On November 4, 1980, there was a tidal wave in American politics. Former California Governor Ronald W. Reagan won 44 states, trouncing incumbent President Jimmy Carter with a thrilling 489-49 Electoral College drubbing.
We inhabit a political moment that refuses to be taken seriously. Every attempt to take up the genuine challenges our country confronts is obstructed by a stubborn combination of crude cynicism and bitter factionalism. Every appeal to the unifying ideals of the American experience is met with ignorant ingratitude or histrionic despair. We tell the young they are inheriting a garbage heap and then are surprised they want to throw their heritage away. We tell our leaders we want entertainment and then are shocked when they behave like clowns. We confront a vacuum of civic virtue and a dearth of responsible leadership.
During this spring 2022 semester, I substitute taught full-time at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville. The students were mostly well behaved, the staff mostly friendly and the school itself was state of the art. Opened in 1997 it was one of the most expensive high schools in Illinois at the time. It boasts an impressive engineering department, an excellent theater, classes for multiple foreign languages, and other top academic programs.
With less than three weeks until the November 8th election that most pundits say will be an anti-Biden Republican Wave nationwide, Illinois is such a strong blue political island among Midwestern red states that it appears the state's Republicans are bracing to be crashed as it is once again passed by.
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