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Our view: 2 Democrats for governor; 2 ideas on healing the divide

 
By The Editorial Board
updated: 1/26/2018 4:47 PM

Bob Dailber lives in Madison County, while Robert Marshall lives 225 miles away in suburban Chicago.

Each of them senses the same thing: that the regional divisions in Illinois run wide. Both Marshall and Daiber have built their campaigns for the Democratic nomination for governor largely around that premise.

Marshall responds to the division in an quixotic way. His campaign platform centers on slicing Illinois into three or four states. Chicago would be one; the suburbs would be another. And the rest of Illinois -- i.e. "Downstate" -- would be one or two more.

As likable as Marshall seems, we think subdividing Illinois is impractical. But Marshall says that once he gets outside the Chicago area, his proposal gets more positive responses.

Daiber doesn't just see these same divisions, he knows them. A downstater himself, he has grown up with an understanding of how disregarded and disenchanted rural Illinois feels.

He says only a downstate governor who's open to compromise and working across the aisle can bring Illinois back together.

This is, somewhat, a convenient argument for Daiber to make. Out of six Democrats and two Republicans running, he's the only downstater. But it has a ring of some truth in it, too.

To some degree, the relationship between urban and rural America is like the relationship between Cubs and White Sox fans. White Sox fans have a chip on their shoulders because their team plays second fiddle to the Cubs. Whereas, with the Cubs being in the dominant market position, their fans don't think about the Sox much at all.

Likewise, we in rural America feel our views, needs and values are subordinated and disrespected by urban America. Truth be told, urban America doesn't think much about rural America and when it does, it's often with a sense of superiority.

How do we heal these divisions? Not by drawing lines on a map. And the election of rural candidates would probably go only so far.

Ultimately, we can only heal them if we all try to listen. Why does that seem to be so hard?