Voters decide to try a different flavor of Kool-Aid

Opinion

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JOHN HUBBUCH, Columnist

Not since April 1865 when Lee surrendered at Appomatox Court House and Lincoln was shot has there been such a momentous month. Terry Schiavo, the Pope and the VMA all died.

As for Ms. Schiavo, as well documented in a recent South Park episode, my greatest concern is not that my loved ones will decide to prolong my persistent vegetative state, but that that woeful state will somehow be televised repeatedly all over the world.

As for the Pope, I did think his death, wake and funeral went on a bit too long, but I suppose being the spiritual leader of a billion souls is a big deal. Why he even got more coverage than Lady Di. The two had a lot in common: both traveled widely; both are important to their country's tourism; and both had their crosses to bear?#34;his, the sins of humanity; hers, Prince Charles.

I thought there could have been more coverage about the Popemobile. There is talk about speeding up the Pope's path to sainthood. Fine, but only so long as Michael Jordan doesn't have to wait any longer to get into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The demise of VMA was a big story?#34;kind of like the tearing down of the Berlin Wall ("Mr. Pope, tear down that wall!").

(I should mention that Mr. Geoff Baker was the only candidate to respond to my invitation to participate in the John Hubbuch Forum which was the subject of my pre-election column last month. So I voted for him, and he won. Future candidates will avoid my forum at their peril.)

We're left to explain just how could 50 years of VMA electoral hegemony be so dramatically wiped away in one day. Inevitably, and in the absence of good exit polls, there are a number of speculations:

One would be that the NLP (National Liberation Party?) had the better candidates with the better vision. Possible, but since no one I knew had ever heard of any of their candidates except for Mr. Milstein and Ms. Patchak-Layman, who both lost, I kind of doubt it.

Then, there is the theory that groups of single-issue voters, angry with the VMA, coalesced around NLP candidates?#34;a kind of revenge vote. This theory suggests that anti-smokers, Barrie Parkers, Tower opposers, dog lovers, local merchants, NIMBYs, Luddites, utopians, vegans, those in a persistent vegan state, and ultra-marathoners grew angry as things didn't go their way over the many years of the VMA reign and eventually little trickles of dissatisfaction became a Mississippi of rejection.

Could be.

My theory is that the VMA was, in a way, a victim of its historical successes. With the community threatened by white flight in the 1960s, smart resourceful people under the VMA banner came up with a way for Oak Park to stabilize and eventually flourish. When was the last time you heard the word "tipping" in a demographic context?

A majority of voters understood that the VMA was partially responsible for this success and either out of a sense of rewarding the VMA or fear of the unfamiliar, voters regularly voted for VMA-endorsed candidates, even though those voters may have had misgivings or questions.

However, by 2005 the future of Oak Park seems so bright voters could vote for new candidates not endorsed by VMA. It was just time for something new and different.

I used to love grape Kool-Aid. I drank it whenever I could. One day I decided that I didn't like grape Kool-Aid so much. I just got tired of it. So I tried cherry.

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