even though the party had drastically changed since the days of her father.
But that's the area -- progressives and rock-sold Republicans for life.
So, while Jan Schakowsky does have the cover of knowing she's popular and strongly supported, she is surrounded by a wide range of conflicting views. So, it's good to see her come forward so vocally and have the backing for it that she does. And I think the reaction in the news to her specifically speaking out for impeachment hearings is that she's always been considered a very thoughtful, fair-minded representative. And if her foundation is progressive, she has had to work closely with a conservative voice that overlaps with her.
By the way, before we wind things up, a brief digression: be grateful that I didn't go with the title I initially thought of, which was going to be "Schak-IL -- Oh, Kneel." But I thought that was stretching things far too much for a joke.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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