An Open Letter To Mayor Lightfoot by Robert Socha
Dear Mayor Lightfoot:
I remember our first summer in Michigan, in 2013, we took a day trip and spent the day at the Warren Dunes, on Michigan’s southern Lake Michigan coast, climbing, and swimming. As the sun was setting, we walked from our friend’s campsite to the Lake to admire its rust-colored glory. There was a haze on the horizon, seemingly magnifying the colors in this splendid view. As the fog lifted, a vast array of masts appeared, dancing in the setting sun, and we questioned the gathering of so many ships in this place. Upon further reflection, the scene’s definition enhanced. We realized they were not ships we were witnessing anchored out at sea.
Is that a building? Do I see the Sears Tower? Looking to the right, is that the John Hancock building? Yes, the shadows of the fantastic Chicago skyline filled our eyes with delight, lighting our imaginations and sealing our fascination and appeal to her greatness.
It may come as no surprise to you that my beloved wife of twenty years and I enjoy the occasional visit to the great city of Chicago. We enjoy walking and shopping the Magnificent Mile, eating on the Navy Pier, sitting under The Bean in Millineum Park, going to the theatre, shows, museums, the aquarium, the river, Lake Michigan.
One of my fondest memories is taking our youngest daughter to the American Girl Doll store and celebrating her birthday by pampering her make-believe friend. Another great memory was when my sons and I rode the super-fast elevator to the John Hancock building’s observation deck and spent hours looking over the city. And another great memory is an anniversary celebration my wife and I enjoyed by renting an AirBnb in a downtown highrise with a majestic Lake Michigan and the Navy Pier view. Your city shines.
Or, at least, it used to shine.
We had always been horrified by the violence and murder happening in the shadows of the Magnificent Mile. Still, we never thought there was an opportunity for us to do anything about it. We begrudgingly accepted it as a fact of inner-city Chicago life. After all, it never affected us when we visited. We never felt threatened or ill-at-ease, even walking back to our accommodations in the wee hours.
The aftermath of George Floyd’s death has shattered this dream. The violence, riots, and destruction plaguing some of our Nation’s most fabulous cities is a blot and stain on our national character. The death toll in your town alone brings shame and dishonor to a nation that values human life. It is abhorrent that law enforcement stays its hand while the violence spreads. More heinous even is otherwise well-meaning people calling for the defunding of the same, especially in light of the bodycam footage of George Floyd’s arrest and murder. If only the full picture of the scene of his death had come out in the beginning, maybe our great land could have avoided the anarchy and devastation, scaring the memory of our Nation’s goodness.
You have allowed hooligans to riot, loot, and terrorize the Magnificent Mile because you failed to cull the tide by vehemently opposing other city’s anarchy and calling for calm. They have cowed to violent mobocracy destroying city centers, looting stores, and even creating so-called autonomous zones! In the United States of America! Shame on you!
We are a Nation of Laws. These laws give us a firm foundation where peace can reign in the streets, even of the most densely populated cities, and afford the creation of vast wealth. It allows a middle-class family such as ours to take the occasional weekend trip to the big city. The slow erosion of these laws, allowing infractions to slide by, little by little, has given lawless people the courage to defy. Don’t enforce jaywalking. Don’t enforce obscenity laws. Little by little, the fabric of our Nation’s character gets torn asunder, torn and sewn; until eventually, the breach is irreparable. No matter how ugly, there is no act warranting the terrible injustice in the violence, looting, graffiti, destruction, and murder infecting city centers.
This lawlessness on the Magnificent Mile, the violence, threats, and mayhem in other great cities gives us pause to reconsider our desires to visit them. If our safety is in question when spending a weekend away, what could persuade us to engage in such activity willfully? How can we support visiting or scheduling events where the destruction of public and private property goes unabated, and property owners are in threat of being prosecuted should they defend what is theirs. The tables have turned on their heads. The responses are backward, and the reconciliation seems far off because leaders such as yourself are justifying the acts of lawlessness instead of declaring the law and enforcing it.
There is a way back but is requires eschewing the petty political rivalries stirring the passions of hopeless souls. It demands your government enforce the rule of law. It expects people to obey the laws. It necessitates a restoration of the peace and a promise that lawless ones will see justice.
I call on you, Mayor Lightfoot, to put aside your political ambitions and raise a unifying cry to the residents of your world-renowned city to lay down their anger, frustrations, violence, and to forgive those who have wronged them because forgiveness brings reconciliation and liberty.
Hopefully, this will give us pause to consider returning to all the wonder and arts Chicago has to offer.
About the Author
Robert Socha, BIO Robert Socha (so-ha), was born in southern California. He served 5 years 3 months active duty in the United States Air Force; honorably. After his service he took an Associate’s Degree in Practical Theology, where, through his studies, developed a deep love of God and Country and sincere appreciation of the value of Liberty. Robert and his beloved wife of 21-plus years are raising 4 beautiful Texan children. They moved to Hillsdale, Michigan, in 2013, to put their children in Hillsdale Academy. Robert is a sales professional. He and his wife consider Michigan a hidden gem, and absolutely love this city and state (current political environment notwithstanding) they’ve adopted.