It seems the “thought police” are at it again, this time attacking the “power of positive thinking”. No doubt, it is exceptionally easy to get stuck in the mire of negativity that is part and parcel with political rhetoric in 2020. The empty calories of negativity have us all letting out our belts and feeling sluggish from the weight of it all.
Some mainstream media commentators are attacking even the notion of positivity during times of adversity. How unfortunate for them. We are all products of what we consume. If we consume only negativity, our thoughts drift toward despair. However, if we allow the light of positivity to enter our lives, we find that embracing positivity around us becomes contagious to our neural pathways. These brain cells light up, time and again, if we feed them well. That is not hard to do here in Northwest Illinois.
I attended a great tractor pull event at the Stephenson County Fairgrounds this past weekend. Northwest Illinois values were on full display. Love of Country, respect for our military and law enforcement, and goodwill toward neighbors were all cheered heartily by the crowd who were out for a good time on a beautiful Midwestern night. Not to mention, there were some pretty awesome displays of American “Engine-uity”. No apologists for patriotism and positivity in this crowd!
Same with the Northern Illinois Youth Livestock show that was recently held. Young future leaders from farm families across Northwest Illinois showed us we have much to be proud of with the future generation. No strangers to hard work and dedication, their values humbly shine through in pride of work. Agriculture is our heritage in this part of the Midwest and these young people show us it remains a strength for our future.
Members of our heritage media recently contacted me about a discrepancy they saw in a taxpayer funded advertising campaign to promote the use of face coverings to reduce exposure to COVID. They wondered, with all the hits from the State’s shutdown orders, why would heritage media like newspapers and radio be excluded from this $5 million advertising plan coordinated by Governor Pritzker, instead focusing all dollars on out-of-state social media giants? Despite the power of their presses to persuade public opinion, they wanted to first humbly ask the Governor to consider putting just a portion of these advertising dollars into local newspapers and radio, hard hit by the COVID pandemic and resulting economic shutdown. They did not immediately choose a path of negativity. They chose to ask Governor Pritzker to reconsider. I humbly and respectfully joined them in this request.
Even when a terrible Midwest derecho swept straight-line hurricane-force winds through on August 10, many lost power and had limbs to cleanup. In Forreston, they got hit particularly hard. I arrived on the scene to an Emergency Operations Center in full swing, responding to neighbors in need and clearing streets, power lines and fallen limbs. The work of our first responders, notified through MABAS, and our linemen was impressive. It wasn’t just the first responders we think of, though, it was Northwest neighbor helping neighbor. Members of the Mennonite Church organized tractors and dozens of able-bodied persons of faith in God to help their neighbors in need.
The “power of positivity” is strong in Northwest Illinois. Make no error, our kindness should not be mistaken for weakness. It is a strength backed up by a pretty impressive track record of faith, patriotism and compassion. We lead with our strengths and I am “positively” proud to be born and raised in, and to now represent the values of, Northwest Illinois.