Another Facebook post from last Saturday, January 30th, as I considered how we make change in our dysfunctional Chicago systems.
“Just talked to Alderman John Arena at the opening of Pinocchio at Filament Theatre. Talked through the layoffs and teachers contract, and how I thought CPS only cared about money (He claimed that every day of operation costs CPS $10 million so a 8-day teachers strike could “save” CPS $80 million, even with make-up school days), our political climate, and the sad state that #HomanSquare was glossed over and it took the storm of#BlackLivesMatter and many, many protests shutting down the city, execution, and cover-up of #LaquanMcDonald getting shot by police to get coverage on the outrageous criminal justice system. Talked through with him and his wife about how amazing Susan Sadlowski Garza is, and how the on-the-ground work of canvassing and getting to know the political process is exciting. Also about how ridiculously complacent people were under Daley that led to this in the first place. Talked about how electioneering went on everywhere, including when Dianne Daleiden was running against Pat O’Connor, and O’Connor’s guys were running around electioneering.
I’ve been very disillusioned by this process and this government as of late, but I’m glad to have people like Arena, Scott Waguespack, Sue Garza, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Will Guzzardi, who represent us now, and the countless others who’ve run and who are running, like Timothy Meegan, Zerlina Smith, Tammie Vinson, Dianne Daleiden, Theresa Mah, Anne Shaw, Byron Sigcho, and Pete DeMay, amongst others. And, of course, those who help them get elected like Brian Cerullo, Melissa Rubio, Thomas Pietrzyk, Liz Brown, others.
“Maybe you’ll run for political office one of these days,” Arena told me near the end of our conversation. My boyfriend agreed completely and said he would back me if I ever decide to run- “Ten years from now, Annie, you’ll be ready and perfect for political office. You stand up for what you believe in.” While I don’t think I’d want to or be good at political office, I’m glad I have people who believe in me. And regardless of what happens in the future, I’m glad for what Chicago has taught me- push for the best people who actually put boots and ears to the ground, understand the issues, and will rep everyone. My friends teach me everyday that, if you can’t find anyone to run, do it yourself.”