• Chandler West for Sun-Times Media
  • Mayor Emanuel speaks at Chicago State University in late July, at a forum on urban violence

Kids used to dream of being president, Thomas Friedman observed a week ago in the New York Times. But because of congressional gridlock, that job now is just plain frustrating. The “most exciting innovations in governance” are happening at the city level—and therefore, Friedman predicted, children will soon be saying they want to be a mayor when they grow up. “Except in Detroit, mayors today have more fun.”

I picture a Chicago kid telling her parents at dinner one day, “I wanna be mayor when I grow up.”

“Not president?”

“Nope. Air Force One and the Rose Garden are cool, but the most exciting innovations in governance now are right here in Chicago.”

This child probably wouldn’t be one of the many African-American kids for whom the most exciting innovations in governance included the closing of her school.