Updated: April 3, 2011 12:23AM
On behalf of my fellow long-suffering Illinoisans, I want to thank Wisconsin and Mississippi for taking the national laugh-o-meter spotlight off the Land of Lincoln.
While others may debate the right or wrong of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s actions in Madison, I’m just glad Illinois no longer is the target of snickers from late-night talk show hosts.
From the shenanigans north of the Cheddar Curtain and south of the Mason-Dixon Line, we’re looking pretty tame. This despite the election of a former White House insider to become mayor of Chicago. The national media has yet to bite on the phantom Rahm Emanuel Twitter poster.
Even with the groundwork being laid for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s new trial, Illinois is being ignored. We’ve gone back to becoming just flat land between the two coasts.
There’s no “Governor Kookie” stories. There’s no plans for Blago to be on “Dancing With the Stars” this season, although I’m pretty excited about Ralph “Karate Kid” Macchio being tapped for the ABC-TV reality show.
At long last, we’ve been overtaken as a national joke. And who could ask for a better pair of aces than Wisconsin and Mississippi to take the humorous heat for us.
In the brutal battle over union rights in America’s Dairyland, only could Illinois turn out to be a sane island of sanctuary for a dozen or so Wisconsin Democratic lawmakers who are on the lam somewhere south of Winthrop Harbor.
I have it on good authority that at least two of them have been holed up at Lake County corporate suites, except sources have been sworn to secrecy as to the exact location. This is due to the “wanted dead or alive” bounty the Republican governor has placed on their heads to drag them back to the state for the inevitable vote stripping most public workers of collective bargaining rights.
My guess is the Cheesehead lawmakers are at KeyLime Cove in Gurnee, working on their Lazy River moves in preparation for the summer tour of Wisconsin Dells water parks. I know I would be.
Mississippi is the matching bookend in moving us back into mainstream America and out of the laughingstock bin. About 150 years after it seceded from the Union, the state is considering putting Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest on a license plate.
In Illinois, we have license plates that salute everything from universities to outdoor activities. But in Mississippi, they want the likeness of a man on their vehicle tags who happened to be a slave owner and slave trader back before the Civil War broke out, was a take-no-prisoners Rebel officer during the war and helped found the Ku Klux Klan after the war.
What are they thinking, you might ask? Well, it is Mississippi, after all. These sons — in this case the Mississippi Sons of Confederate Veterans — of the Old South don’t forget that noble cause, excepting it is the 21st century. They even have indoor plumbing now in some parts of Mississippi, or so I am told.
With the Badger State and the Magnolia State on center stage, the Prairie State no longer is the butt of national jibes. At least for the moment.