Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.
Long-time readers of Chronicles may recall that this column bore a different rubric when it first appeared in the January 2001 issue. The initial mission of the Letter From Rockford was to examine political, economic, and cultural issues of national importance through the lens of Rockford, Illinois, at that time one of the most average cities in ethnic makeup and socioeconomic status in the United States. While it was never entirely correct to suggest that “As goes Rockford, so goes the nation,” the demographic profile of Rockford made it a microcosm of America. But starting about the very time that I began this column, and significantly completed a decade later, Rockford has deviated sufficiently from the United States as a whole that the premise is no longer valid. There are still lessons that readers from outside of Rockford can learn from our experience here, but...