Here we are, 48 days till the election. Great excitement is building, debates are scheduled, and the door knocking has begun. 

As we get ready to choose local representatives who make decisions that directly affect our quality of life related to public safety, education, infrastructure and economic development, we will hear opinions, fears and desires unfold. We can celebrate democracy with a good, healthy sign. 

The objective of a sign is to increase the visibility of a candidate’s name and message to try to create the impression of support greater than one’s opponent. Some lawns will host many of the same sign, in different directions, to really mark their territory and show their great support.

We will see opposing signs in close proximity to one another, a friendly reflection of tensions and beliefs. If we’re really lucky, there will be signs in front of vacant buildings, in public spaces and at the end of Circle Avenue, and a sign might pop up just as the door rises in the last drying moments when you exit Crystal Car Wash. As we get closer to the election, there will likely be stories of vandalism to a sign or theft of a yard sign — the ultimate late-night violation. 

Next up will be parade day, with a swarm of supporters in candidate T-shirts will buzz around a car or truck (bonus points if it’s a green one) passing out leaflets branding a candidate or group of candidates. Revelers on Madison will shout with glee and toast good cheer to the generous people willing to serve them. 

Then if we are really, really lucky, the campaign mailers will start to arrive. Some may be juiced with birth rites, feature a crying baby, perhaps a lonely abandoned child, using sepia tones or a black and white photo, maybe a picture of Satan himself will appear, and the fear campaign will be in full swing. Even better is when a campaign mailer or door hanger alludes to another political organization to manipulate a vote or two. Then it might be announced on social media that someone in town received a campaign flier, unstamped, illegally slipped into in a mailbox (the horror!). After all, children’s books are made for promoting a healthy and productive society, electioneering for adults. 

It is humor (and sarcasm) that gets us all through and I sure love a bingo card to keep score with at a debate. Had a friend give me one for a local election and I was over the moon. Once the themes are fully fleshed out, the card can contain business development, equitable practices, environmental issues, financial state, economic interests, safety, trust, and community pride. The magic phrases and themes in the campaign can add “wife,” “dog,” or “video gaming,” just to name a few key words from past debates into the mix.

While the park district and District 91 have uncontested elections, we can focus our energy on the contested ones (mayor, commissioner and Proviso District 209) which feature genuinely talented candidates who seem devoted to serving the people of Forest Park and our area, so I am looking forward to hearing their messages and perspectives. 

It is difficult to be the person elected, managing when the arrows start flying, so my hat is off to all my fellow Forest Parkers who are willing to serve. I wish you and our community nothing but the best.