Real Hope for the Future

Last June, Al Gore wrote an article in Rolling Stone titled "The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate" in which he argued that people around the world are finally starting to take the actions necessary to save our planet. Gore reminded us of three great quotations. The first was from Winston Churchill in 1936 as war was imminent:

"Owing to past neglect, in the face of the plainest warnings, we have entered upon a period of danger. . . . The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays is coming to its close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences. . . . We cannot avoid this period; we are in it now."

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Gun Ownership is Declining

The loud voices of gun-rights extremists make it seem as though they have the majority of Americans on their side. To the contrary, they represent a smaller and smaller percentage of households in America and in Illinois.

The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC) has been asking this question every two years since 1973: “Do you happen to have in your home (or garage) any guns or revolvers?” The household gun ownership rate has fallen from an average of 50 percent in the 1970s to 32 percent in 2010, according to the survey data analyzed by The New York Times.

The rate of gun ownership in Illinois is even lower: 20.2 percent, according to a 2001 study reported in the Washington Post. Since the percentage of gun ownership has continued to decline since 2001, it’s fair to assume that more than 80% of Illinois households do not own any guns. And even most gun owners support reasonable gun violence prevention measures like universal background checks, prohibiting assault weapons, and limiting the size of magazine clips.

The November 2014 ballot in Cook County contained an advisory referendum on requiring background checks for firearm sales and prohibiting assault weapon sales. It passed with 84% of votes cast in the suburbs (556,074 to 106,659 votes) and 90% in the City of Chicago (536,655 to 61,639) .

So remember: we have most of the people on our side. The gun rights extremists do not, no matter how many times and how loudly they say they do.

Looking back, looking forward

The results of this year's election were not what we had hoped they would be. Historically, the President's party loses seats in the sixth year of an Administration. As Juan Williams wrote, this year was not bad by historical standards.

Defeat should not obscure the good things we accomplished. Governor Quinn ran a great campaign, articulating the differences between the parties. Unlike Democrats in other states, he took pride in the success of Obamacare and other accomplishments of Democrats at the state and Federal levels. His field organization (of which we were a part) was the best I've seen other than the Obama campaigns. Voters strongly supported Democratic positions on all the referenda, including raising the minimum wage.

Laddi Singh ran a wonderful campaign for State Representative. For the first time, Indian-American and Asian-American voters saw a candidate they could relate to. Laddi built bridges between the Democratic Party and growing communities in our area. By showing that a Punjabi woman could represent the mainstream views of suburban voters, Laddi blazed a trail that she and other candidates will follow to victory.

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