Thursday, November 24, 2011

Be thankful for Da Bears – Decatur’s lone “contribution” to our society

Bill Mitchell and Adam Brown are a pair of Illinois legislators from the area around Decatur, Ill. – that central Illinois city that can account for one contribution that many in our society dearly appreciate.

If they want us to secede, why do they claim ties to our city's team?

I’m referring to the Chicago Bears. The professional football team that began its life as the company team of the A.E. Staley Co. and, after one year of existence in Decatur, came to Chicago and took on their current identity.

ASIDE FROM THAT, however, I don’t know where anyone from Decatur gets off being so snotty as to come up with a resolution for consideration by the Illinois General Assembly that would break Cook County away from Illinois and turn it into its own state.

Of course, considering that almost half of Illinois’ population resides in Cook County and is the home of many of Illinois’ greatest assets, one could make an argument that a state of Cook (or a state of Chicago, if you will) would be more significant than what is left of Illinois.

When one considers that the five surrounding counties, along with some of the extra areas on the fringe, are so tied into the Chicago area that they would find it in their advantage to become a part of the state of Chicago rather than remaining with Illinois, one wonders what these people could seriously be thinking.

If this were to ever happen (and I’ll predict now that it has a 0.000000001 percent chance of becoming reality), Illinois would find itself dropping in significance so far down that the people who pushed for this would rue the day that they ever seriously got secession talk flowing.
MITCHELL: National attention ...

BUT IT’S NOT going to happen, and the two legislators who are sponsoring this measure know full well that is the case.

This is one of those ideas that gets brought up by people who want to complain for a day or two and vent their rage – before piping down again to fight another day.

Perhaps it is the perpetual odor that emanates from the A.E. Staley plant on the edge of town (the soybeans that give Decatur its unique form of stink) that have somehow addled their judgment.

BROWN: ... of the wrong kind

Or maybe I just look down on Decatur because I know my collegiate alma mater, Bloomington-based Illinois Wesleyan University, can kick Millikin University’s collective butt (the two schools are arch-rivals) any time at anything.

BECAUSE INSTEAD OF trying to figure out how to unify the parts of Illinois and use the assets of having the most significant Midwestern U.S. city within their state’s boundaries (which is what makes Illinois a more important place than states such as Indiana, Iowa or Michigan, to name a few), they want to cut themselves off from reality. They're as ridiculous as those baseball fans who think that the key to restoring "balance" to the game is to impose restrictions on wealthy clubs so that everybody is reduced to the level of a Pittsburgh or Kansas City.

Now as one who, between college and working in the capital city, can claim to have lived in “the rest of” Illinois for 11 of the total years of my life (just under one quarter), I realize that a lot of the jokes that get told by urbanites (not Urbana-ites) about “downstate Ilinois” miss the point.

Then again, I also realize that there are some people who choose to have their lives down there because they like the sense of isolation that one can feel living in one of those places that thinks Decatur (pop. 76,122) is a Big City.

But then they resent the fact that their isolation cuts them off from influence. Chicago’s mentality has come to dominate the state because of the fact that 45 percent of the state’s people live in Cook County, and that about 65 percent of Illinoisans are Chicago-area, first and foremost.

I’D ARGUE THAT if people like Mitchell and Brown want seriously to have more influence, let them move up our way. We’d welcome them, and help them “see the light,” so to speak.

And if they decide they’d rather enjoy the benefits of their rural Illinois isolation, then I want them to pipe down and quit complaining about its drawbacks.

Because all this really does is manage to create a sense of embarrassment for our public image.
Even Green Bay, Wis., kept the NFL longer than Decatur


WHEN ROBIN MEADE, the one-time WMAQ-TV cutie who now anchors the CNN Headline morning newscast, spends her time on-air taking potshots at our politics (as she did Wednesday morning), then you know that a new low has been reached.

Even lower than Blagojevich (as in Milorod).

So as far as what the “Gentlemen from Macon” (as in county, the home of Decatur) think, I may actually care less than what they think of what my Chicago brethren think.

Maybe they should follow the one-time Decatur Staleys, who decided some 90 years ago that life was brighter in the Illinois metropolis on the shores of Lake Michigan.


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