This reader says that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in trouble.
I don’t live in Chicago so I don’t know if he is right.
The one time that I met Rahm Emanuel–a meeting at the White House to talk about Race to the Top–he was arrogant and unpleasant, but that seems to be his style with everyone, I was told, don’t take it personally. I didn’t. But then, I don’t live in Chicago.
Anyone reading this who lives in Chicago should let me know if they agree with this assessment:
|Rahm’s base has withered to the top levels of the Plutocracy, and he is afraid to go out in public in any situation that he does not control completely. Were he to re-appear at a White Sox game, for example, as he did after he thought he had a star turn following NATO, he would be booed. That’s where the working class issues its judgements on guys like that.
During the last two weeks, as his myrmidons and minions pushed as hard as they could for a “NO” vote, Rahm retreated into his gilded Fueherbunker, surrounded by public relations and propaganda flacks who ensure that his every appearance is carefully scripted so he doesn’t hear the boos. I once counted a dozen of them (CPS and City Hall) at a small event at the “Disney II” elementary school that I covered. There were more PR and propaganda staff there than teachers (not surprising). I was covering the event as a reporter (substancenews.net), and outside I got a story from the parents (from Raise Your Hand and 6.5 to Thrive) who were forced to remain outside while Rahm and his myrmidon Jean-Claude Brizard prattled from the usual scripts inside. The parents outside were told they would be arrested if they dared do inside.
Since the May 23 mass rallies and march (10,000 is the numer; the largest teacher march in Chicago history), Rahm has retreated into his comfort zones. He has given graduation speeches behind a wall of security to the Pritzker School of Medicine, two or three charter schools, a parochial school, and one real public school. He’s constantly nervous outside of the phalanx of security he huddles behind.
And remember, the majority of cops in Chicago dislike him, too. He has attacked the police union almost as viciously as he has attacked the teachers union, but the police can’t ever strike. He reduced the actual number of cops on the streets. He has preached the kind of “efficiency” that means he tries to replace humans with gimmicks (speed cameras and blue lights for example; see the opening scenes of The Wire for all the commentary anybody needs about that privatization craziness) and technology at every opportunity (providing lucrative contracts to his buddies, while letting the streets become less safe).
Rahm Emanuel is a coward and, as people put it on the streets, a punk. Back in the day when I taught high school here (before being fired and blacklisted; that’s another story), I taught a novel called “The 13th Valley,” the best of the Vietnam fiction (but considered “too long” by most high school teachers). The first lesson included a memo to parents, including a page of dialogue. Parents had to give permission for their senior children to read the book, because it was an authentic fictional rendition of the complex horrors and realities of men in combat, which also gave a realistic rendition of the Vietnamese. Most parents gave permission for their children to read the book.
The first day or two, we talked about the language of young men in combat, and how the “F” word was really an indicator of immaturity and fear of violence. As John DelVecchio depicted in “The 13th Valley,” the soldiers who used the “F” word most were the FNGs who were still too new to understand the horrors, and the REMFs like Rahm who would always utilize their powers and privileges to assign others to do their fighting for them.
Rahm specializes in the ludicrous dispatch — proudly — of his “F bombs.” To the trained ear, that shows, as much as anything else, what a punk and coward he really is. My father served with the 44th Infantry Division across Europe from 1944 – 1945, while my mother was serving as a nurse in the Pacific (ending on Okinawa). One of the things they taught me during the 1950s was never having to use the “F” word. It was a sign, they said, of immaturity or worse, and it didn’t prove how tough a guy was, but only how silly.
Rahm has already been reduced to tears because he can no longer bully his way across the big screen in Chicago, no matter how many propaganda hacks and flacks he surrounds himself with.
Rahm’s script has been upended. His show is over, no matter how many times he repeats childishness like the “F__k you Lewis…” he blurted at Karen Lewis almost a year ago. That was when Karen tried to tell him that his “Longer School Day” campaign was not going anywhere without teacher support, union input, and some true funding to make it more than babysitting. For a year, at great expense, he has surrounded himself with mercenaries. These ranged from the Rent a Preachers I reported on last August at Sox Park to the Rent a Protesters they got caught sending out in January to support Rahm’s vicious school closings. They continued all year to the “Vote No” trolls and flacks (most notably, a couple of local bloggers here in Chicago, one of whom blogs about Chicago from Brooklyn) and the highly financed national corporate “reform” groups that tried, at great expense, to stop us from rallying, marching and voting to do whatever it will take to begin the long process of saving the public schools, here, then elsewhere, from the clutches of the “one percent” and their avatars such as Rahm Emanuel.
The narrative is now in the hands of adults who will sacrifice, as my family and I did when we outed the CASE tests and fought back, for democracy, public education, and our rights to protect our jobs, professions, and families with unions.