Yes, Chicago has problems. But no one can convince me this isn’t the greatest city in America.

Every moment people give in to cynical attacks on Chicago — levied for political posturing and nothing else — you’re missing out. Speak well of your city to everyone you know and people will respect it.

SHARE Yes, Chicago has problems. But no one can convince me this isn’t the greatest city in America.
Clouds hang over Chicago’s downtown as a cold front moves in.

Clouds hang over Chicago’s downtown as a cold front moves in.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

I’ve lived in Chicago since I came here for a job in 1985. Being from Los Angeles, I thought I would hate it here. I remember walking to work before dawn on my first day, Dec. 9, 1985, across the Michigan Avenue bridge in howling winds at about 7 degrees, in my new parka.

I thought, “Maybe I can stay here for one year, but definitely not five [my contract].”

After almost 37 years here (with a few ill-advised stints in other towns) no one can convince me that this isn’t the greatest city in America. Do we have some problems we need to get hold of? Yes. Absolutely. Is there a lot of deferred maintenance on public infrastructure since the pandemic? Yep. Education? Crime? Mental health care? Yes, we need some help.

I recently had the sad duty of enrolling my mother in a specialty nursing care facility in Virginia, where I spent some of my childhood. When I gave the hospital staff my address, they all lit up and said how much they wanted to visit Chicago and how it was the next place they wanted to go. Not exaggerating — it really surprised me.

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Is there any place with better music than Chicago? Nope. Is there any place with better food than Chicago? Nope.

Do you like sports, and the camaraderie it builds? Chicago. Creative people, learning and studying? Chicago. Architecture? Chicago. No city in the western hemisphere uses their waterfront better than Chicago. Higher education? Inland beaches? Food and restaurant heaven? Water supply? Central location? Affordability for a big city? Is there any place with a better variety of well-meaning people? I don’t think so.

Every moment people give in to cynical attacks on Chicago — levied for political posturing and nothing else — you’re missing out on enjoying the greatest city in North America. Speak well of your city to everyone you know and people will respect it.

John C. Thomas, Rogers Park

The power of smear campaigns

The J.B. Pritzker vs. Darren Bailey race is one that perfectly encompasses the political state of our nation. Gone are the days of convincing moderates. Now, both candidates are using language to incite and mobilize those who already share their beliefs.

Bailey’s polarizing statements mimic the rhetoric on Fox News and of Donald Trump, catering to the very extremists Gov. Pritzker warns about. He knows these phrases are problematic, he knows they are powerful. That is why he is saying them. Bailey’s statement comparing abortion to the Holocaust panders to voters who likely hold both misogynistic and antisemitic views.

Pritzker is the opposite. His condemnation of assault weapons and impassioned speeches concerning health care rights were never going to draw support from Bailey’s supporters, nor were they ever intended to.

We live in a grim state where the smear ads created by one candidate directly appeal to their opponent’s intended audience.

Sydney Kaplan, Deerfield

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