Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Buckle Up

Thoughts about the Reign of Rahm.  Day 1.

Yesterday Chicago elected a new mayor.  Rahm Emmanuel. Advisor to Presidents Clinton and Obama.  Suburbanite turned big city mayor.  Known for expletive laced speech Obama once said that because Rahm's  middle finger had been accidentally cut off at the joint that he had been “rendered relatively mute”.  Perhaps, but he found other ways to express himself.

Chicago seems to like tough guy mayors.  It’s the city that works.  And it only seems to work when someone grabs it by the throat and hangs on.  That’s the theory anyway. Rahm Emmanuel knows how to grab throats.  He’s a force to be reckoned with.

I love watching the political process.  In this election old style African-American politicians tried to throw their weight behind a consensus candidate.  They threw it around but to no avail.  Old style got beat and beat bad.  In a town that loves the Irish the electorate chose a Jewish guy who some believe doesn’t really live in Chicago.  Got to love all the intrigue.

I don’t know what kind of mayor he will be.  Living in the burbs one could say it really doesn’t matter.  It does.  When Chicago catches a cold the suburbs sneeze.  And for me me, a good chunk of my life is in the city.  I work there. My son, daughter in law and grandson live there and I have lots of Chicago friends and colleagues. So, I want this guy to be a good mayor.  A really good mayor.

On the radio this morning the new mayor threw down the gauntlet.  He proclaimed that ‘change is coming’.  And it’s coming for everyone.  All will have to have skin in the game. That’s a tough message.  But it’s a good message.  I think it’s the truth.  Not just in Chicago but everywhere. Everyone knows things are mess.  Our fiscal houses are out of order.  Moral compasses seem to be out of synch.  Civility is at an all time low. If things are going to change ...we’re all going to have to change. I don’t know about you but I’m sure some people will be asking ...”why me?”

“Why me?”.  Because we’re in this together.  In some strange, symbiotic way if it’s happening to you it’s happening to me. We’ll either live together or die because of each other. Life is a better option I’m thinkin’.

Chicago is going to be interesting to watch.  If ever there was a place where special interests really believe they're special - Chi-town is that place.  Chicago is divided economically and racially.  Lots of important people are in the game for their own interests.  And now there’s a new cowboy in town who’s saying the old ways aren’t going to work anymore.  If he’s serious (and I hope he is) then buckle up.  It’s going to be a really interesting ride.

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