Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A decade later, and Chicago still wonderful; no matter what Trump says

Chicago is a wonderful city – the greatest on the planet, if I may say so myself.

And I say that knowing full well its history of crime, corruption, petty partisan and racial politics and the stench that once emanated from the livestock being slaughtered in the Back of the Yards neighborhood but which now comes from the professional sports teams that dare to represent the image of the Second City.
--An Introduction; December 20, 2007


Chicago's unofficial marquee
It has been a full decade since the date upon which this weblog was created as part of an effort by myself to tell of the wonders of this great city on the shores of Lake Michigan – one that I honestly believe will always be amongst the highlights of our society.

No matter what nonsense Donald Trump may spew in hopes of gaining political support for himself from those people not fortunate enough to have ever lived here, Chicago is a place with unique attributes.

HECK, I’D ARGUE that Trump let his money speak most loudly when he built that self-monickered monstrosity of his along the Chicago River shores. He must have seen a way to make money for himself in our presence, just as many others have done throughout the decades when they chose to relocate here.

This really is a place where people from across the Midwest, and other parts of the globe to be honest, come if they want to reach greater heights than they could ever achieve in their native communities.
Would Trump have built here if Chicago really that awful?
And for those of us who are native to this place, we don’t really see the need to go elsewhere. Or, if you’re like myself, we move off to places like Springfield, Ill., or the District of Columbia – only to find ourselves become the obnoxious guy who’s constantly telling everybody there how wonderful Chicago is, and we find a reason to ultimately come back.

Now, I rarely venture any further east than Gary, Ind., where I happen to do some work for a local newspaper and I see a community that in some ways resembles the hellhole that Trump-ites would like to think Chicago is.
Holy Name, where mob hit once occurred

BUT EVEN THERE, I see what I sense is an overflow of the Chicago spirit in terms of community officials who would be justified in just packing it all in and heading off for places elsewhere. Yet they haven’t written off their chances of someday rebuilding into something significant.

Which is the spirit I most admire of Chicago – certain people who are always looking forward and how to advance our lot in society.

I’m sure some will say that anything Chicago has, New York has in greater quantities. That may even be true to a degree. Yet I don’t know of many Chicagoans who’d make the move. Or if they do, they always find ways of keeping in touch with their roots.

I’d hope that this spirit of Chicago has come through during the past 10 years, which I’ll admit I never envisioned would occur when I first started writing this weblog.

IF ANYTHING, I figured it was a way of expressing some random thoughts – almost like what I’d do if I were seeing a psychiatrist. Only instead of paying a “shrink” a fee for doctor’s visits, I’m posting for free and subjecting readers to my ramblings.

It helped that this weblog coincided with the Barack Obama years, which put a Chicago spin on many of the nation’s and world’s events. Even more so than what usually exists just because of Chicago’s position within society.
Old Gary post office as decrepit as some think Chicago is

Now, we are the target of political potshots – many from people who I sense are jealous of Chicago’s significance in ways their home communities can never be.

Now I’m not going to deny the city’s flaws. We have our self-serving politicos and certain neighborhoods that the masses are more than willing to ignore in so many ways – which results in the higher poverty levels and Gary-Ind.crime rates that the Trump-ites would like to think are typical of Chicago as a whole.

BUT THOSE OF us who get into the spirit of Chicago being a collection of some 120 neighborhoods and sub-communities know that each and every one of us has a unique version of Chicago in our minds. It’s almost as though there are 2.7 million different takes on Chicago – and that’s a good thing.
That Bear wishes he could become a Packer

This city allows all of us to maintain our sense of individuality without being gobbled up into a mass. Which is something I often have sensed of other communities – which are all too eager to tell certain people they “don’t belong.”

Of course, there are certain things that do manage to unite us. Take the aforementioned sports teams that represent Chicago.

We somehow find a way to continue to care about the Chicago Bears, who haven’t had a winning season in oh so long. And that line in the team’s fight song about the team being the “Pride and Joy of Illinois?” It seems like a fantasy that it ever was true.


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