Wrapping Up the Year
As we look forward to 2009, the inauguration of our nation's first African-American president takes place on January 20th. Perhaps it's fitting that the last president from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, will be honored throughout the year on the bicentennial of his birth, February 12, 1809. Surely there will be a great deal of emphasis placed on Obama's first 100 days, a period made famous by another president Obama is often compared to, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who entered office at a time of economic crisis and inspired a nation to persevere and eventually emerge stronger on what came to be known as the Great Depression.
Closer to home, the impeachment proceedings against Governor Blagojevich are certain to move forward, alongside the federal investigation that spawned the criminal charges that inspired the former. There will be a special election in the 5th Congressional District as Congressman Rahm Emmanuel has accepted Obama's invitation to serve as his Chief of Staff. Perhaps simultaneously, the jockeying behind Obama's now vacant Senate seat will result in either a controversial appointment by Blagojevich or his successor, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, or a statewide special election instead.
Before long, candidates will begin testing the waters for a run at statewide office in 2010, and the Governor's mansion and the aforementioned Senate seat will stand among the most lucrative prizes. The fallout from the Blagojevich scandal is sure to reshape the complexion of an already crowded field.
The media industry itself will continue to face its most stern test in at least a generation as advertising revenues plummet and consumers continue to tune out. The fate of the Chicago Tribune is just one of many entities on life support. From the depths of a financial crisis three generations have never known, the industry must reinvent itself with a still elusive new business model.
From many angles, the scene is dire, but hope lingers and Americans (including the disillusioned residents of Illinois) are ready for concrete actions and concerted inspiration as we contribute to the historic idea that is the United States of America. So farewell to 2008, and thank you for the fleeting fond memories, and we welcome 2009, seeking a new chapter to this ongoing struggle for freedom at home and abroad.