Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fair Catch

Just got back from the Fair with my family. Long day, but as usual, glad I went. A few observations on the trip. I spoke to the Democracy for Illinois contingent, the jist of my comments was that (in keeping with the last thread), while we are in a blue state, that could change pretty quickly if we don't pay more attention to Democratic ideals. That is, we can't just back candidates based on who they are, but need to pay more attention to the values that we are advancing.

Most Dems in IL are Dems for a reason and they need to be reminded of that. From the smallest local race to the statewide offices, we need to do a better job of messaging. The Republicans are better than us at this nationally, and after being decimated here, they are rebuilding based on this same concept.

In my opinion, there is no issue that Dems have to concede or play defense on, a lot of it is framing. A topic for another day.

Back to the point, I like the Fair. There is a certain 'land that time forgot' quality to it. A simpler time. As far as the rally is concerned, truth be told, I left right before the speeches started. Talked with some staff, friends, etc. Got a chance to chat with Barack for a bit. (You have to appreciate that the brightest star in the state party just shows up without entourage and calmly and graciously held court with media and fans alike - he is such a good guy) But I really didn't feel like subjecting my family to the speeches that they had essentially heard countless times before. Not when the Lincoln Museum was on tap.

I have been to the Museum four or five times now, and I still think it's great. What our 9 year old was able to absorb in less than two hours about national history, the struggle over slavery, and our great president is truly impressive. I know that the museum has taken flack from purists about being 'Disneyesque', but I disagree. I think that it does a great job in making a host of issues accessible and interesting to an incredibly wide spectrum of people.

The dinner at Cracker Barrel on the way home seemed to be a fitting way to top off the day. The evening was capped off by watching the fireworks over Navy Pier as we drove into downtown.

Can't wait until next year.


At August 18, 2005 at 8:59 AM, Anonymous edward bryant said...

I have not yet been to the Lincoln Museum, but I was interested to hear your take on it. I took a small class in college, at Bradley in Peoria, focused on Lincoln. At the end of the class we all had to write a paper on some aspect of the President and his policies and present our work to the rest of the class. I felt a bit awkward when it turned out that I wrote the only paper that was actually critical of his decisions (the paper focused on his suspension of civil rights in parts of the north). Although I still agree he was a great President, I felt it was necessary to address the not so great moments. Anyway, my understanding of Lincoln leads me to wonder if the museum addresses these types of issues?

At August 18, 2005 at 9:11 AM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

Point well taken. But I think that there is only so much that any institution can take on, especially when you are dealing with issues as complex as those that faced our country during Lincoln's tenure.

What I am impressed by is the lengths they go to in order to discuss the controversy about the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been argued did not technically free anybody in and of itself. It didn't apply to the South, the North didn't have slavery, and the four border states were exempted. In dealing with the issue, the museum effectively shows how Lincoln had to carefully balance politics with policy goals in order to hold together a very fragile Union.

At August 18, 2005 at 9:26 AM, Anonymous edward bryant said...

I can see how a lot of museums are put in a difficult spot--there will always be those that are not happy with the way history is portrayed. Facts alone are not very interesting--a story is always more engaging. Yet, stories are by their nature subjective. I heard that the new Native American museum in D.C. is having some trouble striking that balance.

If a 9-year-old enjoyed it and learned something along the way, then they must have done something right.

At August 18, 2005 at 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is disappointing to see all the state monies wasted on the Springfield fair, especially at a time when our state needs to be dealing with education and mass transit and all the other issues.

I do not think that the Governor has a chance at re-election if Judy Baar Topinka is the Republican candidate. She would be the first Republican for whom I would vote for governor in my life.

At August 18, 2005 at 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Less boring topics and policy. More politics and sleaze!!!!

At August 18, 2005 at 10:31 PM, Blogger ndpotus said...

Hey it was a great and it was great seeing John...

At August 18, 2005 at 10:52 PM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

It's August, more issues than excitement these days.

At August 21, 2005 at 3:52 PM, Blogger DownLeft said...

What do you think about the Museum's failure to mention Lincoln's term in Congress where his most notable act was opposing the Mexican-American war because President Polk lied about the justifications of the war? I think it's a glaring omission.

At August 21, 2005 at 3:56 PM, Blogger DownLeft said...

Anonymous wrote: "It is disappointing to see all the state monies wasted on the Springfield fair, especially at a time when our state needs to be dealing with education and mass transit and all the other issues."

I'm tired of my state tax money being wasted on a city mass transit system. If you want a better CTA then you can pay the higher city taxes instead of milking people in downstate who never ride it.

I wonder, is there any state tax money being "wasted" on Chicago sports teams or entertainment events like the Taste? Why should Chicago get entertainment but not Springfield?

Oh, and its the *State* Fair, not the Springfield Fair. You could come down and enjoy it too. Most Fair visitors travel from outside of Springfield to attend.


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