Change is afoot in Chicago. Just as 1938 changed the course of history with the take over by the democratic machine, it has become tradition that the mayor of Chicago is a Democrat. That’s just the way it is. Last week that changed. The machine failed. For the first time in history, the mayoral election ended in a runoff.
Last Tuesday, the few people who voted chose Mayor Emanuel; still he didn’t get the 50 percent plus “one” needed to seal the deal. So now the lazy many, who failed to vote, have to think about whether or not they got what they wanted. And perhaps over the next six weeks, they will join the rest of us who voted and will listen carefully to the two candidates as they address the important questions we all want answered. I think that Garcia spoke ahead of himself when he said, “Today, we the people have spoken. Not the people with the money and the power and the connections, not the giant corporations, the big money special interests, the hedge funds and Hollywood celebrities who poured tens of millions of dollars into the mayor’s campaign.”
Had Mayor Emanuel not won by 45.39 percent (211,597 votes), just shy of the necessary vote needed to avoid a runoff, perhaps what Garcia said could hold water. However, Garcia won 33.79 percent (157, 536 votes) of the vote, separating him from the rest of Emanuel’s challengers while Willie Wilson took 10.64 percent or 49,612 votes. So if Garcia thinks that makes him a winner, he’s more naïve and less ready for the office of mayor than I thought. He made a major mistake during a public debate when he lost his cool and scolded Bob Fioretti when he said they had agreed not to attack one another. It wasn’t a very mayoral moment for the man who often reminds us that he was a Harold Washington supporter.
What I do know that is obvious is that the people of Chicago are not satisfied with the choices that have been made and how they have impacted the city and their lives directly. But here’s the deal: Are we informed with the details about how the choices were made? And/or do we need to know everything? I mean, it is the mayor’s responsibility. We entrusted him with that mandate. We don’t ask, seek or demand to know why the airlines, gas companies or banks increase the cost of certain services. We may complain and vent; however, in the end we accept it because we respect the choices their companies’ leadership makes. The mayor of Chicago, just as the president of the United States or any other elected government official makes hard decisions based on information to which they are privy to benefit the whole. It’s what the government is supposed to do. It’s when the whole doesn’t feel that it’s been rightfully served that the elected servants of the community are scrutinized critically and their priorities questioned. If we’re not happy with the decisions the mayor or aldermen make, then we need to let it be known rather than stay silent, do nothing and suffer until the next election.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel found himself under the critical eye of the people of Chicago due to the hard choices he had to make based in part on the mess he inherited. I think that a WGN pundit said it best, “Rahm got a lot of flak because of the school closings; however, they weren’t performing. Mayor Daley would have gone over to the school, sat and talked with the teachers, held their hands, expressed compassion and empathy then closed the schools the next day. Rahm, on the other hand, is not the smoozer; he’s a straight shooter so he racks up no points for doing the same thing.”
So you’ve got to question yourself. Do you want the smooth talker who makes a lot of empty promises that he can’t deliver or the one who tells you like it is? Whoever you choose, just make sure that you do so from an informed position.