Thumbs-up: To a temporary reprieve from the partial shutdown of the federal government. President Donald Trump on Friday announced that he would support and sign a provision to reopen the government until Feb. 15, which should relieve some pressure on about 800,000 federal employees who had not received a paycheck since December. But this is only a short-term fix. The president and members of Congress have an obligation to reach a compromise to address the immigration issue. They now have a few weeks to do so. Both Democrats and Republicans must find a way to get past the intransigence that led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
Thumbs-down: To loss of perspective. Every winter we can count on two things – snowfall that affects driving conditions and people complaining about the ensuing postponements and cancellations. And look, we get it: Snow is a major hassle. It adds extra time to everything, whether that’s clearing your own walks and driveways, waiting for the plow to come through or being more cautious than usual behind the wheel. No one wants to have to scrap a middle school wrestling tournament or pancake breakfast fundraiser, but as a community, we have to accept that sometimes public safety is more important than whatever might’ve been on the schedule.
A polite suggestion: Take that negative energy you might have spent complaining about someone else’s decision and channel it into being a good neighbor. Clear your own sidewalks and any others you might be able to manage. Make sure letter carriers have clear paths to do their job, and do the same for firefighters. Eventually, the snow and ice will melt, and life will resume as planned. There’s no sense getting angry about any individual snowstorm, as Mother Nature simply doesn’t care. And by all means, if you absolutely have to drive somewhere when all common sense says otherwise, do so as carefully as possible.
Thumbs-up: To a second statue? We’ll admit there’s valid criticisms of Springfield lawmakers going over the top whenever given the chance. A House bill regarding installation of new statues of former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, joining the Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant sculptures, now includes a few other Illinoisans, notably Streator’s Reuben Soderstrom, who was a state representative before embarking on a legendary career leading America’s organized labor movement.
The movement for a Reagan statue is several years old. This specific bill actually originated last year, but with the 101st General Assembly now in session, Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, handed sponsorship to Rep. Thomas Bennett, R-Gibson City, generating a new round of buzz. Soderstrom’s Streator City Park statue and plaza was unveiled to great fanfare in 2012, and the Illinois AFL-CIO, which he led from 1930 through 1970, already is planning a statue and memorial in the plaza in front of the group’s Springfield headquarters. So perhaps a third would be overkill, and we certainly would say the Reagan and Obama projects deserve priority.