Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Daley illness evidence of our cynicism?

I shouldn’t be shocked at the level of cynicism that crops up when our political people – or even ex-pols – become ill.

DALEY, M.: In recovery?
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley spent the past weekend at Northwestern Memorial Hospital suffering from what some are saying are stroke-like symptoms (although no one will come right out and say the 71-year-old suffered a stroke).

YET WHEN ONE turns to the Internet to see the ramblings of those people who insist on posting anonymous tidbits, there are more than those share of people who are convinced this is some sort of plot.

Daley is trying to avoid criminal prosecution in the future. For what, those people don’t specify. But I literally found one individual who says that this illness is fake – and is meant to provide cover in the form of him being able to testify under oath that he doesn’t remember anything about whatever it is that he is accused in the future of doing.

I’m not saying that there aren’t people professionally ambitious enough to try to prosecute a case that dredges up some past action of government during the Daley administration.

I’m sure there are people who would like Daley to suffer legal consequences for the mess that was made of our parking meters! There are times when I could be counted amongst them.

BUT PEOPLE WHO are taking Daley’s physical condition and trying to score politics are just striking me as being a bit too callous to take seriously.

Even though I’ll agree with those who think that there’s something funky about the amount of time it has taken to get a diagnosis – or that some of the details we have heard don’t seem to be fleshed out.

DALEY, J.: Died while in office
This is a story that is most definitely incomplete. While I comprehend that Daley is no longer a public official (he chose retirement in 2011, rather than dying as mayor like his father, Richard J., or at his desk like Harold Washington), there is still enough interest in him for people to want to know what happened when he supposedly became disoriented Friday while attending a legal conference in Arizona.

Because Daley is who he is, he got rushed back to Chicago – rather than trusting a Phoenix-area hospital to deal with his condition.

I WILL ADMIT to being amused by the fact that he was hospitalized the same day that his nephew, R.J. Vanecko, pleaded guilty and got that 60-day county jail sentence for his involvement in the death of a young man a decade ago.

WASHINGTON: Died literally in office
Mainly because Daley aides felt compelled to immediately say that word of his nephew’s legal predicament had nothing to do with his medical condition. Which is what many people would have presumed, had nothing been said.

It makes me wonder what statement is being concocted for dissemination on Tuesday – which is the day that both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times newspapers say will be when a 162-page special prosecutor’s report on Vanecko’s case will be made public.

Will somebody be a little too eager to find some physical downtown for Daley that occurs Tuesday, then try to make a connection?

OF COURSE, ALL of this brings back memories of Daley’s father, who himself suffered a stroke a couple of years before his death in December 1976. He recovered, and actually got re-elected to his final term in office as a result.

Daley, by comparison, is now an attorney who doesn’t have the stress of running for any office. His time in public policy is past.

Unless some people are determined to use this incident to somehow dredge him back into the public eye.


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