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home : opinion : opinion/editorial August 18, 2017

4/19/2017 5:57:00 PM
Room for a View: The Climate of Change
By Charles Wilkinson

Change is the Universe breathing. We live with change on all levels constantly, whether we are aware of it or not. Often we are its instruments; more often we just go with the flow.

 Last November our country experienced a massive change in leadership. Its repercussions continue to reverberate through our nation and around the world. Where that change is taking us remains to be seen but it has created for many a climate of confusion, mistrust and fear; for others, hope, vision and empowerment.

Two weeks ago, here in Evanston, Election Day gave the city a new mayor, city clerk, a few new aldermen and supported a crucial referendum to secure the quality of its schools. Again, the future remains to be seen.

 In a much earlier election change came to our state’s capitol in Springfield. Since then, things have been at a no-budget standstill on many levels of government, particularly the funding of schools and vital social programs.

In the meantime we are left to live with these changes, realizing both the power we have to question, challenge and adapt to them, as well as the powerlessness we feel to fix what is broken. In a democracy leadership is crucial to getting things done – or undone. Our leaders are supposed to be those whom the rest of us depend on for vision and progress. They are the ones who create the climate of life we experience daily.

Sadly, the situations in Washington and Springfield are what they are at this point but Evanston’s new leadership has yet to establish itself for the community.  The climate in Evanston has been variable. Despite the City’s commitment to transparency, diversity, equity, and progress, much remains to challenge its leadership. The dream is still a dream.

New leadership often (but not always to everyone) offers hope. Fortunately, our City has been in good hands and the climate inherited by the new mayor and reshaped council is generally positive. Evanston seems to pride itself on being a microcosm of what cities can be when they work. Not without problems, struggles and setbacks but with leadership committed to “getting it right.”

Like Chicago’s weather, one never knows. But the climate in Evanston is very livable – for the most part – for most of its residents. Still, the City’s new leaders face many challenges. The climate seems right but, like our city, can always be improved.

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