In the brave new world of Big Data, sometimes we forget that politics is about people's lives. In the binary world of partisan politics, sometimes we forget that those whom we elect are supposed to be the means to the policy ends they said they would advance were they selected.
When we forget these fundamentals, people without political clout get hurt and all of us suffer a loss of dignity in the process.
And so the number for your consideration in this installment of Illinois By The Numbers is 47.
47th is where Illinois ranks nationally in the provision of services to persons with developmental disabilities.
Put aside the dismal rankings of Illinois in terms of tax burdens, credit rating, unfunded liabilities, business climate, legal climate and all the rest of the metrics we use to discern a state's fiscal health.
Providing or not providing for those who need state support through no fault of their own is a mirror that reflects our humanity; our moral health.
No other number more powerfully crystallizes how barbaric we have become as a state--and I mean that word, barbaric — than that ranking.
Politicians in both parties tell the voters they are running to, in part, take care of truly vulnerable persons.
And yet after all of the taxing and spending and borrowing and spending that both parties have done, if the truly vulnerable were their priority, how could Illinois be nearly last in the nation in providing services to the developmentally disabled?
Per Occam's Razor, the plain, simple truth is: both parties have been lying and they continue to lie.
But it is worse than that. The further disgrace is the politicians who preen for onlookers, trotting out the developmentally disabled and tenuously-financed social service providers when they want to raise taxes or borrow money.
Persons with developmental disabilities and their families have been used by cynical, amoral Illinois politicians as cannon fodder for a big government agenda from which they derive no benefit.
The result of this political fraud is families who have a family member with a developmental disability have fled Illinois just as entrepreneurs have to live in, well, more civilized states.
This is happening on our watch. As an Illinois resident, this is happening on my watch. We are all culpable. And now, none of us can no longer pretend not to know.