Disillusionment and Disappointment in Chicago

“You can’t take politics so personally, they are just politics…” A friend said to me. I was visibly upset and furthermore feeling physically ill at the thought of it all.Chicago had just had its mayoral election – the first in which a Daley was NOT running in 22 years. The City was up for grabs.
In the last wide-open mayoral race for the city of Chicago two decades ago, 68 percent of voters showed up to vote. Yesterday, only 41 percent of registered voters bothered to show up to vote at all. This is the first time in my lifetime that Chicago will have a new mayor and 60 percent of registered voters can’t even bother to show up?!?!I’m angry; I’m really angry. It’s been a long time since a social/political issue has upset me so much personally and visibly altered my state of being. Candidates were conceding only one hour after the polls had closed.

This is not a blog post about my political views or who I thought should have won in this. I had simply hoped to see all candidates’ ideas presented challenged a bit more to artfully construct a blueprint with various viewpoints of the greatness that Chicago could be. I wanted the ideas and proposals for this great city to be subject to public approval. I wanted to be engaged. I wanted to learn more about the candidates’ plans. I wanted to be spoken to and I wanted to be inspired.

My hopes were crushed around 8p.m. driving to an election party when the news broke that Rahm Emmanuel had won the election with more than 50 percent of the vote and therefore no run-off was necessary.

It’s not the results that bothered me so much. It’s the fact that less than a month ago the world watched full of hope for the Middle East as Egypt was emancipated from a government they had not chosen. They protested out in the streets for weeks. Many people sacrificed so much just to exercise the one right we Americans deem inalienable and yet cannot muster to do on a cold day in February.

Vote.

Maybe it’s the recent travel and conversations with people that will never know the privilege of living in this country that has me much more sensitive to the global world around me these days. Or maybe it’s the patriot inside of me that will defend this country with my dying breath wherever I am. Whatever it is, I am disappointed in my fellow Chicagoans and frankly, I do not know how they can ever make it up to me or to other voting citizens of this great city. We deserve better.

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