Sidewalks are for walking, skateboarders

It’s great that skateboarders got a splendid skateboard park in the far-south end of Grant Park and that it’s so well used.

I wish they would walk their skateboards to the park, though.

The park is only two blocks from my home, so skateboarders coming and going are a regular presence. They share the sidewalks with us pedestrians. Many’s the time one has whizzed past me from behind, and I wonder what might have happened if I’d stepped to the right or the left at that moment.

In response to my inquiry, the Fourth Ward alderman’s office confirmed that there have been complaints about skateboarders on the sidewalks, and the staff is working with the police “to see what can be done.”

Last weekend I expanded my complaints to drivers of the pedicabs that are popping up more and more. The weather was beautiful, and lots of people were out enjoying it. I decided to take a walk across the 11th Street bridge to the Museum Campus and the lake. The drivers of pedicabs were weaving around pedestrians at speeds that seemed excessive, considering the crowds.

An accident in the waiting, I thought. Sidewalks are meant for pedestrians.

Are you becoming a grouchy old lady?, I ask myself. Well, I am becoming an old lady, and so these nonpedestrians in my path scare me.



In the many how-did-this-happen pieces I’ve read since Donald Trump’s election, one that struck a chord with me was by a liberal Democrat whose daughter may have voted for Trump.

Her daughter — a college-educated professional — follows her husband’s lead in most everything, the mother said.

“Where did the feminist in me go wrong?,” the mother asked.

That lament made me recall how disappointed my mother was when I didn’t follow her example. Religion, women staying home to raise children, and keeping close to family were her three primary values. She must have asked herself how she went wrong when her oldest daughter married a non-Catholic, left the church, moved 600 miles away, spoke in favor of the burgeoning women’s movement, and didn’t produce grandchildren.

My eyes were opened to the mistake of my marriage, and I left after four years. I consoled myself with reminders that I had poor judgment but right values — independence, self-determination, women’s equality. What I must have communicated to my mother was that I felt more enlightened than she.

Isn’t that the very kind of superior attitude that turned the white working class against the Democratic Party?

As I think about the election from that perspective, I get confused. We liberals are right to denounce bigotry. How are we supposed to avoid alienating prejudiced people when we condemn prejudice?

Some analysts say it wasn’t bigotry, it was the economy that drove the white working class to Trump. Working-class whites feel left behind. Maybe, but if you can vote for Trump, you can’t feel too turned off by bigotry.

Sunday’s Tribune contained an in-depth article about racial tension in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood, where African American activists are protesting the shooting death of a young black man by off-duty Chicago police, and whites are coming out to support the police.

Mount Greenwood is 86.5 percent white, according to the article. Its average income is nearly $90,000, almost double that of the city as a whole. Of the community’s 19 precincts, 13 voted 60 percent or more for Trump. No other precinct in Chicago voted for Trump in such numbers.

Mount Greenwood residents insisted to the reporters that they aren’t bigoted. So, if not bigotry or economic insecurity, what was behind the overwhelming support for Trump?

As the Democratic Party grapples with how to move forward, maybe some wise thinkers will advise us how to hate the sin but love the sinner. For now, I am stymied.


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