It was a nice summer day in Illinois. Kids were enjoying their summer break, diving for murder weapons in the Chicago River, when news broke that the state of Illinois was on the verge of being downgraded to junk bond status.
Unchecked growth in government and the inability to tax fleeing citizens and corporations were the cause. "I am shocked," said - no one.
Illinois' woes follow the bankruptcy of Detroit, another victim of progressive rule. Even Stevie Wonder in his native Motown saw it coming. Chicago, like Detroit, has just two seasons: winter and killing.
As we do an autopsy on Illinois, once the symbol of American industrial might, we learn several undeniable facts. The state's financial woes are the direct result of decades of insidious liberal rule, heavy-handed union thuggery, cronyism, fleecing politicians and a dependency culture.
You know things are bad when a state dominated by Democrat machine rule hands the reins to a Republican governor. The Brokeback Mountain of debt he inherited makes his task impossible.
I know a lot about Illinois politics. I had an uncle, Jack Hart, who lived in Chicago and voted a straight Republican ticket until his death. Since then, he has voted for only Democrats.
Uncle Jack went to the church of Obama's famous preacher, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. My uncle could hardly walk from a Vietnam War injury. He said Wright put his healing hands on his head and said, "Now you will walk." The preacher was right; when my uncle went outside, he found that his car had been stolen.
An endless succession of corrupt governors like "Blago," many of whom are making license plates in the state pen, propagated the untenable notion of equal outcomes through a flawed notion of economic and social "justice."
It is so bad in Chicago that Trump sent ATF agents to help with all the shootings. All the while, Obama acolyte Mayor Rahm Emanuel spent his time talking about how he was going to defy Trump's travel ban and offered refugees sanctuary in the city. The war-ravaged Muslim refugees from Mosul, who have seen the worst of humanity, are thinking it over. Chicago is more interested in keeping Chick-fil-A out than criminal illegal aliens.
Chicago does not worry about ISIS; if they attack Chicago, ISIS savages know they will be outgunned. You think it is dangerous in Aleppo? Try being a driver of a Nike delivery truck in Chicago.
Liberal policies always leave behind disillusioned, uneducated citizens reared in generational dependency. Entitlement dependency robs people of their ambition, pride and the ability to see beyond what politicians tell them they are "owed." The liberal solution is always to throw more of someone else's money at the problem, money that filters through corrupt, graft-grubbing hands.
The highlight for Chicago this year was holding the NFL draft, where rich old white team owners bid for the services of the biggest, strongest and fastest young men. They really should hold this annual event at Colonial Williamsburg.
No country, state or city can expect to survive when its people take more than they give. The blue states that are seeing mass migration southward, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut, lost more than 200,000 people in 2016 alone, while zero income tax Florida gained 200,000 people in the same year.
Until people reject the lies that liberals codify into law and reject the ideology of "progressivism," they will continue to face financial and moral bankruptcy. This again pits idealistic, socialistic progressivism against two of its lifelong foes: math and reality.
Illinois is yet another warning to us all. Detroit, Baltimore, Puerto Rico, Illinois, etc. are not some sort of beautiful, progressive, ideological meccas; they are a continuing education seminar.
Contact Ron Hart, a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator, at Ron@RonaldHart.com or Twitter @RonaldHart.