WHY CHICAGO should change its home page to “http://www.cityofchicago.gov

ImageDuring the 20th century,  US babies’ life expectancy rose from 47 to 77 years, yet instead of putting much more money away for longer retirements, we have — as households and as a nation — actually been saving a smaller portion of current income.   State pension “holidays”  — official vacations from the burden of saving for the future — have contributed to a shortfall in Illinois.  Empty promises to ourselves now need recalibration, while recognizing that commitments absolutely needing to be kept — including those associated with maintaining our inherited infrastructure — may require more revenue to support.

Each day the Illinois legislature delays, matters slip further.  Many legislators seem to think of themselves as elected advocates more than as governing officials.  What can the City of Chicago do to spur legislators to  address current realities?  One small symbolic measure comes to mind in three letters: “GOV”.

That’s right.  The city’s internet home page is “www.cityofchicago.org”, placing it at the same status as any organization lobbying the city.  It is the same “.org” status  available to any group competing for donations and a bit of respect.   Likewise, the city’s official flag with its 4 stars sometimes appears as just another brand logo, as shown in the Whole Foods Market display.

The City of Chicago could endorse a serious approach to governing by changing its home page to http://www.cityofchicago.gov

This would underscore the need for all elected officials to really govern, and not just advocate.  It would encourage elected folks to show how democracy can work.  Many of the world’s conflicts are based on assertions of the primacy of religious law over laws thought up and enacted by people.  One of the best ways to show the strength and currency of democracy is to make it work, to elevate it and to celebrate its success.   Let’s encourage this path and assert the legitimacy and durability of Government by the governed.

Charles Orlowek