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Grassroots organizing, not political power structure, sealed Ramirez win

Delia Ramirez was victorious in last week's Democratic primary for state representative from the 4th district. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

It’s fair to say that in politics, nobody sees the whole elephant. As a resident of Illinois State House District 4, it was interesting to see Rich Miller’s outsider take on my district’s four-way primary in the column “Illinois’ oddest couple — Chuy and Mike — won big in Tuesday’s elections,” which framed the race in terms of larger power structures in Illinois — namely, endorsements from Chuy Garcia and Our Revolution, and an agreement not to oppose Mike Madigan.

However, from the perspective of someone who volunteered with the Delia Ramirez campaign for state representative from its humble beginnings on the front porch of a Logan Square home, it’s clear that this is a misleading narrative about how the race played out. It’s worth noting that Madigan felt threatened enough by Delia’s candidacy to have his lawyer try to kick her off the ballot. And while it’s true that endorsements from Our Revolution and Chuy Garcia were helpful, neither were significant campaign funders — SEIU, CTU, and 30 house parties were the major funding streams. Most important of all, Delia’s history of serving our community, her ability to listen to and connect with residents, and her example of relentless positivity and intense work ethic inspired a grassroots base of support numbering over 300 volunteers. This enabled a seven-days-per-week field operation that knocked on tens of thousands of doors, something which no endorsements or campaign funds or political alliances can buy.

Rob Reid, Grassroots Illinois Action member, ChicagoPolice afraid of barking dogs shouldn’t be given gunsNot only can the Chicago Police Department shoot African-Americans with impunity, they can shoot African Americans’ dogs with impunity. The city (you and me) have paid out $500 million for “wrongful killings,” the overwhelming majority African American. We don’t know how much we’ve paid for “wrongful killings” of African-Americans’ dogs? We do know no officers have ever been disciplined for this.

Officers who fear “for the safely of themselves or others” every time they encounter a barking dog shouldn’t be issued weapons.

Joseph Hanc, Chicago

Cable news, not social media, might be a bigger threat to democracy

Much is being made of Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and of course Russian hackers, as being so influential in the last general election. While that’s all true, how about the impact cable news networks, most especially CNN, had in getting Mr. Trump elected?

Think of the millions and millions of advertising dollars that his campaign saved with all the free airtime, something that was not always afforded his opponent. And his unprecedented appearances on TV made his run for the presidency that much more legitimate and totally believable.

Their obsession with this candidate sets the stage for a repetition of his unorthodox campaign style by future politicians. What does that ultimately teach us about the type of politician that appeals to the casual television viewer, if not the average American voter? Will we be perpetually inclined to turn to the loudest, shrillest, most vindictive personality to lead our nation? That would be a bigger threat to our democracy than anything Cambridge Analytical or even the Russian hackers ever conceived.

Bob Ory, Elgin