Now that we’ve said goodbye to 2022, it’s easy to see the past year as a snapshot of a historic period of great change. But change from what to what?
It was a year of triumphs, regrets, divisions and conflicts, sprinkled with hopes for better times.
Got to see more of our faces, yes it was nice.
It didn’t take long for civilization to face a new evil, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But under the leadership of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainians responded with a courageous defiance.
At the end of the year, we Americans are left with the usual parade of winners and losers in politics, America’s national pastime outside of sports.
Midterm election years have brought new parades of winners and losers to politics in Chicago and Illinois, and often new reasons to ask yourself, “What the hell were they thinking?”
And will they face justice for it?
Illinois House Speaker and Illinois Democratic Party Speaker Mike Madigan was indicted by a federal grand jury in early March on 22 counts of extortion and bribery.
Often dubbed the “velvet hammer” and “the true governor of the state,” Madigan, 80, will step down under pressure in 2021, making him the most successful leader of any state or federal legislative body in the history of the nation. I finished my position as a long-serving person. He has held the chairmanship except for his two years from 1983 until his 2021.
The indictment alleges that an acquitted Southwest Side Democrat organized an illegal bribery scheme in exchange for influence over favorable laws in Springfield. He also accuses him of using his position of authority to solicit business for his private property tax law firm.
Longevity has also turned into an indictment against another Southwestern Democratic powerhouse. Aldo. Edward He Burke of the 14th Ward declined to run for his 14th term after serving on the City Council for more than half a century, ending his standing as the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history.
In 2019, he was indicted on federal racketeering, bribery and corruption charges and repeatedly asked to resign, but that didn’t stop him from winning re-election in 2019, which Burke did. I decided to stop. His constituency was significantly redrawed after his 2020 census, with more than 88% Latinos, making it difficult for him to win again, even if he tried for re-election.
With Burke’s trial set for November 6, many Chicagoans have been reminded of how Burke received special attention in Chicago’s political history following the election of Mayor Harold Washington in 1983. I was. Edward Vrdolyak, Burke, led a bloc of white aldermen, sabotaging the initiative of the city’s first black mayor at every turn.
Vrdolyak, who recently turned 85, was released early from federal prison in April after serving nearly five months of an 18-month prison term on a tax-related conviction. His sentence, which was moved to a deportation facility for health reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to expire in March.
The apparent demise of Vrdolyak and Burke’s political careers feels like the end of an era in the history of the city’s legendary corrupt “mine” insider politics. It’s not the end. It only reminds us of the old adage that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. It is also the price of good government.
But on the better side of Chicago politics, our award for meritorious longevity means that in 2021, we will retire after serving 24 years as the state’s longest-serving and first African-American Secretary of State. It is presented to Secretary of State Jesse White who made the announcement.
Respected in Springfield on both sides of the aisle — how often do you hear that said about politicians these days? — White is one of the most famous politicians in the state’s history and, according to reputation, definitely one of the most popular.
By reducing long lines, setting up online and phone appointments, and making it easier for seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women and veterans to move to the front of the line for service, he said. , alleviating the burden of the dreaded trip to a driver service facility.
White said in one note to Good News that he plans to spend more time with Jesse White Tumbler after he retires. We have provided after-school character-building activities to thousands of young people and entertained crowds with parades and neighborhood events around town.
In a recent interview, when asked how his fellow politicians could do better, he offered the following simple advice. ”
so true. Unfortunately, we don’t often see such simple truths in action in today’s politics.
Instead, take advantage of public forums, from Congress to social networks, to help fellow Americans find common ground and serve the common good, instead of winning cheap victories and making their own money. There is growing cynicism about narrow interests to fertilize.
We salute Mr. White and wish him a long, healthy and busy retirement and all the better for our city and state.
In retrospect, it’s easy to think that 2022 will be a year to live with nerves, with the threat of rebellion and intergroup clashes at home and global warfare raging abroad.
And yet, at our best, we Americans look to the sense of optimism that has bound our country and politics long enough to resist the narrow interests that divide us, and our diverse We look at many things that are common to society.
And as 2023 begins, with this fundamental possibility and camaraderie, we fully express our hope for better times ahead.
Happy new year!
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