Yogi, of course, had it right.
Mr. Berra, the splendid master of malapropism, famously uttered such sage non sequiturs as “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” and the fabulous disclaimer, “I really didn’t say everything I said.”
He uttered one of his most oft-repeated observations, as you probably know, after watching two of the biggest bats in the business — Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle — slug home runs back-to-back, more than once: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
I think we’re generally quite fond of this quote because it rings so very true.
And so it is that — I’m taking a deep breath here — we’re well into the next election cycle, even as the final few bits of confetti from the consolidated elections scarcely 4 1/2 months ago are still being swept up.
Yes, it’s true that we won’t re-enter the polling booth until more than 14 months from now. It’s also true, I can say with substantial certainty, that most of us aren’t yet missing the political ads that saturate the airwaves each time that auspicious day draws near.
That doesn’t mean, however, that this is any time for the electorate to catch a snooze — indeed, quite the opposite.
Several Naperville folks already have lobbed their hats into the next electoral ring. Republican state legislator Darlene Senger declared late last month that she plans to challenge incumbent Democrat Bill Foster, also a Naperville guy, for his seat in Congress next year. Within the following week Grant Wehrli, who in January will mark eight years on the City Council, announced his intention to fill Senger’s seat in the Illinois House.
And The Sun broke the news in the beginning of May that current Councilman Steve Chirico was the earliest bird of them all. That was when Chirico launched his run for the mayor’s office in 2015 — the same year its current occupant, A. George Pradel, will celebrate 20 years at the post. Pradel has said he won’t run again.
Difficult and daunting as it may feel to start noticing public behaviors and reviewing candidate positions anew, we must. And I’m not saying that just because I’m a nosy, bossy reporter.
Sure, as members of the media, we’re attuned to the potential for posturing among public office hopefuls. As best we can, we remain mindful of the ethical dictates of equal time. We sharpen our publicity-mongering senses when those emails start turning up in our inboxes. They’ve been doing that for months already.
But it behooves every last one of us who are fortunate enough to have a voice in the democratic process to pay attention. Even now.
The truth is that, through a concerted nationwide effort, some fairly extreme viewpoints were given the power of local decision making in the consolidated elections last April. Those who mobilized this coast-to-coast electoral push knew that traditionally we don’t pay a lot of attention to the off-year contests, and many positions on township boards, park district commissions and other tax-funded entities go unchallenged. For a lot of seats, the door is wide open to pretty much anybody willing to put in the time. As much as that willingness deserves our collective gratitude, it’s certainly no guarantee that our own voices will be heard — or that, if heard, they’ll be represented in the making of those decisions.
So yes, now’s the time to tune in. The future, alas, is always now.
Darn that déjà vu.