Posts Tagged ‘politics’
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The goal of a politician like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is first to get elected (which he did in 2011, with 55 percent of the vote), and then to get reelected (which he didn’t yesterday, even with a $15-million campaign war chest). He now faces a runoff in April against second-place finisher Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
It’s no surprise that “Mayor 1%” lost his initial bid for reelection: he has faced scathing criticism, especially outside the city center and away from the north shore, for his decision to close 50 city schools, his showdown with the teachers’ union, and for generally neglecting the many neighborhoods where murders shot up to more than 500 in 2012. That’s exactly the argument made by Garcia, that Emanuel has paid more attention to the city’s upper class and downtown than to the poor and communities outside the commercial center.
As Nelson Algren explained back in 1951, Chicago has long been a city of hustlers, who have managed to rig the game.
Not that there’s been any lack of honest men and women sweating out Jane Addams’ hopes here—but they get only two outs to the inning while the hustlers are taking four. When Big Bill Thompson put in the fix for Capone he tied the town to the rackets for keeps.
So that when the reform mayor who followed him attempted to enforce the prohibition laws, he wakened such warfare on the streets that the Do-Gooders themselves put Thompson back at the wheel, realizing that henceforward nobody but an outlaw could maintain a semblance of law and order on the common highway. Big Bill greeted his fellow citizens correctly then with a cheery, “Fellow hoodlums!”
The best any mayor can do with the city since is just to keep it in repair.
Yet the Do-Gooders still go doggedly forward, making the hustlers struggle for their gold week in and week out, year after year, once or twice a decade tossing an unholy fright into the boys. And since it’s a ninth-inning town, the ball game never being over till the last man is out, it remains Jane Addams’ town as well as Big Bill’s. The ball game isn’t over yet.
But it’s a rigged ball game.
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