Saturday, December 18, 2010

We ought to be embarrassed, but we’re not. Election Bd hears nonsense galore

EMANUEL: Checking out his crawl space
Be honest. The last time a crawl space got this much attention on the Chicago news scene was some 30-plus years ago and bodies of young men and boys were being found underneath John Gacy’s house.

Nobody found nothing nearly as dramatic in the special crawl space that is part of the house that mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel hopes to move back into someday.

BUT IT WOUND up becoming part of the evidence offered up by people interested in showing that, yes, Emanuel did have some sentiment toward returning to Chicago and resuming his life here – he never even took several belongings with him to Washington.

He didn’t even get them off his property. They sat there locked away, although the couple that is renting the Emanuel residence and is supportive of the people who would like to bump Rahm from the ballot had tried arguing that they couldn’t find any Emanuel belongings in the basement.

I must admit to getting a kick out of the photograph the Chicago Sun-Times came up with of the crawl space – a whole lot of cardboard boxes and sealed plastic cases filled with various books and papers.

One item, in particular, caught my attention – a newsbox. Sure enough, Emanuel has a coin-operated box of the type that sits on many street corners and people dump a couple of quarters into in order to get a copy of the newspaper.

DOES THIS MEAN that Rahm secretly is one of these people who, when he appears on a newspaper’s front page in a prominent fashion, sticks a copy of that paper into the window of the newsbox so that he can “see” himself, looking all important/intelligent/sophisticated/etc.?

I’m going to remember that image the next time I hear Emanuel rant/rage/complain about the way he was covered by the news media on any particular issue.

It definitely goes further than those political people I have seen throughout the years who include in their offices the occasional newspaper front page in a mat and frame that gives big play to one of their Election Day victories, or some government achievement for which they can take significant credit.

So yes, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners is expected to issue some sort of ruling during the coming week, after having to sit through three days worth of questioning, much of which involved Emanuel himself having to dignify people whom I can envision him now plotting to crush – for the attempts at humiliation they tried to put him through.

IF ANYTHING, THE week went well for Emanuel because any serious legal points about the technicalities of residency that attorney Burton Odelson tried bringing up got lost in the mess from all the other objectors – including the people who tried to imply some sort of connection between Emanuel and the deaths of religious radicals at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas in 1993 (you remember, the ones that Timothy McVeigh claimed he was avenging when he blew up the federal government building in Oklahoma City two years later?).

The overall impression given by the week’s activity is that the objections to Emanuel’s ballot status are coming from people who have political axes to grind, may have personal biases, or may just be a little nuts.

I noted the moment when one of Emanuel’s opponents asked him if he were an Israeli citizen or had ever served in Israel’s military.

That question didn’t shock me because I remember the people who asked it back in 2002 when Emanuel first ran for Congress. Some of the Polish Catholic types who wanted their ethnic sister, Nancy Kaszak, to advance to Washington tried making that very same charge.

ALL IT MEANS is that we shouldn’t be surprised to see some streams of anti-Semitism work their way into this campaign too. I’m mostly glad that people are recognizing such rhetoric for the nonsense-talk that it is, and are disregarding it.

Personally, I found this week’s set of hearings embarrassing because they gave the crackpots of our society too much of a forum to rant. They got legitimized, and I couldn’t help but notice how eager Fox News Channel at times was to try to dignify these people as somehow having a clue as to what is going on in life, because it would have meant many more indirect shots at President Barack Obama.

Fox was definitely eager to believe the claims of the family renting out the Emanuel home (the one we learned would have been willing to move out had Rahm paid them off with $100,000) that there was no stash of boxes.

Of course, those boxes turned out to be exactly where Emanuel said they would be. It truly gives our city’s public image a jolt of “pride” to see much official investigatory time and effort put into finding a stash of boxes that wound up including, among other things, the wedding dress worn by Emanuel’s wife.

I’D LIKE TO think we can move on beyond this elections board hearing. After all, the final decision about whether Emanuel will be on the Feb. 22 ballot will be made by an appeals court panel – if not the Supreme Court of Illinois itself.

Then, we can move to the next “crucial” date – June 30, 2011. That is the date that Emanuel’s lease in Washington expires, and also that the couple he rented his Ravenswood neighborhood house to has to leave by.

I wonder if they’ll be good and leave quietly, or make a scene and try to leave some sort of reminder about the mess we all have become aware of this past week?


No comments: