Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lewis’ ‘scholarship’ talk the kind of feisty rhetoric mayoral campaign needs

When you come right down to it, this year’s electoral cycle for mayor has become deadly dull. There are people who get all worked up about wanting to depose Rahm Emanuel, but no one opponent seems capable of uniting those people into a viable opposition.

We’re likely to get Rahm II (along with III, IV, V and however many other terms Emanuel wants to seek) at the rate we’re going. There just isn’t any of the feistiness required to truly get the public all worked up enough to care about who wins on Election Day.

WHICH IS WHY I personally got my kick out of the statement issued by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. She, of course, is the woman who wanted an Emanuel opponent, but developed enough health concerns to prevent her from running a campaign.

Lewis didn’t issue any kind of Emanuel criticism on Wednesday. In fact, she didn’t even address the mayoral campaign.

Her issue of concern was the fact that Little League International said it was giving in to the concerns of those people who want to view as a fraud the Chicago-based Jackie Robinson West team that became U.S. champions in last year’s Little League World Series.

That team is no longer recognized as national champions. Instead, the record books that are supposed to preserve what really happened will say that a team from Las Vegas, Nev., was the best in the U.S.

A TEAM FROM West Dundee will now be recognized as the Illinois state champions, while a team from suburban Lansing will be recognized as a regional champ instead of the kids who represented the Roseland and Morgan Park neighborhoods – even though some of them openly admitted they were from suburban places such as South Holland, Dolton, Lansing and Lynwood.

If it comes across that I think this is a stupid action by Little League officials being done on behalf of sore losers who couldn’t beat the Jackie Robinson kids on the playing field, you’d be correct.

It also seems that Lewis has a similar sentiment. She said she “do(es) not respect” the decision, and she said she will continue to think of the Chicago-area kids as the real champions of 2014.

She went so far as to say she thinks the team ought to retain its championship, ber issued an apology and that the dozen kids who played baseball and captured the hearts and minds of some of our society (perhaps others couldn’t get past the notion of an all-black team being the best) ought to be compensated with college scholarships.

“EVERY PLAYER SHOULD receive full-ride scholarships for college sponsored by the people who have humiliated these boys, their families and their community,” Lewis wrote.

Which is a concept that I’m sure would infuriate those people who brought about the investigation, even though Little League International officials initially said they did not have concerns about the residency requirements for the Jackie Robinson West kids.

Yet I can’t help but think that’s exactly the kind of in-your-face rhetoric the Chicago mayoral campaign needs in order to give a jolt of excitement, some interest so to speak, into this election cycle. Maybe require Emanuel to build new schools to replace the 50 facilities that were closed in primarily black neighborhoods?

Something that would make people care enough to want to vote and feel like there is a legitimate reason to care about who has the leadership of our municipal government.

IF KAREN LEWIS could get so worked up over the Jackie Robinson West kids, just think how hard she’d be hammering away at Emanuel. Certainly more than Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, the politico who has Lewis’ endorsement and is trying to fill the organized labor niche in this election cycle.

Certainly enough to help us avoid the possibility of so many Emanuel sequels!

Just a pair of thoughts to trigger your minds for the day – would Rahm IV and V be as incredibly bloated, pompous and vapid as Rocky IV and V?

And who is the political opponent of actor Carl Wethers' Apollo Creed character in the Rahm series of stories?


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