The voice of Chicago is, more or less, the voice of Illinois. One city basically controls the entire state, pushing progressive politics down the throats of rural voters whether they like it or not. This is especially problematic when it comes to gun control. Despite all its efforts to use gun control to curb violence in the Windy City, Chicago is still a battleground with hundreds murdered each week.
Rural Illinois, however, wants no part of gun control. Those living outside of the city want to live their lives and be left alone, but they also want guns in case someone refuses to respect that. After all, their police departments don’t have the manpower of the Chicago PD. If they call 9-1-1, it’s not going to do them any good. They need the means to defend themselves.
That’s why there’s been a push recently to break Chicago off from the rest of the state.
Elected officials, including two Republican lawmakers, talked with residents Saturday about two controversial efforts, one that would separate Chicago from the rest of the state and another to encourage more counties to pass resolutions declaring themselves gun sanctuary counties.
While gun sanctuary resolutions have caught on in some parts of the state, the measure to break Chicago off from the rest of Illinois is unlikely to gain traction in the General Assembly.
Residents in Sangamon County heard from two Republican state representatives, the Effingham County Board Chairman and Vice Chairman and two gun-rights activists at a town hall meeting Saturday. They discussed an effort to separate Chicago from Illinois and why county boards across the state are passing gun-owner sanctuary resolutions.
Those who want to separate Chicago from the rest of the state said it’s because the state’s largest city drives legislation that negatively impacts the rest of the state, from higher taxes, more business regulations and social issues some find contrary to their beliefs.
“This is shrinking all the time, but the last I checked [Illinois] had the 18th largest economy in the world – in the world – and we have done almost everything that we can possibly do to destroy that,” said state Rep. Chris Miller, R-Oakland, referencing high taxes and regulations. “So just think about what would happen if we, instead of having the highest of everything, if we were the lowest of everything … we would be thriving.”
State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, said Chicago politicians enact laws that hurt more rural areas of the state. He and others have pointed to years of bad budgeting practices, years of tax increases, higher minimum wage laws, increased abortion rights and the state’s $200 billion-plus state employee retirement debt as major concerns.
As noted above, this proposal isn’t just about guns. Chicago-based lawmakers push a lot of proposals that don’t sit well with rural voters. Guns are one of the points of disagreement. There are a lot of them which shouldn’t be surprising.
The question is, will this happen?
My guess is that it’s not likely. Chicago lawmakers will probably recognize the broader repercussions. For example, breaking the state in two will give Republicans a better chance at a Senate majority as the rural part of the state will likely be fairly red in their political leanings. Further, there’s not anything for the Chicago area to get out of the deal. They already control the state, by and large. They can do what they want, so why would they care to break off from the rest of the state?
It’s a great idea, and I’d love to see it happen, but as things currently stand, it probably won’t.
I’d love to be wrong, though.