An Open Letter To The City Of Chicago
Hello, Chicago, I’m Suzzanne Monk. You might know me as a teacher, an actor, a salesperson, a comedian, a film producer, a designer, an activist, or a business owner. I’ve been all of those things and more in the 25 years I have called you, Chicago, my home.
For 24 of the past years, I have loved living in Chicago with my husband, a native Chicagoan. I have loved doing business in Chicago. The food, the sports, the culture and arts, and the diversity of people have been a fertile ground for our life, and I have been proud to call myself a Chicagoan anywhere in the world I went.
But for the last year, I have not loved living in Chicago and I am no longer proud to be a Chicagoan. I am ashamed of you, Chicago, and the intolerance you now accept in the name of politics.
You see, Chicago, I am a Trump supporter. My husband is a Trump supporter, too. And because we support Trump, Chicago, we no longer feel proud, or safe, being in this city.
When my fellow Chicagoans praised the riot at UIC that shut down the Chicago Trump Rally I attended, I was angered and ashamed. That event changed you, Chicago, and since then you have become accepting of bullying, suppression of free speech, open hatred, and physical intimidation. As long as those things are directed at a Trump supporter, Chicago, you don’t seem to care about diversity or civility or tolerance at all. I know first hand because I am being bullied out of Chicago by ongoing hate attacks to my person and business because I support President Trump. Over the past year I have been slandered online, intimidated, and bullied by innumerable different individuals in the Chicago area. I have received death threats, and threats to my business.
I have listened to the stories of other Trump supporters who have also been bullied or threatened for their support of our president, and they are afraid. They are afraid to admit their support for fear of being attacked because of it, only whispering “I support Trump” after looking over both shoulders. We Chicago Trump voters are living in constant fear, not just from the gangs, crime and out of control violence. We are living in fear of your political intolerance and your tolerance for Trump hatred, Chicago, and this year has seen you turn into an Orwellian shadow of your former self.
Two Choices For Trump Supporters: Be Silent Or Be Bullied
Chicago, you have always been a blue Democrat run town, but this year you have become a one party city enforced by terrorizing anyone not in your party for their beliefs. From the constant protests blocking roads and businesses, to the attacks on Trump supporters, to the verbal and online bullying going on every day across this city, Chicago, you have made it quite clear that Trump supporters are not welcome. You have made it quite clear, there are two choices for Trump supporters in Chicago: be silent about your politics, or be bullied for them.
Since I am not one to be silent about my democratic right to support my candidate, I have been and am being bullied. My husband and our music store, Worlds of Music Chicago, were also bullied and are still being bullied to this day. We have had customers and friends of the store bullied for supporting us. Our store has had to cut employee hours due to the bullying, and soon we will have to cut our employees altogether. We will close our Chicago doors at the end of April, because we are no longer willing to subject our staff, our customers, our neighbors and ourselves to the daily risk of bullying or worse, possible attacks, as have been threatened.
Sadly, my story is not unique. Countless other Chicago Trump supporters are experiencing the same hate, bullying and intimidation for their political beliefs. It is such a pervasive story that it is clear that Chicago’s culture has changed, and the new culture will not tolerate any non-Democrats whatsoever. If you need any further evidence of Trump supporters being unwelcome you need merely turn on the local news, pick up a local paper, or read your Alderman’s latest newsletter bashing and misrepresenting our president to see how pervasive Chicago Trump hate is.
I have gotten the message, Chicago. You don’t want me here because I support Donald Trump. You don’t want “my kind” around here. After 2 and a half decades of living and earning and tax paying, I am no longer welcome because of my political choice. It’s sad that after all that time, and after all of the things we have shared, Chicago, that it is going to have to end like this. With you, hating people out of your town and with me and my husband and our business leaving. However, there really is no other choice for me, and countless others like me. We are not free here. We have to leave Chicago to be free to participate in the American rights of free speech and assembly, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the right to have our vote counted without repercussion. In order to be Americans, we have to stop being Chicagoans.
So I am writing this letter to let you know why, Chicago. Why after 25 years, after a lifetime for my husband, after building our dreams here, why we have to leave. In the end, it wasn’t the high taxes, constant road construction or high crime. It wasn’t the unchecked gang violence or political cronyism. In the end, we have to leave because of the hate you are willing to tolerate, Chicago, hate of our President and anyone who supports him.
I’d like to say, it’s not you, it’s me….but Chicago, I’ve got to be honest….it’s you. You’ve changed. You are no longer the nose to the grindstone, hard working Democratic city of big shoulders. You have a Trump sized chip on that big shoulder, and it has turned you into a city of fear, hate and division. A city that celebrates political terrorism. A city that encourages political bullying.
A city I can no longer call home.