Chicagoans have witnessed more than their share of political upheavals since the jubilant and historic election of our first African American President in 2008, President Barack Obama. Over the course of this last year there has been the very public impeachment and eventual indictment of our former Governor, Rod Blagojevich and recently the announcement from Mayor Richard Daley that he won’t be seeking re-election for a 7th term. These shakeups in a city known for its pizza, football and politics cause a lot of people to wonder about the state of affairs in the “Windy City.”
In his new book, BACKSTABBERS: The Reality Of Politics, Rickey R. Hendon, a Democratic Senator serving the West side of Chicago’s 5th district, opens a door and allows readers access to the reality of this city’s ‘politics.’ While reading the book, it becomes clear that politics is a game meant for winners. One of Senator Hendon’s people working in his campaign camp put it this way; “Learn how to play chess and then you will understand what the political game is all about.” The book breaks down the how tos of selecting a candidate, obtain valid voters, become a visible force in campaign strategy and essentially deal with the expected competitive low down tactics from an opposing camp’s volunteers, political opponents and friends.
Although Senator Hendon does state instances of backstabbing from some of his most respected allies (so he thought at the time) and name names, he explains that he’s not all about bashing his political foes, friends and co-horts because he is still a political figure and have to work with these same people; His sentiments ? “There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, just permanent interests.” He caustions people interested in running for office how political strategies change, but the science essentially stays the same.
The book offers lessons on politics from the ground up. Senator Hendon has brought his years of being in public office, running political campaigns for others and winning 14 elections to the forefront in BACKSTABBERS. Portions of this book will grab you when you least expect it. Although it seemingly exposes this dog-eat-dog aspect of the political world, it also serves to remind us of how a political campaign when run for all the right reasons and wins; Can become the most fulfilling, yet humbling experience for a candidate.
If you’re seeking advice about political aspirations; how to run a campaign, how to win, or just want to learn about Chicago politics, BACKSTABBERS; The Reality Of Politics is a good place to start . As Senator Hendon states so eloquently in his book: A politician issues a birth certificate when you’re born, a death certificate when you die and every document in between. Everybody is affected by politics, so you may as well get involved.”
Clara54’s review of this book was previously published in the Chicago Independent Bulletin Newspaper.
This review is as relevant today as it was in 2010!