Monday, May 10, 2021 12:38 pm
By Temitope Ajayi
I recommend this book to young people who desire to participate in politics. I read the review and decided to get a copy. This book will purge young political activists of irreverent idealism. With books like this, I get less and less idealistic about politics and politicians in our clime. I still hold the view we are, often, too hard on our people. If most of us get to know how things shake down in supposed ‘saner climes,’ we will be more charitable in matters of how politics is organised and played.
Politics is not a fantasy game; real actors are very cold and calculative. All that matters is winning. Richard J. Daley was the 48th Mayor of Chicago. He reigned supreme over Chicago from 1955 to1976. He ran a very effective and ruthless political machine in Chicago for himself and the Democratic Party that is still active till date. He was a master of retail politics and patronage. The Daley’s family influence is very potent within Chicago’s political and business circles that their support is still sought by candidates and aspirants who seek local and national political office.
His son, Richard M. Daley, was elected Mayor of Chicago in 1989 and re-elected seven times until he left voluntarily in 2011. He was Mayor for 26 years and the only Mayor, in history, to beat his own father’s record.
Another of his son, Williams M. Daley, was President Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce and White House Chief of Staff to President Obama. Williams Daley ran to be Mayor of Chicago in 2019.
We often complain of godfatherism and recycling of same people. Truth is, there is no place this is practiced better than the Western democracies where they build political dynasties. The way they have business families is the way they have political families. Some people are only interested in public service.
For any young person that desires public service, this is the time to get involved and participate. It is those who join the process that will be called. The argument that young people are not given a chance is jaded.
In the last 30 years in United States, the Bush family produced two Presidents, two governors and the third attempt for the Presidency from same family didn’t sail through. Bill Clinton was Governor for three terms, President for 8 years, his wife Senator for 8 years, Secretary of State for 4 years and won Democratic Party’s nomination to run for the Presidency. Chelsea, their daughter, is being programmed for public office too.
There is also the fairy-tale story of the Kennedy family, who dominated the US politics for almost five decades. Embattled Liz Cheney, third in rank in Republican Party Congressional caucus is the daughter of a former Vice President, Dick Cheney. She is being programmed to become Speaker of the House and ultimately run for the Presidency. Her father was a congressman for 20 years or so, Chief of Staff to a President and Vice President for eight years.
I think we should just stop whining and engage the process. The actors won’t yield the space for anyone just because we can complain. It is about contest and who can win. Running commentaries won’t change anything. No matter how good your ideas are, you have to win and get into public office before you can positively influence the system. There is no glory in losing an election. I have forgotten the name of the American politician who said those who want to make change happen must first invest all the resources to win – human and material – because it is only winners that have a chance of changing the system for better, no matter how little.