There is a battle going on for the soul of this country, and it will be played out in the polling places on November 2. One side’s battle cry is “take back our country!” They say they want to return to the days when the government did no

There is a battle going on for the soul of this country, and it will be played out in the polling places on November 2. One side’s battle cry is “take back our country!” They say they want to return to the days when the government did not spend beyond its means and didn’t intrude in every household – which would mean the Clinton Administration.

But in reality, these people want to turn back the clock and nullify the election of Barack Obama. For reasons – some rooted in race – they want to step backwards from that watershed moment where Americans were judged only by the content of their character.

That is why this election is so important. We made history in 2008, and this election is an opportunity to save that history.

Every election, candidates and community leaders step up and implore the electorate to get out and vote. Voter registration drives and efforts to get voters to the polls intensify and all of the advertising (at least those that aren’t attack ads), talk about getting out to vote.

This election is no different in that regard, but in this case, the hyperbole is justified. WE MUST GET OUT AND VOTE.

In every election, however, there is the duality of voting one’s best interests, and also voting for the candidates that would best serve those interests.

In this election, some of the choices are crystal clear.

For U.S. Senate, we endorse Alexi Giannoulias. The current state treasurer has compiled a stellar record in office, and would vote in support of the initiatives that President Obama has started. He has stressed that he would be accountable to the Black community. Vote TWICE for Giannoulias, once to finish out the 60-days of Sen. Roland Burris’s term, and once for the 6-year term. Republican Mark Kirk has already stressed that his aim is to make Obama a one-term president.

In the U.S. House, we endorse incumbent Democrats Bobby Rush (1st), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (2nd) and Danny Davis (7th). They have all reached a level of seniority in the House that makes them powerful proponents for Chicago and the nation. Their voices are heard in Washington, yet they still listen to what is going on in their Chicago districts.

We also endorse Democrat Dan Seals in the 10th District. Seals has been a consistent voice of reason throughout his successive runs for Congress. He is ready for that office.

For Governor, we endorse Patrick Quinn. Quinn has developed a close relationship with the Black community over the two years he has been in office. He has made a point of stepping up and considering African Americans for positions and he alone has promulgated a plan – even if it means a higher income tax – to help get Illinois out of debt and bring jobs back to the state.

His opponents, Republican Bill Brady and Independent Scott Lee Cohen, are wholly unqualified for the office. Brady has persistently ignored the Black community – staying away from the debates at Black venues and offering no evidence that he even knows the Black community exists. Quinn warns that the possible election of Brady would be “nuclear winter” for the state, and especially for Black people. We agree.

Cohen was deemed unqualified to be lieutenant governor because of his unsavory past with reports of spousal abuse, dating a prostitute and illegal steroid use. He is running for governor now only because he still has enough left of his personal fortune earned from his pawnshop business, and enough hubris, not because he suddenly became a more palatable candidate. You want to send a message to Quinn? Call him up. He’ll listen. A vote for Cohen sends the message that the Black electorate is easily duped.

We have an impressive group of statewide candidates on the ballot with Quinn, who represent the future of Black leadership in the state.

We endorse Democrat Robin Kelly, running for state treasurer. She has been Giannoulias’ chief of staff and also served as a state representative and her qualifications stand head and shoulders above her competition. She boasts that no one knows the treasurer’s office as well as she does, and it is true. She is ready for the post.

We endorse Democrat David Miller for state comptroller. The Comptroller is the state’s chief fiscal officer, responsible for paying the state’s bills. Miller, an assistant majority leader in the state House is a dentist and business owner and will make a great comptroller.

We also endorse incumbent Democrat Jesse White for Secretary of State. White has been a tremendous asset to the state for five terms now, and he continues to upgrade and modernize the Secretary of State’s office.

We endorse Lisa Madigan for Attorney General. Madigan has proven to be invaluable and has been a consistent advocate for the people of Illinois.

Most of the state senators and representatives are running unopposed for their seats Nov. 2. However, we endorse Democrat Karen A. Yarbrough in the 7th District, Democrat Will Burns in the 26th District and Democrat Thaddeus Jones in the 29th District.

For Cook County Board President, we endorse Democrat Toni Preckwinkle. Alderman Preckwinkle has been a thoughtful bridge builder, who shows great promise in her ability to forge coalitions on the fractured County Board of Commissioners. She is not deluded that she has a tough job ahead of her, but she seems prepared to lead Cook County in these troubled economic times. Preckwinkle promises an end to pay-to-play and nepotism and her common-sense approach to government and willingness to work with city government will serve the county well.

Preckwinkle bested an impressive group of opponents in the February primary election, and none of her opponents in the general election even comes close to measuring up.

We endorse Democrat Joe Berrios for Assessor. Berrios has been a champion for diversity throughout his political career, and already knows the ins and outs of the important assessor’s office, since he has served on the Board of Review.

For Cook County Commissioner, we endorse Democrat Earlene Collins in the 1st District, Democrat Robert B. Steele in the 2nd District, Democrat Jerry Butler in the 3rd District, William Beavers in the 4th District and Democrat Deborah Sims in the 5th District.

There are several judicial candidates that merit your vote. They include: Judge William H. Hooks, Cook County Judicial Circuit (vacancy of Berland), Judge Sharon Oden Johnson, 1st Subcircuit (vacancy of Steele), Judge Bonita Coleman-John (1st Subcircuit (additional judgeship A), Judge Thaddeus L. Wilson, 1st Subcircuit (vacancy of Coleman) and Judge Shelvin Louise Marie Hall, Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District. In the Cook County Judicial Circuit, Timothy C. Evans, Cook County Judicial Circuit Chief Judge, Judge Cheryl D. Ingram, Judge Arnette R. Hubbard, Judge Bertina Lampkin, Judge LaQuietta Hardy-Campbell, Judge Nathaniel R. Howse, Jr., Judge LeRoy K. Martin, Jr., Judge William D. O’Neal, Judge Michelle Jordan and Judge Edward Washington, II.

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