Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Time is Now

For myriad reasons, my blogging output has obviously been lacking of late. But an article that I read today has drawn me back to the keyboard. Mike Lawrence, of whom I have always been a fan, (and who just stepped down as the Director of SIU's Paul Simon Policy Institute), does a fine job of eloquently setting forth the dire state in which our state finds itself.
Illinois is drifting toward a mediocrity that could deny our kids and grandkids the economic opportunity and quality of life that have lifted generation after generation in this heartland hub. Yet, most residents do not sense the urgency, do not understand the depth and breadth of an unprecedented budgetary meltdown and do not trust their leaders any more than their leaders trust each other.
Mike goes on to succinctly distill the nature of the situation, building up to this penultimate paragraph.
To move forward resolutely will require courageous, forthright and cooperative leadership — in other words, the opposite of the paralyzing dysfunction that has marked and marred the last several years. It will not be easy, given the toxic breakdown of trust among the key players and the public’s disgust with them. But all of us who want a first-rate state must demand a new attitude in Springfield.
Not surprisingly, Mike hit it on the head.

Our state, both its citizens and its infrastructure, needs help. It doesn't need pandering, nor strategies borne of fear of political reprisals. If ever there were a time, a need, for bold and decisive leadership, that time is now.

The members of the General Assembly are uniquely empowered as stewards for Illinois' well-being. We, all of us, must see the troubled times in which we find ourselves, not as a daunting obstacle, but as an opportunity to be seized upon.

It is the time for ideas aimed at shaping our state for the next generation, rather than for the next election cycle.

Illinois residents from Galena to Chicago to Cairo, are in this together. Our children, our businesses, our future - all of them depend upon the ability of legislators to set aside geographic and partisan divides and make the tough decisions that are required by tough times.

As a nation, Americans resoundingly answered the question of 'can we do it?' by shouting 'Yes We Can'.

When we in Illinois face the question of 'will we do it?', our only reply can be 'Yes We Must'.

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