Thursday, October 19, 2023

A silver lining

I have lived in Cook County my entire life. I am aware that in some quarters we are a joke. A hotbed of crime and corruption. We're famous for Sam Giancana and Al Capone. The first Mayor Daley left a complicated legacy. At one point in recent history, we had two former governors in prison at the same time.*

But right now, as I look the politicians who represent me, I am pleased. I believe they do, indeed, represent me.

Governor JB Pritzker was not my first choice when he initially ran in 2018. After Donald Trump, after Bruce Rauner, I was not enthusiastic about a really rich guy with little legislative experience learning the job on my dime. But covid changed me. He took care of us. He brought us through. And today, when the State of Texas is heartlessly sending busload after busload of illegal immigrants up here, he's taking care of this, too. He's coordinating with Catholic Charities, he's confronting the White House, he's using every weapon in his arsenal to protect both Illinois tax payers and the human beings Greg Abbott has tossed away like used Kleenex. It's important to note that Pritzker is the scion of one of America's wealthiest Jewish families. (They own Hyatt Hotels, among other things.) He has been unerringly sensitive during this conflict, using his considerable gravitas and credibility to denounce anti-Palestinian violence.

Senators Durbin and Duckworth make me smile. I used to be a champion letter writer to DC, letting my Senators know how I want them to vote. I don't need to with these two. On the items I care passionately about, they represent me well. On the items I know less about, I trust their judgement. 

President Joe Biden made me proud this week when he flew to Israel. He spoke with compassion, not only for the Israelis but for innocent Palestinians. I appreciated his wisdom and candor when admitted that, after 9/11, America made mistakes. He showed tremendous courage making the trip to a hot war zone (just as he didn't shy away from traveling to Ukraine). 

I left out the representative to Congress because, OK, he's a hack and he's been there so long I think he's gotten lazy. I can't recall the last major piece of legislation he supported, much less co-signed. But as I watch the Republican House of Representatives embarrass themselves, I am grateful I know he'll vote each time for Hakeem Jeffries, an honorable man who is many things but most of all not Jim Jordan.

I know it's become fashionable to denigrate politicians. To complain about the current batch of candidates running for office. But for once, I'm not one of those complainers. I'm grateful for the public servants who are, indeed, serving me.

*Rod Blagojevich was pardoned by President Trump. Just sayin'. Barack Obama, whose senate seat Blago tried to sell, was very willing to just let him serve out his sentence.