In crowded race to replace Bobby Rush, skip personal attacks and petty politics
When we go low, no one wins. People and families are hurt, voters become disengaged, and ultimately, our community loses.
This week, the race to replace Congressman Bobby Rush commences. As with any race for a seat to replace a long-time incumbent, many good people with a long track record of serving the Black community and the greater South Side have demonstrated interest. How we approach the next 16 weeks will either create great momentum for change, or great community angst and brokenness. It is up to us to choose which one.
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Politics can strain the strongest relationships. Many of the announced candidates are friendly with one another and have multiple-decade relationships. The Black community in Chicago is a closely connected network. People with multiple friends in the race have been struggling with how to either divide their support or pick one candidate while not angering the others. Those in the business world are wrestling with the desire to financially support candidates without hurting their business interests.
These tensions can destroy years of good will on the South Side. If not handled correctly, the next four months could permanently scar an already fragile Black community.
That’s why I am raising my hand and asking other candidates to join me in elevating the tone and discourse of this campaign.
Most of us generally agree on issues that affect the 1st Congressional District. Whether it is voting rights protection, student loan forgiveness, health and pay equity, education and youth investment or crime reduction, our positions are not radically different. Our differences lie in our background, experience, and the approach we would bring to the office. We should use all legal means to make our distinctions as candidates clear to the public. We should vigorously debate our differences. But we must not lower ourselves to demeaning personal attacks to score political points. When we go low, no one wins. People and families are hurt, voters become disengaged, and ultimately, our community loses.
Let us aspire to a higher level of conversation. We can make our best case to voters without diminishing anyone else’s work. If friends choose not to support us, let’s encourage them to show up to vote anyway. Our entire community will win with this approach.
That’s the victory we should all be fighting for anyway.
Jonathan Swain, candidate for Congress, Illinois 1st Congressional District
Trading places with Ukraine?
While the price of gas has reached $4.10 per gallon on average in the United States, it is not at an all-time high when adjusted for inflation. That distinction would go to July 2008, when gas would have been $5.20 in 2022 dollars. We could very well top that when the United States cuts off Russian oil supplies, which I believe we should. Americans, and especially our European allies, almost certainly will pay more at the pumps in the upcoming weeks and months.
Higher gas and energy costs are a small price to pay in order to defend freedom and democracy from an all-out invasion of a sovereign nation. So the next time you’re at the pumps and shaking your head as the dollars tick by, ask yourself: Would I trade places with the people of Ukraine? I’m certain they wouldn’t hesitate to change places with us.
Tom Scorby, St. Charles