It is axiomatic to say that it’s hard to recognize you are in a golden age while you are in one. Chicago: we are in a golden age of civic engagement. Treasure it, build it, please don’t let it go.
Today is election day in Chicago. I strongly urge you to vote to retain our Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, in office. He’s earned more time. In the last six weeks I’ve written much about why I support him, on this website and on social media. Please vote today for Rahm Emanuel.
It has been a stressful six weeks. I’ve stuck my neck out for this guy, personally. And that is part of the golden age. I’ve seen hundreds of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, supporters of both candidates, do the same. Taking stands, with integrity, openly, and with love.
I’ve reviewed budget books for the last four years to check facts on funding levels for the Chicago Public Library. I’ve looked up the ordinance covering the Inspector General’s authority. I’ve seen, finally, more media voices in the coverage of TIF spending. I’ve seen more real talk about the pension crisis than I’ve heard, ever. I’ve listened to people peppering the Mayor with tough questions at a get-out-the-vote event. Watched debate after debate.
I’ve participated in Twitter fights. I’ve defended my vote on long Facebook threads, and watched as friends have done the same. All of this with respect, and the unquestioned understanding that it won’t affect our real relationships.
I’ve watched with growing awe at the early voting numbers, brought to me by Aldertrack, a service I’ve seen grow over the last eight years into an essential tool for the people of this city. They cover everything, every race, with the detail and attention each ward— each precinct— each person, deserves.
I’ve seen one candidate promise to listen more and the other promise to figure out what’s going on if elected. I strongly prefer the one in office, the one who already knows what he’s talking about, the one who I believe can guide us out.
But the last six weeks, the rest of us have learned— or remembered— that we have the knowledge, the power, and the tools to hold everyone to their promises. Let’s not stop.