I was interested to read about the the dust-up between Cook County Commissioner William Beavers and the head of the juvenile jail, Earl Dunlap. Apparently Dunlap once testified before the County Board in clothing that was a bit too casual for Beaver’s taste: a white polo shirt tucked into his Dockers. Here’s an exchange between the two as described in the Sun-Times:
“Do you own a suit?” Beavers asked Earl Dunlap in 2008 as he lectured that “your appearance commands respect” and told him he’s “supposed to be a role model.”
That exchange apparently was the beginning of bad blood between the two. And there’s a picture of Dunlap in the Sun-Times as he was dressed that day and I have to admit he does not sport a fastidious look. Beavers, on the other hand, is a snappy dresser–always in a suit complete with pocket square.
Beavers is not exactly considered a reformer and once famously referred to himself as the “hog with the big nuts.” But he did strike a chord with me regarding dress standards in general. For example, when I’ve covered trials in federal court, I’m amazed at how some jurors dress. Not that men have to wear suits and ties, but please, t-shirts with text? Guys, is it too much to wear a nice pair of slacks and a dress shirt? And, ladies, a Bears sweatshirt is fine for raking leaves, but maybe you can take it up a notch when you’re going downtown to temporarily be part of the federal judiciary system.
Given his reputation, Beavers has no credibility with you? Don’t buy anything that comes out of his mouth? Just remember this: even a broken clock is right twice a day.