|LIGHTFOOT: Is her marriage an issue?|
Because we in Chicago are supposedly so sophisticated that no one would openly admit to voting against her because of sexual orientation. It won’t be an issue. Particularly since the kind of people determined to dump Toni Preckwinkle from office can rant about that pop tax she touted while leading Cook County government.
I’LL HAVE TO admit I was kind of hoping there’d be a touch of truth to such thoughts. I would have liked it if I could have made it through the month of the election run-off without having to get into anyone’s marital status.
But that didn’t happen. The issue has sprung up. And the part that bothers me – it seems that it’s Lightfoot herself who seems determined to make an issue of it.
Or maybe she just seems determined to think of herself as the victimized one and wants to be able to claim she’s the one being picked upon. Which makes me wonder how a “Mayor Lightfoot” is going to handle herself against all the interests who will not be inclined to support her on oh so many issues.
But seriously, this election cycle took an ugly turn that would have been so nice if we could have avoided it.
THE ISSUE CAME up when the two candidates faced off in debate last week, and the question was put forth for the two candidates being asked to say something nice about their opponent – as in what did they most respect about their challenger.
That led Preckwinkle to offer up some public praise about the way Lightfoot is public about her sexual orientation.
Or as she put it, “that (Lightfoot is) open and honest about her LGBTQ orientation. You know, I think it’s really important in this country that we be respectful of differences and that we understand that all of us matter and that there is dignity in each and every one of us. And there has been so much discrimination and prejudice and homophobia in our country, it’s very important that particularly prominent people declare their sexual orientation and do it with pride.”
|PRECKWINKLE: Sympathetic? Or cruel?|
She insists her praise was sincere.
YET LIGHTFOOT LET it be known she took offense. As in she thinks the sole purpose of Preckwinkle saying anything at all was to put a reminder in the minds of voters that “Lori’s gay.”
Which might create just enough doubt in the minds of people with a homophobic streak to let it become an issue in the way they cast their ballot for mayor come April 2.
What’s sort of interesting is that just over a week ago, there were gay rights activists who were saying this was a unique election cycle because Preckwinkle has a record as a government official of being supportive of gay rights issues and causes.
Could it be that Lightfoot absolutely feels the need to have people vote for her because of her orientation? And that Preckwinkle has to be demonized in order to fit her niche in Lightfoot’s world?
OR DID LIGHTFOOT have a point in trying to get the support of those voters, particularly those of African-American descent whose religious attitudes make them hostile to the very concept of homosexuality, whom Lightfoot is counting on Willie Wilson’s endorsement to win over?
|WILSON: Will his endorsement make a difference?|
Anything’s possible. In fact, I’m inclined to believe there’s an element of truth in what both of them are spewing these days.
It would have been so nice if we could have made it through this election cycle without making an issue of this issue. What if we could seriously consider the qualifications of the individual candidates without getting into the personal nonsense?
Then again, that’s probably an attitude we’ll have to wait a few more decades to achieve. As in the day will come when we realize just how ridiculous we all truly are!
EDITOR’S NOTE: For those who care, Lightfoot is married to Amy Eshleman, and they live together with a 10-year-old daughter. Preckwinkle was married to Zeus Preckwinkle for 44 years, until their divorce in 2013. They have two grown children.