As a Chicagoan, I’m Embarassed by Rahm Emanuel
The Mayor of Chicago, Rahm “never let a crisis go to waste” Emanuel, has in recent weeks made it clear that perhaps he should have stayed in Congress where he could twist arms on behalf of the Democratic Party or in the White House where he could twist arms on behalf of fellow Chicagoan, Barack Obama. It’s not that “The Rahmfather” (as he has been dubbed by popular Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass), doesn’t have the opportunity to twist arms in Chicago; in fact, Chicago is the city where political arm-twisting has been elevated to an art form.
No, the problem is now that Emanuel is back in his hometown, he feels comfortable and relaxed enough to let his focus drift from those things he knows best (i.e., political arm-twisting), and has allowed himself to wander into areas where he is….well, not so developed; like waxing philosophical about any issue other than arm-twisting.
This is what Hizzoner had to say in a recent interview with Scott Pelley of CBS, regarding the recent spate of murders that has turned parts of the city, particularly the south side, into a combat zone:
Pelley: When seven-year-old Heaven Sutton was killed last month, caught in the crossfire, you said “It’s not about crime, it’s about values.” What did you mean?
Emanuel: We’ve got two gangbangers, one standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff away to the alley. Don’t touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don’t get near them. And it is about values. As I said then, Scott, who raised you? How were you raised? And I don’t buy this case where people say they don’t have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values. Don’t come near the kids — don’t touch them.
The Rahmfather is really onto something here. He understands that young black men who join gangs that sell drugs, terrorize communities, murder rival gang members, and don’t care that innocent people die in the course of their shootouts, have the “wrong values.” So far, so good. It would seem then, that the obvious solution would be a comprehensive effort to make sure that these young black men are taught proper values. Here is where things get a little hazy. What exactly is Emanuel’s plan to teach them proper values? From the interview it seems that his plan to effect these revolutionary changes is by Mayoral fiat:
“Don’t touch the children of the city of Chicago. Get away from that kid. Don’t get near them… Don’t come near the kids — don’t touch them.”
Perhaps Emanuel will have the dangerous neighborhoods plastered with posters that feature him in a menacing pose with the boldly highlighted words: Don’t come near the kids, don’t touch them! So that the gangbangers really know he’s serious he could have police cars drive around the city playing recorded messages on their loudspeakers: Don’t touch the children of the City of Chicago! Even better, Emanuel could lead a march together with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and they could chant slogans together: Don’t touch the kids! Get away from that kid! It’s not a completely awful and ridiculous idea but I wouldn’t expect anything like that to happen unless we are close to the next mayoral election.
Of course, one thorny question remains: Is it reasonable to think that someone who has no problem selling dangerous drugs that destroy people’s lives, who has no compunction about gunning down people in cold blood in the middle of the street, and is actively involved in recruiting new “kids” into his gang that is involved in these activities, would actually pay much attention to anything that Rahm Emanuel has to say? In fact, I’m willing to bet that most of these young men have no idea who Rahm Emanuel is in the first place.
Interestingly enough, shortly after the CBS interview Mayor Emanuel was again given the opportunity to publicly offer his profound insights into the subject of “values.” This time he commented on the following statement by Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy:
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that … We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.”
Emanuel had this to say:
“Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values; they’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re going to be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect the Chicago values.“
Please note that Emanuel did not say that you should reflect “proper values,” or “moral values,” but “Chicago values.“ What are “Chicago values” anyways? I guess it depends who you ask. We already know what the Chicago gangbangers have to say on this topic. Having grown up in Chicago myself, I happen to have a pretty good idea of what “Chicago values” are all about. The precinct captain of our neighborhood once came to our house to make sure we were registered to vote for the upcoming mayoral election. My father looked at him cynically and asked, “What’s the difference, this one’s a goniff and that one’s a goniff!” Without blinking an eye, the precinct captain replied, “You’re right, but the question is: Which goniff will be better for our neighborhood?” Now that’s Chicago values. Ahhh, Sweet Home Chicago!
We all know that practitioners of real Chicago values can often anticipate Federal investigations, FBI wiretaps, and jail time. This is what retiring Chicago FBI chief, Rob Grant had to say on the subject:
“Chicago is such a great place, such a great city, in spite of the corruption. But the way it’s done in Chicago, the Chicago Way, is offensive and illegal. And after all these years doing these prosecutions, behavior hasn’t modified significantly and won’t change, until people start holding public officials to a much higher standard.”
The painful irony, of course, is that the single biggest problem in that segment of the black community that is rife with gangs and gang-related violence, is that there are no fathers around. The nuclear family has disintegrated. The type of values that are needed most of all to stop the horrible violence on the Chicago’s south side are traditional family values; exactly the values that Dan Cathy was speaking about. But we all know that those are not Chicago values.
I urge Hizzoner, The Rahmfather, to stick to what he knows best: Chicago values. Leave moral values to those who understand them much better than arm-twisting Chicago politicians.
Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi, a regular columnist for the Algemeiner Journal, and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website. If you wish to be informed when new articles appear, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the email address and the word “Subscribe” in the subject line.