Chicago I love you, but you need help


Centrist in Chicago


For as long as I can remember, I’ve always be in awe of the majestic city of Chicago.  As a small boy growing up in the repressive suburbs, I used to look at Chicago as the Emerald City at the end of the yellow brick road.  I always believed it was this shiny beautiful place where anyone could go to have their dreams come true and offer a life full of infinite possibility.

As an adult, I now know that there is no such place as heaven nor perfection, but I can’t help loving the grand old city of Chicago.  Until a few years ago, I’d forgotten my old childhood dream of living in Chicago until one day I decided I’d get a job and move back to the city again.  After a little effort, I managed to succeed and moved myself back over two years ago.

I still love living in the city, but I know it’s hard to convince those that don’t live within the city limits of my love of the city, especially when reports of 60+ shootings happen in a single weekend.  How can you explain that most of the shootings are confined to certain sections of the city that are south and west of Downtown Chicago (and that you live north of the city).  When you read the media, our president, and other outsiders refer to our city as ‘Shitcago’, you just sigh and hold your head up high and proclaim your everlasting love of the city.

For me, I love the fact that I don’t have to own a car at all.  I have quick access to grocery stores, restaurants, coffee houses, bars, clubs, churches, etc within blocks of where I live.  I love the feel of my hair as I bike along the streets of the city, as well as, lying on the beach reading a book on a sunny day.

Where there is light, there is sure to be darkness lurking on the other side of the looking glass.  Chicago has wonderful traits, but it also has a host of other issues preventing it from being a perfect city to live.  Property taxes are high, rents keep climbing, crime is always a guarantee no matter where in the city you live, and there are racial/economical inequalities all over the place.  There is a strong possibility that Chicago will start to resemble San Francisco in the next several years in terms of super wealthy and homeless without the strong backbone of the middle class to support the fragile ecosystem of Chicago life.

Some people think the police are the problem, but I’ve been seeing some reforms being put into place that could possibly be causing crime to increase again (crimes have been steadily increasing since 2015/6 in Chicago after police reforms started to be enforced.. who knows if there is a connection, or if crime would have increased anyway).  Others blame the mayor and I will admit seeing him speak once where he made wisecracks about the current President (In my view, both the Mayor and the President sound like two boys having a pissing contest on the playground, but that is a topic for another day) and not answering questions about how to handle the pension obligation issues, the inequality of the CPS, and the growing crime problem.  While I’m not a fan of the President, I don’t think it’s smart to be slamming the President when your city has been making the news due to the # of shootings and not because of positive developments within the city.

Yes, I think the fault lies with the residents of the city, and their continual voting to keep the same people in office for far too long.  The primaries earlier this year had record low turnouts and I think those are even more important than mid-terms or even the Presidential/Mayor elections, imho.   The primaries are the time where you can vote who you want to run for those particular elections.  If you don’t vote in the primaries than you really have no business complaining about who the final candidates are, but that’s just my opinion.

chicago2I guess what I’m trying to say is that despite some long simmering issues within the sociological framework of the city, I can’t help but love the city.  As a single gay guy, I feel lucky that I don’t have that agonizing choice over where to raise my kids (you know… city vs. suburb) because I don’t have any.  In a way, I have the greatest privilege of them all… being single and able to move when my lease is up if I so choose without having to sell a place or consider a family in my decision.



Filed under: Musings

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