I was dreamin’ when I wrote this
Forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin’
Could’ve sworn it was judgment day…
Say, say, 2000-00, party over
Oops, out of time
So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999 (1999/Prince)
On St. Patrick’s day two years ago, I celebrated in my local saloon with friends. There was a full buffet, and we had a great time. The next afternoon, after watching Jeopardy with some of the same group- a daily activity- Governor Pritzker was on the news, fulminating over the various St. Pat’s celebrations. The COVID-19 shutdowns began.
We masked up, social distanced for almost two years, stayed home and followed the protocols and mandates. I usually have a jaded position on Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois elected officials. Chicagoans have a love-hate relationship with our mayors. We hate to love them and love to hate them. But I am fair and believe in giving credit where credit is due.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her team led a calm response to the pandemic. They tried to keep the numbers down, hospitals from overflowing, and more importantly, keeping the death toll as low as possible. Working with the Governor and his team, their policies kept most of us alive and as healthy as possible. Public safety and public health are the highest priorities of the government. Lightfoot failed and is still failing on public safety. But she succeeded in the public health arena.
Yes, the mandates were a pain in the ass. No one likes wearing masks, looking like a bandit, and putting up with the discomfort. No, our freedumbs were not inhibited. Freedom has some responsibilities, like keeping ourselves and others safe. I am fortunate to live in a great walking neighborhood, with two large parks bordering the north and south and a plaza. I could go for daily long walks, weather permitting. I met new acquaintances.
Yes, the COVID mandates caused anger in some. TFB. There were times when mandates were worse. People were quarantined in their homes during typhoid, T.B., the so-called Spanish Flu, and other contagions. They were imprisoned. Signs were posted on doors by the Chicago Police Department. There was even an order prohibiting police officers from using the butts of their pistols to nail quarantine signs to the doors.
While our elected officials deserve some credit, the real credit goes to you, the citizens. You followed the mandates. You kept yourselves, families, friends, and the rest of us safe. You deserve a hearty pat on the back. The few freedumb lovers in this city deserve several swift kicks in the ass.
The heroes during the pandemic were essential workers. Cops, firefighters, EMTs, health care professionals and workers, retail workers, cab and rideshare workers, CTA personnel, and a long list of others. They went to work every day providing for us. City workers made sure Chicago stayed the City that Works. They were out daily, keeping things running as smooth as possible. So were the utility companies’ workers.
A shout-out goes to Chicago restaurants and cooks who provided free, or through others, food to health care workers, cops, and fire personnel. Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel showed up at several hospitals, bringing food to the workers. In small or large ways, other people pitched in to ensure the most vulnerable among us had their needs met.
So, now that we are finally free from most mandates and protocols, congratulate yourself, Chicago. You did it. You drove the numbers down to the point we are open, and business is back to nearly normal. We can do the things we missed.
I wrote and edited this a saloon. It is one of the places where I can be away from home, be amongst my so-called fellow humans, and interact or be left the f**k alone.
It ain’t over yet, but the end looks near. We may soon party like it’s 1999.
Someone needs to advise Mayor Lori Lightfoot on her clothing choices as a side note. If you are going to wear an Irish kilt to a parade, learn to wear it properly, you know, lok like you are Irish. My Irish friends and Scots relatives were appalled at her wardrobe at the South Side St. Patrick’s parade.