As we commemorate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln today, we find more than a bit of irony in the path his remarkable life took.
Lincoln was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Kentucky. He then spent most of his childhood in Indiana before moving to Illinois as a young adult. He remained an Illinoisan for the next 30 years, only leaving when his election as our 16th president dictated a move to Washington, D.C.
Part of the preceding paragraph is worth repeating. Lincoln was born and grew up elsewhere before coming to Illinois and spending the majority of his life here. His departure to the nation’s capital was bittersweet, as evidenced by the moving farewell address he gave to his fellow Springfield residents on Feb. 11, 1861.
Nowadays, it seems like a lot of people who were born in Illinois, or came here like Lincoln did at a young age, are among the throng taking part in the historic exodus occurring. And unlike Lincoln, it’s not often a bittersweet departure. Many can’t wait to get out, and don’t plan to come back.
Lincoln helped create a past for Illinois, which is the envy of any state. But what is there to envy about Illinois now? High taxes? Rampant corruption? Reputation for violent crime? We don’t think so.
In order for the Land of Lincoln to become a desired destination like it once was for young Abe, we have to initiate reforms that have been dodged for far too long now. Otherwise, the Land of Lincoln might as well be given a second moniker: “Illinois: Proud past, putrid future.’’