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30 Days of Thanks: Illinois

My 5th day of gratitude was a derailed slightly by the delightful news out of our state capitol that marriage equality is finally going to become a reality. Thus, today, I give thanks for my birth state, the place I call home -- Illinois.

30 Days of Thanks, Day 5: Illinois

The Land of Lincoln has been my home for (gosh) nearly four decades. It was where I was born. It may be where I die. It's what I know. The midwestern sensibilities, the changing of the seasons, the hot summers and harsh winters, the good people of all ages and political stripes and, last but not least, it's great location. We're situated either on the western fringe of the eastern U.S., or the eastern fringe of the midwest, take your pick. From where I live, it's a fairly quick drive to three major cities. Can't beat it.

Does Illinois have problems? Yes, indeed it does. It's losing too many businesses. It has woefully underfunded its pension system for state workers. Taxes are mounting. Too many of its top-level politicians are serving time behind bars instead of serving terms of office. One could say that, on a financial level, our outlook is bleak. I despair sometimes at how the state will right itself. Many have left for what they consider to be greener pastures. I sincerely wish them well, and hope they are happy.

For me, it's not so easy. I'm rather fond of this dysfunctional state. While some may think (and perhaps rightfully so) that Illinois doesn't value its business climate as much as it should, I do think that it values its people very much. That much was obvious today when the state legislature passed its marriage equality bill. It was a long time coming, but I knew that a majority of our good legislators -- Democrat and Republican -- had it in them.

Feeling welcomed by the state you live in is important. It can't be adequately expressed in words. It's something you feel, and I feel at home in Illinois. I feel welcome. But, yeah... about the budget. That needs work. A hell of a lot of work. I'm thankful for you today, Illinois, and proud. Now... keep me that way.


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