By State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer
With Christmas fast approaching, I enjoy reflecting on the evolution of the meaning behind the season, from child to young adult to parent. Looking at this path, there are many similarities to the State of Illinois.
As young children, there are so many things that we want. The focus at this stage really tends to be on toys and all of the fun stuff that we can receive from Santa, family, and friends. My 2 year old responds to every single toy commercial this time of year in the same way… “I want that.”
In Springfield, many of our leaders are still focused on new spending on the same old stuff. They are still in the “I want that” stage of life. The belief that a new piece of park equipment will make their constituents happy is what’s most important.
Through the years, approaching our teens, our eyes get a little bigger and our tastes expand from little toys to expensive video games, and even possibly four-wheelers, dirt bikes, or maybe a car. My nephew wants a new laptop (we’ll see about that).
Illinois politicians have been stuck in this phase for years, not wanting to give up the dream of “what could be” to focus on the reality of “what is.” We see this in the continuation of slush funds in the budget for pork projects and the expansion of a Medicaid system that we already can’t afford to administer. Yet again, some ideas provide for great things… if only we had the money.
Entering adulthood, we realize that it all comes with a price tag. Our “wants” continue to be there, but our new financial awareness tends to detour those thoughts and refocus more on our “needs.” This year I asked for new undershirts, socks, and new wheels for the bottom drawer of my dishwasher.
It is my hope that the new year and some new leadership will push Illinois into this next stage of our life. This stage involves a focus on the real “needs” of the state and the people who live here. It will focus on the educational needs for our future. It will focus on taking care of those in need and providing an environment that will create opportunities for those who want something more. It will focus on real investment in the infrastructure in which we rely on a daily basis.
This year, all I want for Christmas is a clear vision of our needs. I pray that those needs are provided for, for us all. In the new year, I pray for hard-work, understanding, and focus to make real needs a priority.
With our needs taken care of, our “wants” and “what could be” ideas may have the opportunity to thrive.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!