Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Mayor remains tainted, but that doesn’t mean dumping Rahm fixes anything

It’s true that I have not been among the ranks of those calling for Rahm Emanuel’s removal from office as mayor in response to the death of a teenage boy at the hands of a police officer.

EMANUEL: Legacy??!?
It’s not that I think Emanuel is above blame. It’s just that I think it a bit simple-minded to believe that removing Rahm in any way resolves the situation or fixes the problem that our society has with regards to the police and the way they perceive many non-white people.

MY OWN ATTENTION is focusing more on the legal battle that will take place in the courts concerning Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who last week learned he was indicted by a grand jury on six counts of murder for the death of Laquan McDonald.

You can fire all the police officers and remove all the political people you want. But if Van Dyke winds up being acquitted of those criminal charges, that will be the ultimate blow to the activists. They want to dump the status quo – where the problem lies within the very culture we have created for our law enforcement.

To me, the people who are now shouting the loudest to dump Rahm Emanuel seem like the same people who were screaming during the election cycle earlier this year – but weren’t numerous enough to actually defeat him at the ballot.

They come across like sore losers who could never defeat Emanuel when he ran for those Northwest Side congressional seats or mayor in the past. By having people disrupting Rahm appearances with screams of “16 shots” (the number of bullets supposedly fired into McDonald’s corpse), they come across as ghoulish sorts who are trying to take advantage of a teenager’s tragic death for their own purposes.

THAT IS SOMETHING I just can’t get into. It has pushed me into appearing to be in the Emanuel camp – even though I can appreciate the degree to which the police department’s management is under the control of the mayor.

WASHINGTON: Does he also draw blame?
But if we’re going to blame Rahm, we also have to blame both Daleys, Byrne, Bilandic, Kennelly and probably every single person who has ever held the post of Chicago mayor.

For that matter, the list also should include Washington and Sawyer. For although those African-American men picked African-American officials to head the police department during their eras, they obviously were unable to rid our law enforcement of the idea that they serve to protect us FROM the African-American segment of our society.

Which if we’re to be honest, is an attitude that we will see in police departments across our country – although more pronounced in some communities than in others. Thinking that picking a black man to be the new police superintendent in Chicago isn’t enough to resolve the situation.

DALEY: Has Rahm matched 'shoot to kill'
NOT THAT I don’t doubt this will influence the legacy of Emanuel as our mayor. This is going to be one of the issues for which his time as mayor will be remembered.

Heck, some people will want to go out of their way to think of it as the dominant issue – just as their grandfathers likely are the people who think of Richard J. Daley as nothing more than the mayor who gave the “shoot to kill” order to police back in 1968 or enjoy hearing over and over Dick Daley’s verbal gaffe that the police exist to “preserve disorder.”

It may well be that the tension remains enough that Emanuel never does advance to a higher-level political post.

Although in all honesty, that is just the nature of the mayoral post. There is a reason why Chicago mayors never go higher – and not just because most of them lack a certain level of ambition for other levels of government that they believe being Chicago mayor IS the ultimate post!

IT AMUSES ME back to remembering when Emanuel tried to avoid taking the White House chief of staff post because he enjoyed being a Congressman and had dreams of someday becoming House speaker.

That dream is so long dead and buried that I wonder if Emanuel himself ever wonders if he should have been more stubborn and held out, rather than give in to Obama and put himself on the track that led him to City Hall.


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