When Enough is Enough: The Political Circus in Illinois

I hate to write articles complaining about the issues because I’m usually a solutions-oriented person but sometimes, the occasion calls for a little griping.  So, here it goes.  I was scrolling through Facebook today and came across an article written in the Chicago Sun-Times titled, “Gov. Rauner Says Some CPS Schools Almost Like “Crumbling Prisons”.  Curious to know how the governor of Illinois has the unmitigated gall to speak so carelessly on a dilemma that he has a great deal of control over, I read the article.  To my dismay, conversation around the headline was scant and only accompanied by a two-minute YouTube insert while the rest of the editorial covered the exhausting and constant mud slinging between Rauner, Emanuel and Madigan.  MAJOR eye roll.

Here’s my problem with Rauner’s words and, overall, the political climate in Illinois.  First of all, the use of the words “crumbling prisons” in reference to some CPS schools are completely irresponsible.  Secondly, these political antics have gone on for far too long.  Considering the laundry list of issues that need immediate attention, the main topic of conversation continues to be these leaders’ inability to get along- and that’s unacceptable and embarrassing.

Let’s tackle the matter of these “crumbling prisons”.  First, the media is going to be the media and use the most popular tagline to hook the readers—unfortunately we can’t change that.  However, the governor’s description of some CPS schools was inflammatory and must be brought to his attention.  Not trying to put words into Rauner’s mouth but it doesn’t take a genius to figure that he’s probably referring to schools on the south and west sides of Chicago.  These are communities where the quality of education is subpar, resources are lacking and the school to prison pipeline is overwhelmingly prevalent.  These are communities where there’s a possibility that, because of limited economic and educational opportunities, some residents could very well become victims of their circumstances and end up in crumbling prisons.   Yet these are also communities where, despite various conditions, people have dismissed the generalizations and overcome the obstacles to define and become their own success. So please, Governor Rauner, do not sentence us to these “crumbling prisons” you speak of– just do your job and make sure they go away.

Now, in reference to the bickering and power struggles between Rauner, Emanuel and Madigan, I think I speak for the rest of the people of Illinois when I say that we’ve had enough!  Our state is in a crisis in which we have an everlasting budget impasse that’s negatively impacting every service industry. Not to mention the inability to generate new streams of revenue to relieve some of the economic hardships burdening taxpayers.  It’s become painfully obvious that egos have taken precedence over the needs of the people—and instead of witnessing democracy in action, we’re subject to a performance similar to that of a daytime soap opera or reality television show.  And at the end of the day, we’re suffering because of and fed up with it.
For a state that has been revered for its rich history, with a multitude of available resources, diverse constituency, and colorful politics, Illinois is seriously lagging behind.  This political drama is played out, the inequities are intolerable, and your personal views on certain demographics are offensive and harmful.  While some may regret their initial decision, you were voted into office to represent everyone’s best interests.  And again, we just ask that you do your jobs with humility and compassion, and without bias and judgment for the sake of our quality of life.

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Tanesha Peeples

South Side community leader Tanesha Peeples is a Chicago Public Schools alumna and proud Englewoodian. She currently serves on the board of the Montessori School of Englewood. Formerly, she served the Deputy Director of Outreach for Education Post, for whom she penned the long-running column Hope and Outrage. As an undergraduate student at Northern Illinois University, Tanesha began to develop a passion for and understand the importance of public service. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration, she returned to Chicago with a new perspective on community, politics and civic engagement. Tanesha then attended and graduated from DePaul University with a master’s degree in public service management and urban planning and development. Throughout her professional career, Tanesha has used her education, passion and experience to navigate a number of nonprofit, political and independent ventures, advancing her mission to educate and empower marginalized populations. Prior to joining Education Post, she also managed her own consulting firm specializing in community relations. Tanesha’s vision is one where everyone—regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender or zip code—can have access to a comfortable quality of life and enjoy the freedoms and liberties promised to all Americans. Find her on Twitter at @PeeplesChoice85.