Illinois politics has often seemed like a series of chapters from a Lewis Carroll nonsense story, and recent events have made that connection even more apparent.
Consider the following passage in light of Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s call to have Gov. Rod Blagojevich removed from office before he is indicted, much less tried, on charges stemming from reports of corruption in his process of choosing a replacement for U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s vacating U.S. Senate seat:
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“–but there’s one great advantage to it, that one’s memory works both ways.”
“I’m sure mine only works one way,” Alice remarked. “I can’t remember things before they happen.”
“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” the Queen remarked.
“What sort of things do you remember best?” Alice ventured to ask.
“Oh, things that happened the week after next,” the Queen replied in a careless tone. “For instance, now,” she went on, sticking a large piece of plaster on her finger as she spoke, “there’s the King’s Messenger. He’s in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn’t even begin until next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.”
“Suppose he never commits the crime?” said Alice.
“That would be all the better, wouldn’t it?” the Queen said, as she bound the plaster around her finger with a bit of ribbon.
Alice felt there was no denying that. “Of course it would be all the better,” she said: “but it wouldn’t be all the better his being punished.”
“You’re wrong there, at any rate,” said the Queen. “Were you ever punished?”
“Only for faults,” said Alice.
“And you were all the better for it, I know!” the Queen said triumphantly.
“Yes, but then I had done the things I was punished for,” said Alice: “that makes all the difference.”
“But if you hadn’t done them,” the Queen said, “that would have been better still; better, and better, and better!” Her voice went higher with each “better,” till it got quite to a squeak at last.
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Jim Johnston ([email protected]) is a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.