“Welcome to the Desert of the Real” Series – Part Six

“Gigantic, willful, young, Chicago sitteth at the northwest gates.” ~ William Vaughn Moody “An Ode in Time of Hesitation,” 1901

*Access Part One at the following link:

“Welcome to the Desert of the Real” Series – Part One

*Access Part Two at the following link:

“Welcome to the Desert of the Real” Series – Part Two

*Access Part Three of this series at the following link:

“Welcome to the Desert of the Real” Series Part Three 

*Access Part Four of this series at the following link:

“Welcome to the Desert of the Real” Series – Part Four

*Access Part Five of this series at the following link:

“Welcome to the Desert of the Real” Series – Part Five

“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.” ~ Rumi

Note: If you appreciate all the time, dedication, and hard work I have thus far and am continuing to put into researching, innovating and creating this comprehensive, unique and one of a kind website and series to educate, enlighten, benefit, and help others…

…please consider making a small donation or whatever donation you are comfortable making to support what has become my life’s mission and work at one of the following 2 links.

$5.00, $50.00, $500.00 or whatever amount you are comfortable donating would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

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“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ~ Pablo Picasso

*Important: This highly unique series contains quite a bit of linked multi-media content.

This content is extremely important in addition to the content being very interesting, compelling, and highly entertaining.

For this reason, ideally this series is best accessed by a laptop or desktop computer. 

If you are attempting to access it via your phone, please WAIT a few minutes before you begin scrolling each web page to ensure that each page and all it’s contents have downloaded properly.

Just relax and chill for a few minutes. I promise it will be worth your while. 🙂

Before we get started…

A Very Important Recommendation:

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If you don’t have access to good therapy via your health insurance, if you don’t have health insurance, or if traditional therapy is out of your price range…

…the following two excellent and affordable therapy resources may help and benefit you or a loved one a great deal.

“Look, I didn’t want to go to therapy when I started going, I was like, ‘no, I’m good, I don’t need that,'” Phelps said. “But to be honest, I’m happy I went; I’m happy I forced myself to go when I didn’t always want to go. Because I felt so much better when I left.” ~ Michael Phelps, an American former competitive swimmer. He is the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 28 medals.

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This excellent online therapy program is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). 

CBT has been developed on the idea that our thoughts (head) are what cause our feelings (heart) and behaviors, not external stimuli like people, situations and events.

CBT is one of the most commonly used methods for treating mental problems.

Studies show that online therapy based on CBT is just as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy.

It offers a complete Happiness Toolbox.

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“Thirties. Go to therapy. Clean up all of the sh-t. Clean up all of the toxins and the noise. Understand who you are. Educate yourself on the self.” ~ Jennifer Aniston, American actress

(2) Calmerry – Feel Calm With Online Therapy

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“I believe that the therapist’s function should be to help people become free to be aware of and to experience their possibilities.” ~ Rollo May, the influential founder of Existential Psychotherapy in the United States and a co-founder of Humanistic Psychology with Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers.

Before Part Six, here is yet another….

….Chicago the Beautiful Spotlight 🙂

“Chicago will give you a chance. The sporting spirit is the spirit of Chicago.” ~ Lincoln Steffens, “The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens” – (1931)

Continuing on from Part Five to Part Six

…an important point about Chicago:

Chicago being the birthplace of Community Organizing is just one of many forms of American Democracy it helped to create, innovate and/or revolutionize.

And of course President Obama used his invaluable community organizing cred to go on to win four more years in the White House in 2012.

President Obama’s stellar Chicago-based re-election campaign headquarters in 2012 made sure of it.

“Every president since Richard Nixon has run his re-election campaign from either Washington D.C., or its Virginia suburbs.” “Reelection campaigns are typically based in Washington because that puts the leadership closer to where [the candidate] lives,” Jamal Simmons, a Democratic consultant, told Politico. “In modern presidential history, this is kind of revolutionary.” ~ From CBS News article titled “Report: Obama to Run 2012 Campaign from Chicago” – December 2010

Needless to say, Barack Obama is a very smart man.

He intimately knew the city that in many ways very strategically helped and positioned him to launch straight into the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Case in Point:

During the very hard fought battle between Barack and Hillary during the Democratic primary for the presidential nomination in 2008…

…Chicago pols and Illinois state lawmakers made no secret which candidate they were all in for:

A few examples:

“In fact, state Democratic lawmakers moved up Illinois’ (presidential) primary — one of more than two dozen “Super Tuesday” contests across the country — to try to give Obama an early boost.” ~ Los Angeles Times – April 2008 – Mayor Richard Daley (the younger) comes to Barack Obama’s Defense

“Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, whose father and namesake was famously not so sympathetic to antiwar protesters, is coming to the defense of Barack Obama for his link to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. Daley accused Hillary Clinton and other critics of Obama’s association with Ayers of ‘re-fighting 40-year-old battles.’ And the mayor noted that he also knows Ayers and has ‘worked with’ him on city education reforms.” ~ Los Angeles Times – April 2008

Knowing how hard Chicago worked to get him into the White House…

…President Obama also knew Chi would work hard to keep him there.

One thing is for sure, any presidential campaign that is run from Chicago is most definitely going to play to win.

Remember this?

Obama for America TV Ad: “Firms”

Comments from this highly effective Obama-Biden 2012 re-election campaign video on You Tube:

“Wow! Well done Team Obama. This is powerful stuff.”

“Brilliant ad. Hats off to the team that did this. And most importantly, it’s factual.”

“I applaud the Obama campaign for this ad. Not only is it accurate but it’s made incredibly well.”

“Most effective ad I’ve ever seen at getting to the point simply and directly with just facts.”

Fearlessly cutting through the BS and getting straight to the point or straight to the real truth of the matter is The Chicago Way. 

Of course The Chicago Way worked like a charm and won President Barack Obama… 

#FourMoreYears 🙂

And yes Obama-Biden did indeed win Florida (again) in 2012 🙂

Throughout it’s colorful, exciting, pioneering, and one of a kind history, Chicago has always been known for attracting & breeding tough, smart, and charismatic winners. 🙂

“Let me tell you something. I’m from Chicago. I don’t break.” ~ Presidential Candidate Barack Obama to a crowd of supporters concerned about political attacks against him in 2008

FUN FACT: Four of the Top 5 U.S. presidential candidates with the most votes cast for president in U.S. history…

….were either born or schooled in Chicago…

…or as in President Biden’s case, was previously on the same winning ticket and the VP partner of a Chicago president:

Candidate      Year    Party         Popular Vote

Joe Biden         2020    Democratic 81,283,501  –   Winner.

Donald Trump 2020   Republican 74,223,975  –   Runner-up.

Barack Obama 2008   Democratic 69,498,516  –   Winner.

Barack Obama 2012   Democratic 65,915,795  –   Winner.

Hillary Clinton 2016   Democratic 65,853,514  –   Won Popular Vote, lost Electoral College

*Source: Wikipedia

For those who don’t know…

…Hillary Clinton was born and raised in Chicagoland.

Coincidence? I think not 🙂

And of course being the ground-breaking, pioneering, and most importantly Democracy loving city it is….

…these 4 out of 5 top vote getting Chicago affiliated presidential tickets include…

…the first Black president…

…the first Black VP…

…the first Asian American VP…

…the first female VP…

……and the first female presidential party nominee and candidate.

Back to present day typically winning Chicago 🙂

Fast Forward to 2022:

“What are the best cities in the world? Every year, Time Out surveys more than 20,000 people around the world to identify the best cities to visit right now. This year, Edinburgh topped the list as the best city in the world, followed by Chicago, Medellín, Glasgow and Amsterdam.” ~ Forbes – July 2022


In addition to being voted second most beautiful city in the world and the #1 most beautiful city in America/North America in 2021…

….Chicago was ranked the 2nd Best City in the World in 2022 by more than 20,000 Time Out survey takers from around the world.

*Edinburgh, Scotland was voted the #1 Best City in the World.

Congrats Edinburgh 🙂

This means Chicago was voted the BEST City in America and North America by those same 20,000+ voters.

How cool is that? 🙂

This is the reason why Chicago keeps breaking it’s tourism records year after year with tens of millions of tourists flooding the Windy City from America and from around the world.

“Chicago does not go to the world, the world comes to Chicago.” ~ Peter Orner – Native Chicagoan

For example…

…this happened in 2015:

Curbed Chicago – April 2016 Chicago Breaks Tourism Record With 52 Million Visitors in 2015

And this happened in 2016:

Curbed Chicago – January 2017 – Chicago Hits New Tourism Record With 54.1 Million Visitors In 2016

And this happened in 2017: 

Chicago Tribune – January 2018 – Chicago Tourism Numbers Hit Record High, Topping 55 Million Visitors In 2017

And this happened in 2018:

NBC Chicago – April 2019 – Nearly 58 Million Visitors Help Set New Chicago Tourism Records

And a record 61 Million visitors came to Chicago in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

“Going to Chicago was like going out of the world.” ~ Muddy Waters

Year after year, Chicago keeps breaking it’s own tourism records.

Chicago keeps topping itself.

How badass is that? 🙂

The reality is that Chicago has fascinated visitors to it almost since it’s inception.

“It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago—she outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them. She is always a novelty; for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time.” ~ Mark Twain, legendary writer and humorist – (1835 – 1910)

Keep in mind as the 3rd largest city in the US, Chicago has only 2.7 million residents.

For context, Los Angeles which is the 2nd largest city in the US, has 3.9 million residents, which is roughly 1.2 million more residents than Chicago has…

…yet even with Cali’s beaches, it’s beautiful mountains, Beverly Hills, Hollywood and the chance for star sightings, 50 million visitors visited LA in 2019, which is 11 million visitors less than Chicago had in 2019.

As the largest city in America with 8.5 million residents, New York City reached a record high of 66.6 million visitors in 2019,

….but that’s just 5.6 million more visitors than Chicago reached with it’s record 61 million visitors that same year, (2019)…

….even though NYC has more than triple the number of residents Chicago has.

“As somebody who has not been right here in Chicago over the last couple years, whenever I visit, I tell people, Chicago’s never looked more beautiful. It has never sparkled more.” ~ Former President Barack Obama – (2017)

It looks like tens of millions of people from around the world know a LOT more about Chicago than the vast majority of the Windy City’s very vocal haters do.

One of many examples:

Bloomberg – September 2017 – “War-Torn” Chicago Is More Popular With Tourists Than Ever

“Chicago, described by President Trump and others as a hellish, dystopian crime scene akin to a “war-torn nation” and “worse than Afghanistan” is about to shatter all of its tourism records, including the one it set last year.” ~ Bloomberg NewsSeptember 2017

*Interestingly, the following was reported that same year, (2017):

“A non-profit news outlet that focuses on gun coverage called The Trace, found that in gun violence per capita, Chicago isn’t even in the top 10 — or the top 15.” “When The Trace crunched Chicago’s five year average last October, covering the years 2010 to 2015, the city came in eighteenth among the 82 American cities with populations greater than 250,000. Updating the same calculations to cover homicide rates for the years 2011 to 2016, Chicago’s falls to twelfth.” ~ The Trace – 2017

Meanwhile, fast forward to 2022

“News media from other cities, especially New York, are extremely jealous. That is why they continually run hit pieces on our city. Chicago’s crime rate is no better or worse than other major urban areas.” ~ Peter Bella Chicago Now – (2013)

And then there is the following inconvenient truth:

“The rate of murders in the US has gone up at an alarming rate. But, despite a media narrative to the contrary, this is a problem that afflicts Republican-run cities and states as much or more than the Democratic bastions.

In 2020, per capita murder rates were 40% higher in states won by Donald Trump than those won by Joe Biden. 8 of the 10 states with the highest murder rates in 2020 voted for the Republican presidential nominee in every election this century.” ~ Thirdway.org – March 2022

I want to make clear that I am in no way minimizing the fact that Chicago and other major cities in America do indeed have too much gun violence which needs to end.

What I am trying to show is this problem isn’t exclusive to Chicago or any other major city in America.

It’s a problem that is happening all over America, yet for whatever reason Chicago and other major cities get scapegoated for it by the corporate owned media and modern day Republican politicians…

…while the far more prevalent deaths by guns in America get totally ignored, which are gun deaths by suicide.

“The majority of (U.S.) gun deaths in recent years, 54 per cent, are not mass shootings or the gangland-style killings you might hear about on the local news. They are suicides.”

And the majority of suicides, 53 per cent, involve a gun, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The foundation found that the top 10 states with highest rate of gun suicides — Wyoming, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Arkansas — are also largely rural and largely Republican, with easy access guns.” ~ The Independent UKJuly 2022

Maybe the pro-gun Republican politicians who scapegoat cities like Chicago for a gun death epidemic that is happening all over America, should begin addressing the gun carnage that is happening in their own backyards before pointing fingers at others.

Maybe they should also address the common denominator in all of these senseless and mostly avoidable deaths, whether from gun violence or from gun suicide, which is the astounding number of unregulated guns in America.

“We continue to see that the states with more gun provisions have lower homicide and suicide rates,” KFF’s Nirmita Panchal said. Rural Americans die by suicide with a firearm as much as five times more often than as those in urban areas, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.

Meanwhile, densely populated urban areas in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, DC, have the lowest rates of gun suicide.” ~ Independent UK – July 2022

Source: ABC News

So to recap…

…the majority of gun deaths in America happen not from gun violence, but from gun suicide…

…yet there has been very little consistent or major focus from politicians or the corporate owned media on this extremely tragic and highly preventable epidemic which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people over the past decade.

“Suicide by firearm is almost always deadly — 9 out of 10 firearm suicide attempts result in death. Every day, 64 Americans die by firearm suicide — one every 22 minutes.” “23,941 Americans died by firearm suicide in 2019, capping a decade during which more than 200,000 people were lost to firearm suicide.” ~ Prevent Firearm Suicide org

Maybe instead of constantly scapegoating Chicago and other urban cities…

…our nation’s politicians and corporate owned media could instead focus on caring about and actually helping all of the citizens of this country…

…whether they are victims of gun violence or gun suicide…

…whether these tragic, needless, and preventable deaths are happening in Blue states or Red states…

…whether they are happening in urban cities or rural communities…

…so the corporate owned media and pro-gun politicians can contribute towards actually saving lives. 

There’s a novel idea.

*This constant scapegoating of my hometown and other major cities while totally ignoring the #1 cause of gun death in America has struck a nerve with me because I have been researching the topic of suicide in the U.S. and how astoundingly prevalent it is for years in my work.

Of course gun violence needs to stop, but this is also true in the many cities in America where gun violence occurs more often than it does in Chicago, which are cities most media outlets and pro-gun politicians are prone to ignore.

Yet the far more important question in my mind is why are politicians and 90% corporate owned media orgs choosing to not sound the alarm on the #1 cause of gun death in America which are gun suicides?

“Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for nearly 46,000 deaths in 2020.” ~ Psychology Today – July 2022

My research on America’s suicide epidemic is one of the many catalysts which inspired me to innovate and create My Head Meets Heart Kits, which are the main topic of this website.

“In 2020, an estimated 12.2 million adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan, and 1.2 million attempted suicide.” ~ Psychology TodayJuly 2022

Although our country’s suicide epidemic is just one of the many reasons why I created My Head Meets Heart Kits…

…it is my intention for my 165 one of kind custom kits to potentially help many people from all walks of life who are dealing with a myriad of different life problems, obstacles, and issues to become less burdened from their mental (Head) and emotional (Heart) traumas…

…to hopefully get on the road to HEALING so they can live healthier, much happier, more content, more confident, more stress free, more productive, more loved, more empowered, and more inspired lives.

Back to always winning Chicago 🙂

“Chicago has disappointed her enemies and astonished the world!” ~ Erik Larson

Yet in spite of the constant and never ending (jealous) hate and over the top rhetoric constantly thrown at the Windy City from various corners of America…

…millions of average Americans totally ignore it and still know the real deal about Chicago’s true greatness.

For example, the following happened in October 2022:

“Chicago was voted the Best Big City in the U.S. again by Conde Nast Traveler. This is the 6th time Chicago has been named this title. Nearly 240,000 readers weighed in for Conde Nast’s readers choice awards. They have selected Chicago as the Best Big City in the U.S. every year since 2017. No other city has won the title more than three times in a row in the award’s 35 year history.” ~ CBS News – October 2022


No other American city has done what Chicago has done annually SIX CONSECUTIVE TIMES. 🙂

“There seems to be a different Chicago around every street corner, behind every bar, and within every apartment, two-flat, cottage, or bungalow.

City of immigrants or city of heartless plutocrats, say what you will, Chicago almost defies interpretation. In many ways Chicago is like a snake that sheds its skin every thirty years or so and puts on a new coat to conform to a new reality.” ~ Dominic A. Pacyga, author of the book Chicago: A Biography

The following excerpt is from Conde Nast Traveler Magazine representing it’s 240,000 travel loving voters:

“It’s no wonder Chicago is topping this list yet again. A world-class destination known for its impressive architecture, first-rate museums, brilliant chefs, and massive brewing scene, it’ll take several repeat visits to get through your list of must-dos.

Most people start downtown—from the Magnificent Mile to the ritzy Gold Coast to funky Old Town—but there are 77 neighborhoods to explore, where you’ll find cutting-edge restaurants, chilled-out corner bars, and, no matter where you go, some of the most pleasant people you’ll find anywhere.” ~ Conde Nast Traveler Magazine – October 2022

“….some of the most pleasant people you’ll find anywhere.”

Yes Chicago has dynamic and pioneering architecture, world-class museums and cultural institutions, a gorgeous miles-long lakefront, wonderful year round neighborhood festivals and concerts, a stunningly beautiful skyline, the best foodie scene in America, an unrivaled art, music, and comedy scene, and some of the best contemporary and historical public art in America but….

…in my humble opinion, the #1 reason why Chicago has won this coveted “Best City In America” title from Conde Nast Traveler Magazine for six consecutive years, more than any other city in America, is…

…the PEOPLE of Chicago.

To put it simply, Chicagoans make Chicago and vice versa. 🙂

“Chicago made me who I am.” ~ Michelle Obama

That reminds me of a quote from a legendary player for the Chicago Bulls:

“I didn’t come here to be average.” ~ Michael Jordan 

The truth is none of us came or were born on this planet to be “average” or to not strive to be true to ourselves and our abilities, but those from or associated with Chicagoland seem to know this truth better than most.

“Chicago has always been a fertile and nurturing environment for those who march not to the beat of a different drummer, but to a different symphony.

Loud and proud, Chicago’s distinctive personality has less to do with its gloriously distinctive architecture than it does with the sum of its people.” “Unlike any other city in the land, Chicago accommodated its characters, celebrated them, in fact.” ~ Rick Kogan in the forward of the book “Chicago Originals” by Kenan Heise and Ed Baumann


I would argue that the worst place in America for you to live if you’re striving to be average, inauthentic, to live a life of pretense, or to just fit in is in Chicago.

“People who don’t fit in anywhere else fit in here. It’s a collection of square pegs.” ~ Artist, Golden Gloves Boxer and Character actor Tony Fitzpatrick as featured in the book “Never A City So Real: A Walk In Chicago” by Alex Kotlowitz

A great example of Chicago’s character is the Chicago Greeter Program…

…which is a wonderful and 100% Free program where super friendly Chicagoans volunteer to take visitors on neighborhood tours of our great city.

The Chicago Greeter Program

“The most typically American place in America.” ~ James Bryce on Chicago, The American Commonwealth, (1888)

*Visitors can register for a Free tour of one of Chicago’s many unique and diverse neighborhoods with a local tour guide at the following link:


Also, anyone visiting Chicago and interested not only in Chicago’s pioneering, innovative, and colorful history, but also interested in American history in general, should be sure to stop at the Chicago History Museum when visiting.

“Chicago’s Oldest Cultural Institution The Chicago History Museum is situated on ancestral homelands of the Potawatomi people, who cared for the land until forced out by non-Native settlers.” ~ From the Chicago History Museum’s website

Founded in 1856, this truly incredible museum is one of the top historical museums in America with a growing collection of more than 22 million historical items.

These invaluable and historic items include an original copy of The Declaration of Independence, an extensive collection of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant artifacts, and an extensive Civil War collection of artifacts.

“Charles F. Gunther, a prominent Chicago collector, donated some items to the historical society (later named the Chicago History Museum). In 1920, the society purchased the remainder of the large history collection from his estate, with the intention of changing its focus from only a research institution into a public museum. Many of the items in Gunther’s collection, in addition to Chicago, were related to Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War.

These include Lincoln’s deathbed, several other pieces of furniture from the room where he died in the Petersen House, and clothing that he and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln allegedly wore the evening of his assassination.

The collection also contains the table on which General Robert E. Lee signed his 1865 surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant, an official act that ended the American Civil War, at the McLean House in Appomattox, Virginia.” ~ Source: Wikipedia

*This fascinating linked video gives info on some of the other priceless historical artifacts the Chicago History Museum has related to Abraham Lincoln and so much more.

*The museum is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, one of two Chicago neighborhoods named after President Lincoln.

“Sometimes words are just music themselves. Like ‘Chicago’ is a very musical sounding name.” ~ Tom Waits

Even Chicago’s name reeks art, just like the city itself.

Speaking of music…

…even the legendary crooner Frank Sinatra knew the real deal about my home town. 🙂

Case in point:

Frank Sinatra – My Kind of Town (Chicago Is) – From 1964 film “Robin & the 7 Hoods”

 “I had no particular image of Chicago in mind when I wrote ‘My Kind of Town.’ All I wanted to do was write a song in praise of Chicago, and that’s what I did.” ~ Sammy Cahn, legendary songwriter

Those that actually know Chicago know how extremely easy it is to praise the Windy City.

That may be why Frank Sinatra recorded not just one iconic song about Chicago, (like he did with “New York, New York”)…

…Frank recorded TWO iconic songs showing his undying love for the Windy City:

Frank Sinatra – Chicago, My Home Town – (written by Fred Fisher)

Take that NYC. 🙂

“I must say that it’s easy to write nice things about Chicago because it’s that kind of town.” ~ Sammy Cahn

And then there was that time in 2012 when President Obama along with Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Jeff Beck and a host of other rock and blues music legends performed the iconic blues song “Sweet Home Chicago” at the White House.

Sweet Home Chicago sang at the White House

What can I say?

Chicago spawns and attracts some truly legendary and really cool dudes, (and gals too.) 🙂

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.” ~ Michelle Obama

What Michelle Obama’s words demonstrates can also be called The Chicago Way.

I highlighted “I know who I am” from the above quote by Michelle Obama because it is KEY to how Chicago also operates.

Chicago also doesn’t invest interest or energy into the constant hate thrown at it from it’s plentiful haters.


Because Chicago knows itself. 

Here’s the thing:

When you truly know yourself or know who you are and what you represent, what others say or claim about you, (especially if it’s demonstrably false), doesn’t bother or impact you.

Chicago just continues to innovate, create, beautify, work hard, play hard, and have fun…

…while letting it’s amazing feats, accolades, accomplishments, awards, and tens of millions of people from America and around the world flooding into the city every year speak for itself.

At best, Chicago finds it’s many haters amusing. 🙂

We all know what the word “born” means, but what does the word “bred” mean?

Bred: “a person reared in a specified environment or way.” ~ Google Dictionary

“Whatever man undertakes here, should be either actually or seemingly without limit.” ~ Excerpt from Master Architect & City Planner Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan Of Chicago

“…seemingly without limit.”

How else could much of Chicago go from being totally destroyed by The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which was the worst natural disaster to happen in America at that time…

…to now being the #1 most beautiful city in America and North America, and currently the second most beautiful city in the world?

That doesn’t just happen by accident.

Following is a fascinating video narrated by the legendary broadcaster Walter Cronkite using scenes from the 1937 Oscar-nominated film “In Old Chicago” doing a mock news broadcast about the GREAT CHICAGO OF 1871

 More than 17,000 buildings burned to the ground.

Close to 100,000 Chicagoans were left homeless.

Almost 300 Chicagoans tragically died.

The fire burned for TWO DAYS, from October 8 to October 10, 1871…

…and the day after the fire finally burned out, the Chicago Tribune newspaper’s editorial said the following to the frightened, grief-stricken, and totally devastated citizens of Chicago:

“CHEER UP! In the midst of a calamity without parallel in the world’s history, looking upon the ashes of thirty years’ accumulations, the people of this once beautiful city have resolved that CHICAGO SHALL RISE AGAIN.” ~ Editorial from the Chicago Tribune newspaper on Oct. 11, 1871, which was the first edition of the paper published the day after the Great Chicago Fire


Of course Chicago did just that…

….and the rest, as they say, is history. 🙂


A Chicago the Beautiful Spotlight

“With woe on every hand, with death in many strange places, with two or three hundred millions of our hard-earned property swept away in a few hours, the hearts of our men and women are still brave, and they look into the future with undaunted hearts. As there has never been such a calamity, so has there never been such cheerful fortitude in the face of desolation and ruin.” ~ Editorial from the Chicago Tribune newspaper on Oct. 11, 1871, which was the first edition of the paper published the day after the Great Chicago Fire

*The Chicago History Museum has an incredible but temporary exhibit on the Great Chicago Fire called “City On Fire: Chicago 1871” which anyone visiting the museum should check out while it’s still there.

Smithsonian Channel: How The Great Chicago Fire Of 1871 Actually Benefitted Chicago

 “Anthony Trollope, an Englishman, visited Chicago. He said: “These businessmen in Chicago are reckless, and they fail a lot. But failure doesn’t bother them. Catastrophe doesn’t bother them. They bounce right back.” And that seems to be ingrained in the character of the city. The (Great Chicago) fire happens, and believe it or not, in the newspapers its seen as an opportunity. Chicago hops right to it after the fire and rebuilds itself in an astonishingly short period of time. It’s about a two year period.” ~ Author Donald L. Miller – (PBS)

Question: Do you know who designed your city or town?

*Most* Chicagoans definitely know Daniel Burnham. 

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. THINK BIG.” ~ Daniel Hudson Burnham, the Legendary Chicago Architect and City Planner who is responsible for the 1909 Plan Of Chicago

FUN FACT: Chicago’s own Daniel Burnham was also the man responsible for designing the breathtaking National Mall on Washington in DC.

“Architect Daniel Burnham was the Chairman of the Senate Park Commission, which created a comprehensive redesign of the National Mall and DC parks system in the early 1900s. At that time, he was also working for the Pennsylvania Railroad to design a new station. Burnham helped convince the Railroad to relocate their station from the Mall to a nearby site; the building he designed on that site is Union Station. In 1910, President Taft appointed Burnham Chairman of the US Commission on Fine Arts, which advised the Federal Government on the location and design of monuments like the Lincoln Memorial.” ~ Mall History.org

Flashback: Check out this wonderful linked video featuring highlights from President Barack Obama’s 2009 Inauguration where President Obama took his oath of office on the same Bible which President Lincoln took his oath of office on.

President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration drew a massive, record-breaking crowd of almost TWO MILLION PEOPLE on the National Mall which was designed in large part by Obama’s fellow Chicagoan Daniel H. Burnham.

Image: The people packed Daniel H. Burnham-designed National Mall during President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration

*It almost seems like Burnham intentionally designed the National Mall to hold such a massive crowd.

#MakeNoLittlePlans 🙂

Daniel Hudson Burnham  

“The prairie and the lake, each immeasurable by the senses, dictate the scale of possibility in Chicago. Whatever man undertakes here, should be either actually or seemingly without limit.” ~ Excerpt from Master Architect & City Planner Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan Of Chicago


Daniel Burnham mandated that Chicagoans be or act as if they are LIMITLESS…

…and the City of Chicago eagerly picked up Burnham’s baton as is illustrated by one of the city’s multiple and most cherished mottos “I Will.”

“In the history of American urban planning, Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan Of Chicago stands alone not only in it’s innate elegance, but also in it’s astonishing ambition. With near hubris, it counseled that the people of Chicago “must ever recognize the fact that their city is without bounds or limits” and that they themselves are “a population capable of indefinite expansion. More astonishing, much of it was implemented.

Today’s Chicago is a living monument to the plan – which called for replacing chaos, filth and congestion of industrial turn-of-the-20th century Chicago with a formal downtown of skyscrapers, an accessible 20 – mile public park along Lake Michigan, and a necklace of parks and handsome boulevards uniting neighborhoods.” ~ Wall Street Journal

Following is one of countless examples of Chicagoans heeding Daniel Burnham’s “LIMITLESS” mandate:

The following words which ended the iconic film “Matrix” could have only been written by people who were born and bred in Chicago:

“I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how this is going to begin. I’m gonna hang up this phone, and then I’m gonna show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m gonna show them a world without you, a world without rules and controls, without borders and boundaries…

….a world where anything is possible.”

~ An excerpt from Neo’s final words in the original film “Matrix.”

*FUN Fact: “Matrix” creators the Wachowski siblings attended and graduated from the same high school as former First Lady Michelle Obama, which is Whitney Young High School. 🙂

Speaking of the former First Lady…

…Burnham’s “Make no little plans” mandate to Chicagoans is why both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama accomplished so much during the 8 years they were in the White House.

“Daniel Burnham said, “Make no little plans.” And that’s the spirit behind his bold and ambitious designs unveiled 100 years ago this month that helped transform Chicago into a world-class city. That’s the same spirit which we have to approach the reinvention of all America’s cities and metropolitan areas.” ~ President Barack Obama in a speech to urban leaders in July 2009

Having the guts, courage, and audacity to “Think BIG” is how Chicago birthed, innovated, and created the Skyscraper out of the ashes of the fire…

…which some have said is the most important structure created for the world since the Egyptian Pyramids.

“It was in Chicago that the world’s first skyscraper rose up – and the city’s energy and dynamism has had a lasting impact on architecture throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries.” ~ From BBC October 2015 article titled “Chicago: The City That Changed Architecture Forever”

Chicago more than any other city in America knows that you have to work to achieve your big visions, your seemingly impossible goals, and your far fetched dreams.

“I’m impressed with the people from Chicago. Hollywood is hype, New York is talk, Chicago is work.” ~ Actor Michael Douglas

“The City That Works” isn’t one of Chicago’s mottos for nothing. 🙂

The Chicago Way aka the art of constantly initiating challenges was on full display during the 8 years of the Obama administration, and that’s why President Obama’s administration ended up accomplishing more than any other presidential administration had in decades.

Only a presidential administration led by and filled with people from Chicago could have pulled off the many BIG and truly consequential things that were accomplished during the Obama years.

President Elect Obama brought a large group of Chicagoans to Washington, DC to work with him in the White House to help him clean up the absolute mess he inherited from the previous G.W. Bush-Cheney administration.

Harper’s Magazine – June 2010 – In the Loop: Obama’s Hometown Takes Washington

It’s important to remember just how bad things were in America when President Obama first took office in 2009.

Actually President Elect Obama was forced to begin working on the total disaster he inherited from the last administration even before he left Chicago to be sworn in as president in Washington, DC.

The following brief video is an important reminder of all President Obama and his Chicagoan packed administration had to deal with on DAY ONE…

…and also all they managed to accomplish after being in the White House less than four years.

*Yes, that’s actor Tom Hanks doing the narration.

The Road We’ve Traveled Narrated by Tom Hanks 

That was witnessing The Chicago Way in action, ladies and gents.

The New York Times January 2017 The Most Successful Democrat Since FDR

Vox News July 2017Barack Obama Is Officially One of the Most Consequential Presidents In American History

Image: W.H. photographer Pete Souza captures President Obama’s reaction on hearing the Supreme Court’s affirmative decision on upholding Obamacare – June 2015

Strengthening yourself, making yourself sharper, stronger, smarter, more resilient, more patient, more persistent via challenging yourself over and over again can lead to you possibly pulling off some herculean feats…

….like doing something that many presidents had tried yet failed to do over many decades.

Like passing Health Care Reform.

What made President Obama’s job even harder is the fact that he was 100% obstructed by the modern day Republican Party and received ZERO support from them while trying to accomplish this beyond difficult feat which all the media and pundits said would never happen.

“Everything looks impossible to the people who never try anything.”~ Jean – Louise Etienne

Yet like The Chicago Way teaches…

…still President Obama persisted.

The following brief highlight video from National Geographic on Obama White House photographer Pete Souza captures just a taste of both the extremely hard work that went into achieving this extraordinary feat…

…and the amazing feeling of triumph after finally accomplishing it.

National Geographic: The Obama White House Through the Lens

“You run and hopefully win elected office not just for the sake of being something, but for the sake of doing something.” ~ President Obama on why he considers passing and signing Health Care Reform into law his most gratifying moment in public life

 #ThanksObama 🙂

*The Chicago Way says you can’t legitimately be something unless you first do something.

And as it should be, when you do something constructive that helps others

…you are handsomely rewarded.

Pew ResearchJuly 2018 – Obama Tops Public’s List of Best President in Their Lifetime, Followed by Clinton, Reagan

“When asked which president has done the best job in their lifetimes, more Americans name Barack Obama than any other president.” ~ Pew Research – July 2018

In addition to the many unavoidable and unwanted challenges the Obama White House faced….

…being from Chicago, the Obamas also took the extremely rare step to seek out, initiate, create, and launch intended challenges during their 8 years in the White House.

For instance…

…the following video features the Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s #GimmeFive Challenge for the 5th anniversary of her highly accomplished childhood obesity initiative Lets Move.

 Here is just a small sampling of other Challenges launched by the Obama White House during the 8 years they were there:

The GreenGov Challenge

$100 Million Savings Challenge

Student Debt Challenge

The Healthier US School Challenge

Native American Youth Challenge

Healthy Lunchtime Challenge

Summer Fitness Challenge

Communities on the Move Video Challenge

Joining Forces Community Challenge

Youth Sustainability Challenge

White House Healthy Campus Challenge

Green Flight Challenge

Campus Champions of Change Challenge

Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge

A 100-Day Challenge To End Youth Homelessness In Three Cities

60 Communities Tackle Barriers to Learning Through the President’s ConnectED Library Challenge

I could go on and on.

Why were Challenges such a plentiful and crucial part of the Obama Administration?

I suspect its because the Obamas are from Chicago.

“We had just arrived at the helicopter landing zone in Chicago and instead of walking right to the motorcade, the President and First Lady walked past their vehicle to the edge of Lake Michigan to view the skyline of their home town.” ~ Pete Souza, White House Photographer – June 15, 2012

To actively seek, create, or rise up to CHALLENGES is The Chicago Way.

4,000 Schools Meet the First Lady’s Challenge!

“As the school year starts again, Let’s Move! is celebrating a major accomplishment. More than 4,000 schools have achieved certification in the Healthier US School Challenge, a voluntary initiative that awards schools for creating healthier school environments for America’s schoolchildren. In February 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama issued a challenge to certify 1,250 schools in the Healthier US School Challenge by the end of June 2011 and then to add 1,000 schools per year for the following two years. This summer, we hit the First Lady’s 2012 goal as well as the 2013 goal, a year ahead of schedule!” ~ From the Obama White House Archives

In 2010, the Chicago led Obama White House launched a government website called Challenge.gov geared towards encouraging federal workers and the public to take on the challenge of trying to solve some of the federal government’s and nation’s most difficult problems for prize money.

The following excerpt about this revolutionary government website is from the Obama White House archives:

The Challenge

President Obama has recognized that “the challenges we face today – from saving our planet to ending poverty – are simply too big for government to solve alone. We need all hands on deck.”

The Federal government seeks to harness the expertise and insight that lies “outside the beltway” support the broad adoption of community solutions that work, and form high-impact collaborations with researchers, the private sector and civil society, to solve tough problems.

On September 7, 2010, Challenge.gov was launched, making it easy for federal agencies to launch challenges and for the public to share their solutions and innovations with the government.

On Challenge.gov, agencies can use challenges and prizes to find innovative and cost–effective solutions or improvements to ideas, products and processes. The public can find challenges that interest them, support, share and discuss those that are important to them with friends, and solve them. ~ From the Obama White House Archives

And guess what?

Many creative and innovative Americans accepted the Obama White House’s challenge:

Government & Technology – September 2010 – (Obama) White House Launches Challenge.gov, Offering Prize Money for Innovation

Forbes Magazine – February 2014 – Incentivizing Innovation: How The White House Uses Challenge.gov To Solve Big Problems

“In January 2011, Obama signed the America Competes Reauthorization Act, which allowed all federal agencies to set up challenges. Known by the shorthand Challenge.gov, its central Web address, Washington’s prize program trickled into all corners of government, from $500,000 to create vascular tissue in a test tube for NASA, to $5,000 for a white paper on using the new blockchain technology in health care, to a $1,500 prize for a high school kid who designed a comic-strip nanotechnology hero.

The law was extended in 2016, and as of this writing, dozens of agencies had held more than 770 competitions, producing innumerable cool gadgets and software—from a robocall-blocking system invented by a retired engineer in Peru, to an app that lets you read medical records online, to a portable sensor for air pollution. In 2015, Congress got in on the action, with individual members offering small prizes to app-designing high school students in their districts.” ~ Politico – June 2017

Note: Challenge.gov is still active in 2023, and it even remained active during the Trump administration?


Because it was (and still is) highly effective.


“In the years since the idea was reinvigorated by Obama, government prizes have attracted thousands of entrepreneurs and inventors; their breakthroughs include improved algorithms for asteroid detection and preparing coastlines to recover from hurricanes, to better maps of the universe’s dark matter and a gadget that could prevent fatal accidents during high-speed police chases.

Many of the big payoffs have been in science and technology, such as the $50,000 prize sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012 that led to a technology to block robocalls. The winner, NomoRobo, is now in business as a private company, offering a free landline service ($1.99/month on mobile phones) that had blocked 236 million calls from 530,000 robocallers as of June.

NASA has used prizes to develop flexible astronaut gloves, space elevators, unmanned aerial vehicles capable of exploring other planets, robotic construction of moon buildings, and systems for managing space poop. The Department of Energy’s SunShot Catalyst program has put up over $1 million in prizes to incubate cutting-edge solar tech companies working from discoveries spun out of its national laboratories.

Prizes are also used widely in health care. The Department of Health and Human Services has run 140 contests since 2011. Competitions have inspired makers of apps that speed identification of dangerous pathogens or respond to asthma attacks, creators of wearables that collect health data, and efforts to improve patient matching through electronic records.

The competitions have fostered dozens of new companies and partnerships. A Breast Cancer Startup Challenge, funded partly by the Avon Foundation and private NGOs, encouraged inventors to develop products from the National Institutes of Health’s collection of patents related to the disease. Eleven companies have been started as a result. An NIH Debut challenge, aimed at firing up undergraduate scientists, led to a prototype device for measuring lung function that plugs into a smartphone. A group of kids from Washington University in St. Louis created a company, got their product approved by the Food and Drug Administration and now market it.

The U.S. Agency for International Development provided $2 million to its Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge, which drew 1,500 proposals and led to development of new diagnostics, tracking apps and protective equipment for health workers, including cool packs allowing them to comfortably treat Ebola patients while wearing hazmat suits.

“It’s been exciting for me to watch,” said Kittrie. “In the beginning it was apps, websites. Now we’re doing much bigger things.” The NIH, for example, just launched a $1 million, multistaged competition to develop human retinal tissue in a dish.” ~ Politico June 2017

In other words…

…this is one of many ways America has been made so much better by having a Challenge loving Chicago Couple in the White House for 8 years.

U.S President Barack Obama jokes with First Lady Michelle Obama for the Instagram photo booth in the East Room of the White House prior to the annual Easter Egg Roll April 6, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Why do so many Chicagoans actively seek out Challenges, something 99% of average people try hard to avoid?

Are we nuts?

Answer: Living in the REAL world, many Chicagoans know that, as with any challenge or difficulty in life…

…you can only truly overcome it if you ditch fear, make big plans, and fight to overcome whatever is standing in your way.

There are many examples of Chicagoans time and time again creating or accepting challenges to accomplish a specific goal, or personally challenging themselves as Barack & Michelle Obama constantly did the 8 years they were in the White House.

….like the time when then President Obama accepted the challenge to go up against former All American basketball star, now sports commentator Clark Kellogg in a game of HORSE….

…and look how competitive Michelle Obama was when challenged by comedians Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld and Jimmy Fallon on one of her last late night TV appearances as First Lady.

This necessity to regularly ditch fear to meet challenges, whether external or self-made, is a distinctly Chicagoan trait….

….like these guys who challenged themselves to swim in all 32 of Chicago’s beautiful beaches all in only ONE day…

…and like local fitness expert and entrepreneur Shea Vaughn, (actor Vince Vaughn’s mom), who challenged herself to jump out of an airplane over Chicago

…and like this Chicago resident who is originally from Australia who challenged himself to break the “Chicago L Train Challenge” record….

….and like this fearless woman who challenged herself to do a dance every day in a public location in Chicago for 30 days. One take, no edits…..to dance like nobody is watching.

…and like this mob of young people who challenged themselves to freeze in place for 5 minutes as a unique flash mob in February, one of the coldest months of the year in Chicago. Brrrr 🙂

….and like these tough and fun Chicago women who periodically get together to arm wrestle each other for charity.

…and finally like these cute Chicago school children being challenged by comedian Conan O’Brien to help him write Chicago Blues songs. 

Again *most* Chicagoans aren’t afraid of challenges, (of course, there are exceptions to every rule).

“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.” ~ Michelle Obama

Living in or being from Chicago inspires many people to actually look for or create their own challenges just to see if they can master them….

…..to regularly TEST themselves to see just how fearless, strong, courageous and innovative they really are or can be.

What this does is it REVEALS to you exactly who you are, not who you think you are or who you pretend to be.

So many people are all talk, but when actually challenged to be who they claim to be, they fold like a chair.

In short, rising to challenges = The Chicago Way

“It’s the Eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight

Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival” ~ Survivor

That song is The Chicago Way in a nutshell.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” ~ Mark Twain

And Chicago is a dog with a LOT of fight.

“Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past

You must fight just to keep them alive.” ` ~ Eye of the Tiger

How else could Chicago rebuild so quickly and better than ever after The Great Chicago Fire?

That may be one reason why Chicago has spawned so many icons, legends, innovators, creators, and pioneers. 🙂

“Take the challenges you face and own them.” ~ Michelle Obama

This brings me to a riddle of sorts from an episode of the 90s hit television series “The West Wing.”

Here is the relevant quote from the script from that West Wing episode:

Leo: “You’re scared of Babish.

President Bartlet: Oh, like you’re not.

Leo: No, because we are both men of Chicago.

President Bartlet: What is it with people from Chicago that they’re so happy to have been born there? I meet so many people who can’t wait to tell me they’re from Chicago and when I meet them, they’re living anywhere but Chicago.

Leo: You wouldn’t understand.”

*Here is a link to that scene from West Wing on YouTube. 

“What is it with people from Chicago that they’re so happy to have been born there?” ~ West Wing’s President Bartlet

Leo’s response to President Bartlet was 100% correct.

Most people wouldn’t understand…

…..but after reading this heart-felt tribute to my beloved hometown…

…and also a tribute to Chicagoans everywhere…

…hopefully many more people will now understand. 🙂

Last but not least….

In my opinion, the following video represents Chicago’s character, spirit, and nature better than anything else…

…and also demonstrates why Chicago was also rated the second BEST city in the world…

…and the #1 City in America and North America for Community Spirit by 27,000 Time Out Index survey voters from across the globe.

This amazing thing happened on Chicago’s Michigan Ave in September 2009 on an Oprah Winfrey Show episode which featured the pop band The Black-Eyed Peas.

 “In 25 years of doing The Oprah Show, Oprah says the best example of joy rising is when 20,000 audience members learned a choreographed dance in just hours for the Season 24 kickoff-party flash mob.” ~ Description from a Behind the Scenes video on this amazing and unforgettable flash mob which took over Chicago’s Michigan Ave in 2009.

“…20,000 audience members learned a choreographed dance in just hours”

As The Black-Eyed Peas’ leader Will.i.am, said after it was all over:

“Only in Chicago.” ~ Will.i.am.

Yep 🙂

Only 20,000 joyous, fierce and brave Chicagoans could have pulled this incredible feat off…

…and with so much energy, fun, passion, and cheer while doing it.

Chicagoans are just different, and proudly so. 🙂

“My first day in Chicago, September 4, 1983. I set foot in this city, and just walking down the street, it was like roots, like the motherland. I knew I belonged here.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Funny how it seems that everywhere else in the world knows what Chicago represents to America better than most Americans do.

“The most American place in America.” ~ The Telegraph UK on Chicago – October 2017

Chicago will always be America’s top model for what America was founded to be….

…a smart, innovative, creative, brave, beautiful, pioneering, cutting edge, passionate, inclusive, diverse DEMOCRACY which is always striving to be better. 

For this reason…

Chicago’s appeal is more than it’s world class museums, incredible restaurants, pioneering architecture or it’s astonishing surface beauty….

….but is also the appeal of the city’s collective HEART.

“I adore Chicago! It is the pulse of America.” ~ Sarah Bernhardt – Legendary French Actress – 1844 – 1923

How fitting because Chicago is the city which most represents America’s “Heartland”

…and is a city which is commonly called “The Heart of America.”

“Chicago is the heart of America. It is the quintessential American city. We do not fear. When the going gets rough we work harder, we innovate, we rebuild, retool, and we survive. Chicago knows how to rebuild and innovate. Chicago has continued on a path of survival since its inception. If any city has an exclusive claim to be survivalist it is Chicago.” ~ Peter Bella Chicago Now Magazine

One last point on the extremely important topic of Democracy:

American Democracy currently being under very serious threat is a hot topic right now in this country.

Forbes – October 2022 – Poll: A Majority Of Americans Think Democracy Is In Trouble

And in the same way the mainstream media gets it wrong when it is constantly demonizing Chicago…

….the media is also predictably 100% wrong and way out of touch about how tens of millions of Americans feel about the topic of preserving American Democracy.

Case in point:

The media’s narrative BEFORE the 2022 Midterm Elections:

The New York Times – Voters See Democracy in Peril, but Saving It Isn’t a Priority – (October 18, 2022)

The media AFTER the 2022 Midterm Elections:

The Associated Press – Future of American Democracy Loomed Large in Voters’ Minds – (November 10, 2022)

Incredibly before the midterm elections, the vast majority of the 90% corporate owned mainstream media along with many of the pollsters and media pundits they bankroll thought most Americans were simply “meh” on the nation defining issue of preserving American Democracy.

Needless to say, the 90% corporate owned U.S media was dead wrong. 

It looks like millions of voters bypassed the U.S. media’s false narratives and instead listened to the president.

About a week before the midterm elections, President Joe Biden gave a pivotal speech on the important topic of Democracy and how we are currently in jeopardy of losing it in this country.

Although the bulk of the U.S. media chose not to broadcast this important speech by President Biden, all while many media pundits gave incorrect opinions about how wrong and how out of touch his speech allegedly was…

….apparently many Americans bypassed the media’s false narratives and made up their own minds on the president’s speech.

Here are some excerpts from President Biden’s speech on Democracy just 6 days before the 2022 midterm elections:

“I’m not the only one who sees it. Recent polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe our democracy is at risk, that our democracy is under threat. They too see that democracy is on the ballot this year, and they’re deeply concerned about it. So, today, I appeal to all Americans, regardless of party, to meet this moment of national and generational importance.

We must vote, knowing what’s at stake is not just the policy of the moment, but institutions that have held us together as we have sought a more perfect union are also at stake. We must vote knowing who we have been, and what we’re at risk of becoming.”

“This is the struggle we’re now in: a struggle for democracy, a struggle for decency and dignity, a struggle for prosperity and progress, a struggle for the very soul of America itself. Make no mistake — democracy is on the ballot for us all.”

“We must remember that democracy is a covenant. We need to start looking out for each other again, seeing ourselves as “We the People,” not as entrenched enemies.”

“Democracy is imperfect. It always has been. But we are all called to defend it now. Now.”

“We believe we should leave no one behind, because each one of us is a child of God, and every person — every person is sacred. If that’s true, then every person’s rights must be sacred as well.”

“This is also the first national election since the events of January 6th, when the armed, angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. I wish — I wish I could say the assault on our democracy had ended that day, but I cannot.”

“In our bones, we know democracy at risk — is at risk. But we also know this: It’s within our power, each and every one of us, to preserve our democracy. And I believe we will. I think I know this country. I know we will.” ~ Excerpts from President Joe Biden’s speech on Democracy – 11 – 2 – 2022 

*A must read full transcript of President Biden’s pivotal speech on Democracy can be found here.

In spite of the media and pundits criticizing and castigating President Biden for his very important and timely speech on the importance of protecting American Democracy which most of the media failed to even broadcast…

…millions of American voters thankfully saw how important this pivotal and nation defining issue is to our country:

 And the pro-democracy force in the American electorate continued to show up with a record number of voters voting in the Georgia Senate Runoff Election several days after the mid-terms: 

“After a hard-fought campaign—or should I say campaigns?—it is my honor to utter the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy: The people have spoken.” ~ Sen. Raphael Warnock addressing supporters after his projected victory in the Georgia Senate runoff – December 6, 2022

“The people have spoken.”

Those 4 monumental words bring me back to President Biden’s important speech on Democracy.

In his pivotal and must see/must read speech, President Biden said the following:

“From the very beginning, nothing has been guaranteed about democracy in America. Every generation has had to defend it, protect it, preserve it, choose it, for that’s what democracy is: It’s a choice — a decision of the people, by the people, and for the people.

We must, in this moment, dig deep within ourselves and recognize that we can’t take democracy for granted any longer. With democracy on the ballot, we have to remember these first principles.

Democracy means the rule of the people — not the rule of monarchs or the monied, but the rule of the people.” ~ From President Biden’s speech on Democracy – November 2, 2022

That’s it in a nutshell, ladies and gents.

American Democracy is about “The People…”

…We, the People to be exact…

….and in the 21st century that finally means all of the people in this great, diverse mixing pot of a nation.

May we never forget that and always fight for it.

On that note…

…in the following video, Poetry In Voice 2016 winner Marie Foolchand recites a legendary poem from Chicago’s own Carl Sandburg at the Griffin Poetry Prize awards ceremony.

Who is Carl Sandburg?

He’s an American Icon.

Carl Sandburg’s portrait at the National Portrait Gallery:

*Carl Sandburg was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes in his lifetime—the first in 1919 for his poetry collection Corn Huskers, the second in 1940 for his biography Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, and the third in 1951 for Complete Poems.

The following classic Carl Sandburg poem recited by Poetry In Voice 2016 winner Marie Foolchand titled “I Am the People, the Mob” celebrates what American democracy is mainly and truly all about….

….which is the People. 

In recognition of Carl Sandberg’s brilliant Ode to the People/Workingman/women…

…in my opinion, in addition to Abraham Lincoln’s plentiful remarks on the issue of Slavery

…the following quote (which I also posted in Part One of this series) also shows how highly President Lincoln felt about American Workers. 

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” ~ Abraham Lincoln via Britannica.com

As was typical of him…

Abraham Lincoln spoke 100% truth.


The legendary Walt Disney was a native Chicagoan whose workingman father was a carpenter who worked 7 days a week earning only a dollar a day.

The Disney family saved up, purchased land, and Walt’s father Elias Disney built their family home in a working class neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side.

Image: Disney fans in front of the family home built by Walt’s father which is now a museum and has been classified a historical landmark on the honorary “Disney Family Ave” in Chicago.

“Three of the five children were born here, and this was the place in which the Disneys spent the most time together as a family of seven.” ~ Better.net

Walt’s father Elias also worked on the 1893 World Columbian Exposition also known as the 1893 Chicago World Fair.

Elias reportedly told his children stories about that legendary and magical Fair which likely became a guiding inspiration in Walt’s mind for creating Disneyland.

“Walt Disney was, quite literally, born into the world of expos. His father, Elias Disney, worked as a carpenter at Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. That same year, Elias built the family’s home, where Walt was born in 1901. The 1893 World’s Fair had a huge impact on American culture which reverberates even into the present. We can have no doubt that a young Walt heard many stories about that magnificent exposition.” ~ Bie-Paris.org

“Elias worked as a carpenter for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, a global spectacle that would set the precedent for future events of this kind, later referred to as “World’s Fairs.” ~ Walt Disney.org

*Inspired by his father’s work on the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago

…decades later Walt Disney would go on to create four attractions for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair.

“The idea that a kid who grew up in this modest home in a working-class Chicago neighborhood could, through a combination of creativity, confidence, and hard work, go on to become the man who brought us Mickey Mouse, Disney theme parks, and the global media empire Disney continues to be today, is a story that continues to move all who’ve been touched by Disney’s legacy. Benadon and Young want this museum to be a place that lights a creative spark for young visitors and reminds them that they can too be anything.” ~ Better.net

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~ Walt Disney

A Special Spotlight:

“I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

As I’m sure you have noticed, this website links to many awesome books/audiobooks which I highly recommend reading.

For this reason, (or if you’re simply a book lover), here is an extremely valuable and smart resource which I highly suggest you check out:

Dubbed the “Netflix of Books”…

Book Lender is an online rental service for paperback books and audiobooks. Imagine having the latest titles, the best classics, or any book you want delivered right to your door.

No more trips to the library only to find out the items you want are already checked out.

No more costly trips to the local bookstore or purchases on Amazon.

You have a choice of more than 250,000 titles.

Book Lender offers Free shipping, no due dates and you can cancel anytime.

“We read to know we’re not alone.” ~ William Nicholson

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You can check Book Lender out at this link.


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Back to Chicago:

“Here I saw a city rise and say to the peoples round world: Listen, I am strong, I know what I want.” ~ Carl Sandburg on his beloved Chicago

What does Chicago want?

Answer: To be awe inspiringly BEAUTIFUL 🙂

Here is another Chicago the Beautiful Spotlight:

 The late, great noted chef, international foodie, and famous world traveler Anthony Bourdain said all that really needed to be said about Chicago:

“Chicago is a town, a city that doesn’t ever have to measure itself against any other city. Other places have to measure themselves against it.” ~ Anthony Bourdain