Digital Access

Digital Access
Access saukvalley.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from SaukValley.com, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
National Editorial & Columnists

Future can’t be compromised

Pension deal only puts off state’s financial judgment day

Last week, I stood in a small country church and sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” along with about 50 others who celebrated the life of my 103-year-old grandmother, whose long life had come to an end.

It was the hymn that she requested be sung at her funeral.

Voices rose thunderously in Brooklyn United Methodist Church as the congregants pounded out the words, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

I’ve always loved that song because of its uncompromising zeal to fight for freedom.

Julia Ward Howe wrote the verses in 1862 while the nation was in the midst of the Civil War.

One of its most stirring lines is, “Let us die to make men free.”

One can imagine young men in blue marching into battle singing that hymn. They were willing to give their lives for a cause bigger than themselves.

There was no room for compromise in those words.

But such sentiments are no longer politically correct.

After all, today, compromise is the name of the game. We are told there are no absolutes. “Go along to get along” seems to be the mantra of many in Springfield and Washington.

It is no small wonder that in recent decades, there has been a movement to reword that line in the great hymn to “Let us live to make men free.”

After all, is freedom really worth dying for?

Yes, it is.

The men who charged the beaches of Normandy knew that all too well. So did those who gave their lives at Hue and Iwo Jima.

Imagine where we would be today if George Washington had chosen to compromise rather than fight. British tyranny would have prevailed, and the greatest nation on earth would never have been born.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recognized the temptation to compromise and addressed it in his great “I Have a Dream” speech:

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”

Dr. King knew some things just were non-negotiable.

Nowhere in that speech will one find the soothing balm of compromise.

Those who are regular readers of this column know that I don’t often take a middle ground.

As they say in Texas, “The middle of the road is a fine place to be – if you’re a dead armadillo.”

Some things in life are non-negotiable.

In a recent column, I was blunt in explaining why the recent pension compromise was bad for our state and will do little to resolve the Land of Lincoln’s ongoing fiscal ailments.

I wish I was wrong.

But I cannot remain silent on a matter that imperils the future of this great state.

I have not the slightest doubt that the issue of pensions will be visited again and again in coming years because this “compromise” does little but saddle future generations of Illinoisans with our debt and likely will burden the current generation with higher taxes.

Some will say: “Scott, the matter has passed and is now law. It’s time to remain quiet.”

Some things, such as our children’s futures, cannot be compromised.

So, I will not be silent. 

Note to readers – Scott Reeder’s column is underwritten by the Illinois Policy Institute.

Loading more