When I lived in Chicago's 24th Ward, it was the most beautifully, generously corrupt political jurisdiction in America. In every election the dead and departed voted alongside the winos hauled in for the day and the fearful, sometimes hungry, still-striving citizens of the Great Depression. In our precinct, on West Congress Street, some of those who came to vote in the basement of Marty O'Brien's house had been among the poorest of the poor. Our neighbors, who with such diligence marked their ballots for the Democratic ticket, remembered the food riots, for some of them had fought for the scraps that tumbled out of the garbage trucks and into the starving crowds who gathered like beasts in the city dump.
- From New American Blues: A Journey Through Poverty to Democracy by Earl Shorris (1997)