Monday, January 05, 2009

About Chicago

I only got into the city once on my last visit, mostly stayed near O'Hare, the better to miss my plane. However, it is the city of my birth and I'm somewhat drawn to the regional accent (Susan and Barbara come to mind), charming like Scottish or Yorkshire accents, but of course very different. I welcome such variety.

Dad was getting his degree in Planning, mom putting him through school. I was their first, my sister came later, when we were already in Portland, dad with the Planning Bureau. Mom & Dad were active in civil rights work, had started questioning "received wisdom" when still at the University of Washington (where they met). Dad wasn't too keen on the gun play, mandated by ROTC, did troop ship duty, liked overseas work, joined Quakers eventually, despite his mom's free thinking attitudes (or because of). Grandma Esther was an artist and voracious reader, curious about everything.

Speaking of Chicago, I'm liking Barack Obama's "not my problem" attitude. Even though he's a favorite son, he's in the executive branch now, not the legislature, not the judiciary, the two branches most concerned with the Governor's status, as the target of an FBI investigation. From his new vantage point, this is pretty low level stuff, with many other items much higher on his agenda.

The idea of "rogue states" within the lower 48, not just in the Middle East or Asia or someplace, is not a new one. During the Civil War, a lot of states went rogue. Illinois is considered a "midwestern state" more than a "northern state" in today's psycho-politics. President elect Obama, on the other hand, is from sunny Hawaii, more like Governor Palin in terms of having extra-48 experience (makes him an ET by DC criteria, i.e. most east coast politicos hail from the contiguous regions).

Anyway, maybe I'll get more time in the Windy City next March, when I'm scheduled to arrive in O'Hare again. I'd like to visit the University of Chicago, where it all began in my book. I'm definitely a product of this nation's higher education system, wear that on my sleeve as it were.