A lot of Evanston right now is awash with tension – and worse. Candidates and their intimate supporters probably have pre-election worries. Many of those less involved with the local April 4 election are still reeling from the vituperative rhetoric and punitive moves coming out of Washington.
Some ugliness is seeping out of the local campaigns – particularly those for City offices. There are rumors and accusations; whispers about lines crossed, anger about friends’ preferences, fear that the sky will fall or the City collapse if someone is – or is not – elected. In the words of the late Leonard Cohen, Evanston is performing a “waltz with the clamp on its jaws.”
So we can live with fingers crossed and jaws clenched until April 5, or we can start looking at the positive side of whatever our new City will be after these elections. We will have a new Mayor, at least three new aldermen, and two newly configured School Boards. We also hope that voters will have secured our children’s future by approving School District 65’s referendum.
While there is bound to be disappointment on April 5, the day after the election, we hope that the ugliness will have run its course. Let there be gracious winners as well as losers. We hope that those who do not win election will not allow their energy and passion for this community to flag but will stay engaged. Learn the strengths of the candidates who won, and offer to help them in their new public service.
We hope, too, that those who do win election will reach out to their competitors and help them get involved, perhaps on a City or school committee, where they can learn more about the structure of the institution they have already said they would like to serve.
Evanston could use everyone’s help. Many of us are already worried about the direction of the state and the country. We should not have to worry about the City. Let’s unclamp our jaws from tension, unclench our fists into a handshake, and get started on the new Evanston waltz.