Change starts or stops with you


I can hardly believe it is already September.

This week I have seen combines driving down the road and the dust from the bean fields in the air. The high school football field lights are on, and the nights are cool. So I would be remiss if I didn’t remind everyone to slow down and take their time.

As the fall season ramps up, there will be more farm equipment on the roads and more kids driving to and from school. Last month, I gave you a little tease about being mad, but I had no idea what this previous month would bring us.

The idea that I had for this month's column pales in comparison to what we have seen over the last month. Whether the failure is of the state legislature, the federal executive branch or our governor, we should all be upset and we should all be mad. And we should want change.

I cannot believe that the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 is upon us. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the first plane hit the tower, when the second plane hit the tower and when they both came down.

I still remember the feeling on Sept. 12, which, in part, is the reason why I sit at the desk that I do today. Sept. 11 shifted the trajectory of our country and our community, but have we forgotten why that shift occurred?

There seems to be a competition between the states of California, Illinois and Minnesota to again shift our trajectory. If these societal changes occur it will forever affect us and not in a positive way.

I challenge each one of you to remember what you felt on Sept. 11 as well as what you felt on Sept. 12 and to make sure that you continue to remember that sense of American pride.

As I am speaking at community events, the overwhelming discussion is the failures of the last month in Afghanistan, energy, crime and gerrymandered legislative maps. Our voices must be heard to effect change, not only here in the state of Illinois, but also in Washington D.C.

You do this by voting with your heart. While this topic isn’t what I teased you with last month, I believe it is very relevant especially in light of the events of the last 30 days. You should be mad. It’s your government, the people’s house. Remember the United States constitution begins in bold letters and provides so simply, “We the People.” Change starts or stops with you.

Brian VanVickle is the Sheriff of Ogle County.

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