To the editors:
If Bryan Miller is the Reader's token right-winger, at least she's a better writer than her New Yorker counterpart Bill Buckley. But when Don Rose used to profile his candidates in the weeks before an election, he'd explain his campaign connections. Why is Miller so passionate about Dudycz?
In particular, why doesn't she point out the contradictions: How can Dudycz complain about politicians voting themselves pay raises--and then complain that his State Senate salary is inadequate? If he needs to hold a second job, why is it all right for it to be a political appointment? If double dipping is wrong, why is it all right just in case the double dipping involves manipulating the calendar so that the second salary is charged for a Saturday rather than a Friday?
A regular listener to radio talk shows quickly realizes that Dudycz doesn't have what so notoriously have been called "the necessaries" for political office (which is not to say that many incumbents do have them). The most encouraging sentence in Miller's article is at the end: "If Dudycz wins, they'll take out the eraser at redistricting time, and that will be that." While Annunzio is no prize, a friend of mine who works at Social Security says that when a constituent has a problem, Annunzio's staff is all over them--and constituent services (in Chicago, anyway) is no small factor in reelection.
Finally, I'd have thought it was a dead horse, but since Miller beats the flag issue one more time, here is the definitive proof that the Supreme Court is right and Dudycz et al. are wrong. Over the last few years, news-magazines have carried photos of anti-American demonstrations in Seoul, Teheran, and most recently Baghdad. In each case, an object was being burned; in each case the object was not an American flag, but something vaguely similar--it had the wrong number of stripes, or the wrong number of stars, or the wrong arrangement, or something. Yet in each case the intended effect was the reviling of the US; the presumed response of the American viewer was revulsion. This proves conclusively that flag-burning is a form of expression, and political expression to boot, thus coming under even the strictest Borkian interpretation of the First Amendment. Moreover, it shows that Dudycz's attempt at sophistry (regarding his garbage-bag flags as not being flags, but pictures of flags) is a failure. (I sent this argument to my legislators, and Sid Yates agreed by return mail; Alan Dixon sent a polite disagreement not indicating he or his staff had considered the issue; and Paul Simon returned a perfectly ambiguous document from which one could not tell one way or the other where he stood on the issue.)
By the way, Cecil, the expert to consult on flag design wouldn't be a tesselationist, but a vexillologist--a flag scientist.
Peter T. Daniels
Bryan Miller replies:
It's a bit difficult to tell from Mr. Daniels's somewhat elliptical prose, but he appears, in his first paragraph, to be accusing me of working for the Dudycz campaign. Presumably he stops short of coming right out and doing so because the absurdity of such an imputation is evident even to one who reads as carelessly as he. Mr. Daniels objects because my profile of Walter Dudycz was evenhanded and didn't smear the candidate. I am passionate not about Senator Dudycz but about questions of honesty, integrity, objectivity, and the exposure of hypocrisy. These are, I recognize, unfamiliar concepts to many devotees of Chicago politics.
I'm not quite sure just how one is to write an adequate profile of Walter Dudycz without mentioning the single issue for which he is known to most people in the Chicago area. But if Mr. Daniels had been more attentive, he would have observed that I was flogging not the flag issue but Senator Dudycz's stand on it. Finally, I am not a right-winger, but rather a libertarian.
Cecil Adams replies:
Vexillology is the study of flags in general, you goof. The study of tesselation, or mosaic patterns (i.e., star arrangements), is far more to the point.