If you’re a follower of Wirepoints, you’ll note the sense of urgency in the work we do. Our straight-talk about Illinois’ steep decline may be unsettling at times, but we’re passionate about turning things around.
Underlying our efforts is a deep gratitude for Illinois and its people, its natural assets, and most of all, its mighty potential. For decades, Illinois was a beacon of economic opportunity and freedom for people around the world and we’re fervent believers it can be a destination state once again.
My parents were just two of the many immigrants attracted to Illinois decades ago.
My father, Tadeusz Dąbrowski, a young Polish merchant marine, escaped communism in 1952 when he jumped ship in Malmo, Sweden.
He came to America by way of Canada, where he worked tough jobs that many would scorn. When he finally made it to Illinois in the late 1950s, he still carried the scars from his time as a young messenger during the Warsaw Uprising. But nothing could ever rob him of his rugged individualism and his love for freedom. Chicago became his launching pad and he would graduate from Northwestern University in 1964.
My mother, Blanca Lopez, arrived in Chicago from Ecuador just a couple of years after my father did. She knew she’d arrived to a place where hard work and hunger for knowledge had guaranteed rewards. The seed for becoming a valuable American was planted in her when she took her first job at a cardboard factory downtown. She wanted to improve her English fast and she, too, enrolled in classes at Northwestern.
A serendipitous meeting on Chicago’s “L” eventually led to their shared dream of building a family in the country they believed had the best the world had to offer. They faced considerable obstacles, though. The consolidation of three languages, work and school. The creation of a new family without the support of their original ones. And the embrace of American culture and tradition, while de-emphasizing their own, for the sake of their three children.
My parents had a real shot at the American Dream and the rest, as they say, is history.
I’m thankful for the opportunity they got, even though life for them was never easy. The ups and downs were many and real. But Illinois was the place where with deep faith and a strong work ethic, anyone could grit it out.
Today, Illinois is no longer that beacon. Residents are fleeing the state in record numbers. In some places, they’re being forced to abandon their homes and their memories. Bad politics, failed policies and rampant corruption are destroying opportunity and repelling Illinois’ most important asset – its people. Too many families don’t feel they can make it here anymore.
At Wirepoints, we’re fighting for Illinois because most of its great elements are still in place – the universities, Lake Michigan, the vast farmland, the nation’s transportation hub and Chicago’s economic might. Illinois sits in the center of the greatest country in the world. It has natural assets that many countries and states can only dream about.
It’s the politics that need to be gutted.
For sure, there are many who’ve already given up on Illinois. After all, there are many great places to work and raise a family in America. And things in Illinois are likely to get worse before they get better. But at Wirepoints, we know that what can’t go on forever, won’t. The path to fixing Illinois will be long and painful, but we’ll be ready with the solutions the state needs when fiscal reality finally catches up with its poor decisions. It’s only a matter of time.
We’re thankful for the freedom to counterbalance the forces that are driving this great state’s decay. And we’re thankful for our followers who share in our passion to remake Illinois into the beacon it once was.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!
P.S. If you’ve given up hope on Illinois, check out Poland some 30 years after the collapse of communism. After all that country went through – the destruction of individual rights, the suppression of private property and the crippling of the economy – it’s now one of the most dynamic economies in the world.