Information literacy includes being a responsible information consumer, which includes a healthy dose of skepticism, which should not be confused with cynicism. To be clear: Skepticism leads us to check the facts when a public figure or politician quotes verifiable statistics. Skepticism is a good thing.
Cynicism, by contrast, is corrosive. Cynics believe that something unsavory and manipulative is behind the efforts of Rahm Emmanuel to become mayor of Chicago, or alternatively, behind the attempts to keep him off the ballot. The question turns on whether Emmanual meets the residency requirements of Illinois election law.
As it turns out, a little information literacy comes to the rescue. The question “What is a resident?” is legitimately unobvious and open to interpretation. Category boundaries are vague. Information management specialists and requirements analysts confront these issues frequently. For example, many large companies have difficulty answering the question “How many customers do we have?” or more fundamentally, “What is a customer?”
Cynic, be reassured; there is no foul play here, by either Mr. Emanual or his adversaries:
The decision appeared to bring an end to weeks of legal debate over whether Mr. Emanuel qualified for the ballot, specifically whether his time in Washington as President Obama’s chief of staff meant that he had given up his residency status in Chicago, where he was born. By Illinois state code, candidates for mayor are required to have resided in Chicago for at least one year before Election Day. Mr. Emanuel left the White House in October, and the election is Feb. 22.