February 20, 2019
Representative Brad Halbrook
200-1N Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Dear Representative Halbrook,
I am writing regarding your recent introduction of House Resolution 101, suggesting that Illinois split into two states between the City of Chicago and the rest of Illinois. While I believe that the likelihood of this resolution passing is unlikely, this proposal deserves public scrutiny to disrupt the antiquated logic that it presents.
Last fall, I was elected to represent the people of District 14 on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, defeating a 20-year Republican incumbent. While I am proud to be one of many bringing progressive politics to the region, I was born in Decatur and grew up in Macon, a proud city within the confines of the 102nd Illinois legislative district. Many of the formative experiences that I now lean into as an elected official were developed as I worked on our family farm, walked beans, detasseled corn, and milked cows. My observations on your proposal are from a proud native of your district, where I still have family and where my parents are buried.
Based on our shared experience, I was struck by the profoundly unfair and patently false statements contained within your resolution. After even a cursory read, it is clear that because the state now reflects progressive politics, you simply want to take your toys and go home. Your solution would have us establish a new state comprised of only those who share your political views. That is not what democracy looks like.
With all due respect, shame on you. Your resolution is nothing more than a typical dog whistle. Racist political ideologies, like this, consistently plague our democracy from alt right and white supremacist groups. Reviewing the noted "Southern Illinois Secession Movement," an advocacy group that exists exclusively on Facebook, further highlights that your secession policy is designed almost exclusively to avoid being in a political body with individuals of color.
While we come from the same area, we obviously have differing views: that diversity, in itself, is the strength of our democracy. To propose secession from the state of Illinois does not befit the high office to which you have been elected and certainly does not reflect the views of those you were sworn to represent. My ancestor fought for the Union against the Southern Confederacy at Shiloh and other Western battlefields during the Civil War. He did this to preserve our nation, strengthen our union, and ensure essential rights to those it had been denied. Separating the union of Illinois will not bring about the myths of southern glory to which your resolution implies you ascribe.
I urge you to withdraw this profoundly disturbing resolution. It is contrary to the best aspects of our life as Illinoisans who are united and committed to our democracy, not just for people who look like you and me, but for everyone.
Commissioner Scott Britton