Writing for the Sun-Times, Carol Marin is calling for true change in Springfield. She’s calling for ‘Shrooms to rise up, come out of the dark, and, well, legislate.
That would be refreshing.
What is a ‘Shroom?
“‘Shrooms” — short for “mushrooms” — is code in Springfield for rank-and-file lawmakers who, thanks to the iron grip of their leadership, are irrelevant to critical decision-making. The term was coined decades ago when a House member stuck a sign on his desk offering a bleak commentary: “Welcome to the land of the mushrooms where they keep you in the dark and pile s – – – on your head.”
Whether it’s the all-powerful speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, or the I’m-the-Boss-Now Senate President Emil Jones, the rules that govern each chamber are meant to clip the wings of the rank and file and keep the leadership in complete control. Without a leader’s OK, forget about getting a bill out of committee, a prime committee assignment, a leadership post or heaven help you, forget about financial help come Election Day.
No legislation sees the light of day unless the bosses say so. ‘Shrooms can go back to the dark and vote with the leadership.
The inactivity in Springfield the past few years impresses no one. Senator Emil Jones makes sure his son gets his senate seat, Blago the Intransigent listens to no one, and Speaker Michael Madigan controls the Illinois House with an iron fist:
Jones, whose party returned to the majority after the tyrannical reign of his Republican predecessor, Pate Philip, was elected president in 2002. Allied with the incoming governor, Rod Blagojevich, the two united against Madigan and there’s been god-awful legislative gridlock ever since.
Look, we’ve been waiting for school funding reform in Illinois for decades. Illinois still places second to last in the nation in funding for education. Instead, we get lawmakers eminently impressed with themselves and their ability to win an election, and no one working for real change any more. The Illinois Legislature is broken.
I can barely stomach attending fundraisers for legislators any more. Many times I’ve watched representatives from Springfield come to Matteson, IL, fall all over themselves for their candidate, telling us why we should give a care for Rep. ‘Shroom, that we should give up weekends and week nights to campaign for Rep. ‘Shroom.
It’s time for reform. Yes, it’s time for the ‘Shrooms, “futile fungi,” as Marin calls them, to rise up. Illinois needs a Legislature full of legislators, not glorified Altar Boys and Girls serving the Magisterium.
Unless these ‘Shrooms are really only interested in re-election. Then they deserve to wallow in s—, and we deserve the same for re-electing them.