I have to admit to being somewhat impressed by the amount of activity that is taking place across Indiana this year with regards to celebrating that state’s Bicentennial – as in 200 years since it became a part of the United States.
Taking a look at the state’s official travel guide, I see lengthy lists of places and events all across the Hoosier state that are of interest and worthy of being checked out – particularly by our local people in search of a cheap vacation trip.
IT SEEMS THAT Indiana is taking seriously the idea that 2016 is a significant event in their state’s history – one worthy of celebration.
I particularly get a kick out of the idea of the Bicentennial torch relay – which will be taken on a 3,200-mile trip passing through all 92 counties across the state. A running countdown on the VisitIndiana.com website even tells us it’s 50 days and counting until this trek begins.
Personally, I’d like to think all of this activity will be put to shame come 2018 – which is the year that Illinois celebrates its Bicentennial of admission to the United States (Indiana is state number 18 in the order of admission, with Illinois right behind it at 19).
Yet shamefully enough, it seems like we’re going to get skunked by our neighbors to the east; and not just because some Illinois long-based ice cream stand chose to move to a town on the Indiana side of State Line Road. It seems that any efforts for preparation for our big event have been lagging behind for so long it’s a wonder if anything will get done in time for the big event.
AND YES, THESE things usually take some time to plan if they’re to be done properly.
I couldn’t help but notice the Capitol Fax newsletter, which on Tuesday pointed out a Peoria Journal-Star news story about how our state’s Bicentennial Commission hasn’t planned a thing. In fact, it hasn’t even met since it was created back in 2014.
Part of the problem is that it was created by former Gov. Pat Quinn, and I can see where current Gov. Bruce Rauner has been preoccupied with other problems and issues (mostly of his own making) to be too concerned about the celebration.
The Capitol Fax newsletter also points out the amount of activity that has gone into the renovation of the Executive Mansion in Springfield, which admittedly is desperately in need of repair. Could this be a distraction?
THE BUILDING THAT serves as the state’s official residence and home of the governor when he’s in the capital city had been allowed to deteriorate significantly during Quinn’s time in office, and perhaps he deserves some blame for that.
But if it turns out that our state’s Bicentennial comes and goes without much of anything to acknowledge it, then that will be something that will be put to blame on the current governor.
After all, it will occur on his watch as governor. In fact, it could be his chance to show off the things he’d like to have remembered as accomplishments. Unless he’s satisfied with having a historic legacy of being yet another guy who quarreled with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago – and lost!
You’d think this would be a time we’d want to show off our many assets. Heck, it could be the moment when Illinois’ parts outside of Chicago get to display themselves proudly.
THE STATE COULD let people know there really are assets in the rest of the state – and perhaps that old “A million miles from Monday” slogan the state used to use to promote downstate tourism wasn’t a total crock.
Instead, we seem content to let Indiana show us up; which really is a sad display.
It makes me wonder if the spirit of Abraham Lincoln truly is gone from our state. What would Honest Abe be doing since that roll over he allegedly did in his grave in response to Rod Blagojevich?
Would it be enough to make him reclaim his Hoosier roots and want to abandon the state that considers itself to be his land?