I love Chicago. I have always felt that if you couldn't find something great to do in the city, it was your own fault. World class museums, theater and the most accessible, gorgeous parks and beaches to be found anywhere. 

Being raised in a suburb, I nonetheless consider myself a Chicagoan. 

After college, I moved into the city and began my career. It was the reign of "the real Mayor Daley" and Chicago truly was the city that worked.

After marriage, and with two babes of my own, we had a new Mayor Daley and I watched the neighborhoods being cleaned up and the city blossomed anew before my eyes through Maggie Daley's beautification program.

Now, decades later, with the national news media focusing on a very different aspect of my city, I watch the demonstrations being waged and can't help but look at things from a new, disturbing perspective.

I am not naïve. I am not a "looking through rose colored glasses" kind of gal, but I must confess I was blindsided by what I am seeing and hearing about the Chicago Police Department and the administration's handling of complaints, etc., about police actions and inactions.

I, like so many others, was appalled by what I've seen over the past months in many big American cities; disturbed by reports and videos of horrible abuses of police power across the country. And, I am ashamed to admit, that not once did I think that my city's cops also had the same problems as were being graphically exposed in the seemingly never-ending reports of misconduct and cover-up.

Oh, believe me, I knew that — like within any institution — there were some bad cops in Chicago, but I assumed that they were handled properly and punished appropriately for the offenses that they perpetrated.

I firmly believe that the vast majority of cops in our country are the good guys. They are community-minded and run into danger "to serve and protect" when others flee for their lives. But we can't be blind to the fact that there are charges of systematic, endemic abuse, cover-ups and even alleged murder that appear to be grounded in at least some truth. And my city now finds itself smack dab in the middle of the national controversy.

So, how is Chicago responding? Resignations, firings I guess are a way to acknowledge awareness of wrongdoing. The powers that be should not allow the abusive actions to go unpunished. There is even a movement in Springfield to initiate a process to recall the mayor. But I personally think that is taking things a bit too far. 

I do see one good-news aspect to Chicago's dealing with the problems — the way the protesters are handling themselves with none of the violence we have seen in other cities. But let's be clear, that is little consolation compared to the seriousness of the situation.

Even though living in Northwest Indiana for the past 22 years, my heart beats still with the rhythm of my youthful love for the city. I confess I don't know the truth of what has been happening. What I do know is that we can do better. We have to do better. 

My city and its citizens deserve better.

Wendy J. Levenfeld is a published novelist, playwright and columnist. Send comments to wendylevenfeld@gmail.com. Visit Wendy's website at www.wendylevenfeld.com.

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