Where is the outrage?

| August 26, 2010 | Comments (4)

angry silouhette of woman with hands on her hipsSometimes I wonder if we don’t all deserve the mess Illinois is in.  We are in a financial crisis that threatens to destroy public services from schools to road repairs to health care in a way we cannot even full grasp now.  Still, I don’t hear a lot of outrage.

I hear people politely talking about how they don’t want to buy the extra supplies the schools are requesting and griping about the CTA budget cuts.  However these are momentary complaints.  We all seem to adapt and move on.  I hear people complaining about the spiraling-out-of-control state debt and how it might affect them.  (It’s funny to me that everyone else’s program is a “waste,” while their favorite programs are sacred.)  What I don’t hear is anyone saying, “And this is what I’m going to do about it….”

It frustrates me because there is something we can do about the state budget crisis.  This is an election year.  We should be demanding that all candidates at all levels explain how they are going to get us out of this mess.  And, in demanding that they get us out of this mess, we need to openly acknowledge that this will cause all of us some pain.  All the candidates are saying something along the lines of,  “I’ll fix the problem and not raise taxes.”  Really?  How is that possible?  Basic math tells you it cannot be done, but no one pushes the issue when the candidates give that answer.

I have a friend who works in a state agency that has not paid its bills in nearly a year.  Every day she fields angry calls from people who were promised money by their state representative or senator for some local pet project.   Sure, the appropriations bill passed, but that  doesn’t mean the project will get done.  No matter how you move around the numbers, the State of Illinois is still broke.

Somehow people hear this and still don’t understand what it means.  It’s going to be messy to get us out of this budget crisis — and it’s going to take a few years.  This is not the kind of thing you can fix in one fiscal year.

As the days go by, I realize that not enough people really think they can make a difference to take the time out of their busy days to try.  If we don’t do it, though, who will?   If we don’t call and write our elected officials, how will they know we are serious about getting things back into balance?  How will they know what we think about the current “spend to make everyone happy” policies?  How will they know that we truly want a better state for our children and we’re going to fight for it?

As moms, we worry about what our children eat and whether or not their education will provide them the foundation they need to take them into adulthood.  We worry about whether or not they are reading enough books and getting enough exercise.  Where is the same level of concern about the budget mess we’re creating?  If we don’t take the initiative and demand answers and actions on behalf of our children, then who will?

An original post for The Chicago Moms.  Shari fights for her daughters at Two Times the Fun.  Image courtesy of Stock Exchange.

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Category: Illinois

About Shari: Shari is a mom, wife, marketing communications professional, gardener, Chicago Blackhawks fan, college sports fan, traveler, quilter, community volunteer, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, Siberian Husky owner, Girl Scout troop leader and book lover. You can find Shari blogging about life with twins at Two Times the Fun and tweeting @slcs48n1. View author profile.

Comments (4)

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  1. I did something about it. I now homeschool my kids. 😉

  2. Lisa says:

    I can’t really complain about our school, I don’t know how they’ve managed but we haven’t personally seen direct consequences yet. But I understand what you mean in general I think too many people are too uninvolved. But at the same time, there is only so much we can do in a day. I invest my time in local things, PTO, neighborhood watch, church and Scouts I don’t really have time to take on the state too. And I honestly don’t think much will change until it comes from the Top, when our country stops spending irrationally, MAYBE we can hold the state and then local governments responsible. But while I hope for change I’m not really sure what I can do. I

  3. Emily says:

    My husband has been involved in state politics for years and I have heard him explain in depth about the lack of political leadership, the bogus accounting that has failed to fund state employees’ pensions for decades, and the continuing increase in the extremely regressive sales tax (which hurts the poorest among us the most) while the state INCOME tax, which is among the lowest in the nation stays flat. It is a scandal. The most vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, the working poor and the mentally ill will be devastated by the current budget crisis, yet all people worry about is their own tax bill. Well said, Shari.

  4. I’d add children to Emily’s list.

    There has been a group of concerned parents in my community trying to raise issues and equity re: school funding. They are asking for a TAX INCREASE. You can imagine how unpopular they are!

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