The New York Times‘s latest report on Chicago’s mayoral contest left me reaching for the blender to make a Zoloft smoothie. Titled “Rough Side of Chicago Shakes Race for City Hall,” the article makes the city out to be some sort of provincial place where one must prove their “Chicagoness” in order to become mayor. The hot question here: Is Rahm Emanuel of Wilmette “Chicago enough” to serve?
The paper quotes UIC political science prof Dick Simpson: “From a Chicagoan’s perspective, there’s a great doubt over this . . . It has been said that he doesn’t even know the sports teams.” (Some of us would consider that to be a positive quality.)
And then there’s candidate Gery Chico, who describes Emanuel’s celebrity-studded, multimillion-dollar campaign as possessing an “arrogance” about it. “And I don’t think that’s Chicago,” he told the paper, which continued:
Mr. Chico reminds locals that he hails from the Back of the Yards neighborhood, which sat in the shadow of the city’s stockyards, that he pitched baseballs in the city’s dirt alleys and that he grew up riding the Archer Avenue bus. “People feel a certain kinship when somebody has grown up like they have,” he said.
Um, OK, so … How does playing ball and riding a bus make someone qualified to lead a major American city? Also, should we really be looking backward into the past for solutions? Nostalgia doesn’t really help anybody resolve problems, does it? If so, perhaps we should spritz meat smell around the town so we can better relive those Sinclairian good old days, or stage a reenactment of 1968 up and down Michigan Avenue. Bill Ayers can go back into hiding. It will be great.