We don't intend for this to sound like a broken record …
Oh, wait a minute. That's exactly what we intend. We’re still going to insist that work be done.
Illinois dysfunctional Bruce Rauner-led government structure has been retrofitted. That's the good news.
The Democrats are in charge of the Senate and House and hold the governor's seat. That has the potential to be good or bad news.
The last time a Democrat governor was elected, he was impeached. Rod Blagojevich is in the eighth year of his 14-year prison sentence.
Advancing the state beyond a standstill would feel like a victory after close to a decade of childishness in Springfield. The amount of time feels even longer than that. Anyone who remembers a time when they felt Illinois was on a track to prosperity is either old, unreasonable or has a good imagination.
Illinois is a diverse state, one difficult to easily categorize or represent. The northeast corner of the state is one of the most important cities in the world. Manufacturing and agriculture in the state both feeds the world and provides it goods. The citizenry represents right and left at extremes, and splinter groups separating themselves from the two primary parties are growing in numbers.
That's the citizenry that elected Democrats to lead all three branches of state government.
Democrats, naturally enough, are in a celebratory mood. House Speaker (apparently for life) Michael Madigan took a victory lap Tuesday, crowing about how Democrats emerged victorious in an “epic struggle.” State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, was a bit more reserved when he spoke after the inauguration of “fresh faces and new ideas after four years of gridlock” and said he intended to continue “reaching across the aisle.”
Let's hope Madigan was simply showing exuberance and Manar was making clear the realities of what his party's members have to do. We've seen a troubling tendency in any number of state governments to emulate what has become our national standard – wholly partisan bickering with politicians willing to flip positions the second they realize they're in agreement with someone from the opposing party.
So our sincere wish is the Democrats conclude their celebrations, take off their jackets, roll up their sleeves and get to work. In theory, they have the numbers. A Senate supermajority of 40-19 and a veto-proof advantage in the House should mean their agenda can be implemented with limited difficulty.
But if we look to Washington, D.C., we can see how little was accomplished when one party held the presidency and both chambers of Congress.
As a country and as a state, we are divided on which ways to turn. Those divides have led us to a position of inertia. We lurch from one crisis to the next, shouting a lot and solving nothing.
Plenty of things need to be fixed. Let's get to work on them. Hopefully, the Democrats will know what awaits them at the voting booth if they continue to accomplish as little as they have recently.