Friday, April 5, 2013

And on this corner, we see a couple of crackheads selling drugs to your kids…

How many people would think to use the 45th anniversary of the date of the shooting death of Martin Luther King, Jr., to take a bus tour of some fairly decrepit neighborhoods in Chicago to point out all the things that are wrong?
EMANUEL: Is he really all-powerful?

That actually was the tactic of the Chicago Teachers Union, which on Thursday put together a bus tour meant to take unsuspecting people to the neighborhoods that will be impacted by the Chicago Public Schools plan to close some 60 facilities.

AS THOUGH IF people see for themselves the street gang-infested neighborhoods that some children would now have to walk through or attend schools in due to the closures, officials will suddenly feel sympathy.

Somehow, I doubt it worked. Largely because the Chicago schools officials already are putting on their “game” face that they’ve acted, and they’re not in a reconsideration mood.

That’s how I take schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s comments earlier this week about how she’s insulted that people are describing the schools closure plan as “racist” because so many of the schools that will be closed down are in African-American neighborhoods.

Somehow, I don’t think taking people on a bus tour of black-oriented neighborhoods will sway that many people, because too many Chicagoans already are oriented to ignoring such neighborhoods.

PERHAPS THEY MIGHT think, “It’s not my neighborhood,” so they don’t concern themselves with it. One only has to look at recent activity along Michigan Avenue involving robberies to realize that there are no barricades between neighborhoods, and we really are tied together as one city.

One’s problems ought to be considered as all of our problems.

Now I have stated before that I think the real tragedy concerning the fight about closing schools is that it puts people living in substandard neighborhoods into fighting to maintain schools that are substandard themselves.

We ought to be thinking about how to improve the opportunities for those people – rather than encouraging this particular fight that has the ability to make everybody look seriously stupid.

OR ARROGANT, WHICH is how the Emanuels are now coming across in this particular political fight.

Take Mayor Rahm’s brother, Ezekiel, the one who is getting attention these days for the book he recently wrote about the lives of himself, Rahm and third brother Ari. He also is the guy who went on the Huffington Post to “advise” the Chicago Teachers Union to, “give in now. Give in now. Rahm will win. He always does win.”

He also elaborated that the unions, by putting up any fight to Emanuel and the Chicago Public Schools (who are merely following Rahm’s dictates on this issue) are merely “banging their heads against the wall.”

That’s tough talk! It seems that Rahm Emanuel (if his brother’s talk is at all true) thinks he’s already as mighty and powerful a municipal executive as anyone named Daley!

AS ONE WHO remembers the mayoral terms of people like Eugene Sawyer, Mike Bilandic and Jane Byrne, I’m well aware that it isn’t the position itself that gives people the power to treat Chicago like their personal fiefdom. Particularly in the case of Byrne, this city has a way of snapping back at people who try to push too hard!

It makes me wonder if the final outcome of all of this is going to be the bloody political showdown that will make the racially-tinged hostility of “Council Wars” seem like a political tea party!

All I know for sure is that we have a teachers union that is angry enough to charter a bus to drive around some neighborhoods that many of us try to pretend do not exist. That is, if we have ever even bothered to set foot in those neighborhoods (which may be the real problem).

It could end in a hard-fought victory for the mayor, if certain circumstances work in his favor.

THEN AGAIN, IT could also turn out to be a case where Emanuel (as in the mayor) gets hung out to dry.

Could this someday become the sight of a bloody mess? Photograph by Gregory Tejeda
Because that kind of arrogance (“He always does win!”) is usually the type of attitude that causes people to desire the equivalent of a severed head put on a pike just in front of the Picasso statue!


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