Friday, February 17, 2017 03:06 PM
This is the third year that Illinois has gone without a budget proposal. People are suffering and going without the resources they so desperately need because those in power are not willing to compromise for the greater good. Yesterday, the governor had the opportunity to restore the faith of investors and residents by providing a decisive plan for a balanced budget, but this was not the route he took.
In the budget address, the governor uttered a few phrases from Lincoln’s remarks to Congress on December 1, 1862: "The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew." But he left out the end of the phrase, and dare I say the most important part: We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. The word “disenthrall” means to free from bondage and or liberate. Lincoln spoke of the United States freeing itself from the dogmas of the antiquated past, which required the relinquishing of slavery. A month after this speech, Lincoln made history by signing the Emancipation Proclamation. So it is not farfetched to believe that Lincoln would encourage us to liberate ourselves from the contention of the past and moved forward in an effort to save the state.
Prior to taking political office, a 45-year-old Lincoln had this to say on July, 1 1854: “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves, in their separate and individual capacities.”
Rauner has a choice: he can either be the change he wants to see or continue the dismantling of the state he calls home. But one thing is for certain, something must be done to alleviate the devastation felt by poor communities all over Illinois as the financial burden is not equally distributed. It is felt most keenly by fiscally strapped neighborhoods that rely on social services many would deem vital. In order to provide basic services to the people who need it most, localities need funding.
Even before Lincoln’s entrance into the political arena, he was well aware of the role that government plays in the lives of its citizens. When government runs efficiently, it maintains legitimacy, and when it fails to do so it is delegitimized. The government is supposed to meet the needs of the people as opposed to its own self-interest. This has not been the case in Illinois for the last three years. We can do better and we should. No one man is bigger than the constituents he serves. First, Lincoln recognized the need for change, and then he pursued it. Rather than shaking things up for the sake of shaking things up, he altered things in order to provide a richer form of equity to all those embroiled in the vestiges of slavery.
History is being made and it is up to every one of us to determine how we want to be remembered. As senator of District 17, I pledge to do everything within my power to ensure that my constituents are not left in the cold by the lack of budget. I will continue to fight for the needs of all those who rely on the state to fulfill its promise.
Senator Donne E. Trotter
Assistant Majority Leader
Years served: 1988–1993 (House); 1993–Present (Senate)
Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Appropriations I; Executive; Appropriations II (Vice-Chairperson); Committee of the Whole.
Biography: Senior hospital administrator; born Jan. 30th, 1950, in Cairo; B.A., Chicago State University; M.J., Loyola University School of Law; married (wife, Rose), has four children.
Associated Representative(s): Marcus C. Evans Jr., Elgie R. Sims Jr.