Arts & Culture

Top Five Reasons I Want Rahm Emanuel to Become Mayor of Chicago

Growing up in Chicago, I remember 3 mayors: Richard J. Daley, Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley.  Granted, I was only alive for two of those mayors, but the shadow of the first Daley (that would be Richard J. Daley) … Read More

By / October 4, 2010

Growing up in Chicago, I remember 3 mayors: Richard J. Daley, Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley.  Granted, I was only alive for two of those mayors, but the shadow of the first Daley (that would be Richard J. Daley) was still cast all across the Windy City even years after his death in office in 1976. The fact that I don’t really recall, is that between my birth and the moment where Richard M. Daley took over as Mayor of Chicago–a term he’s held since 3 months before my 9th birthday–there had been four other people who had served as mayor of Chicago: Harold Washington, whose victory as the first African-American leader of the city polarized, and I’d have to imagine served as an early inspiration for our current president to realize that anybody could seek higher office; and three other people I have no recollection of. (This includes Jane Byrne, who to date is the first and only female Mayor of Chicago.) In the last few weeks two things have become official: Mayor Richard M. Daley does not plan to die in office like his father, and Rahm Emanuel is planing to take his place.  Last week, The New York Times weighed in with their reasons why Rahm might win, and why he might lose, and it got me thinking a bit more about the race to come. I don’t live in Chicago anymore, but I still read the local papers to see what goes on in a city where love of politics shares a special place amongst it’s love of sports and foods that will rot your arteries.  And while I don’t always agree with Emanuel, his tactics, or the huge advantage he already has in the early days of his candidacy, there are the five reasons that I’d like to see him win. 1.  There’s a reason they call it the “Daley Machine,” and it’s because the city has been ran both like a machine, and by a machine: Mayor Daley is not only a name shared by a father and son who have carved up leadership of the city for over 55 years, it’s a term that has become synonymous with how the city works.  While there might not always be a Daley in office, the family is without a doubt the most powerful political name in the city, and possibly one of the most powerful in America.  Rahm Emanuel has worked inside the Daley Machine, and if his current job counts for anything on a local level, he’s pretty much the best candidate for mayor of just about any big city who can use his influence and his inclusion in the “machine” to help Chicago get past it’s “Second City” status. 2.  That status mentioned above seems to be becoming a thing of the past:  Any visitor to the city will tell you that Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities in America — juxtaposing beautiful, classic architecture with new world amenities, and a culture that is unlike any of it’s Midwestern neighbors.  Emanuel’s influence can only help that growth continue.  I imagine that somebody with his clout could only bring more to the table than just about anybody else. 3. When you think “corrupt politicians,” there is a pretty good chance that Chicago is the first city that comes to mind. What breeds this political corruption? I have no clue.  I’d have to imagine that it’s a grab for money and/or power, two things Emanuel already has tons of.  I’d guess that would minimize the chances of Rhambo becoming the next Blago.  4.  Rahm is tough as nails, or at least he’s portrayed that way by the media. Whether or not the ballet dancing, graduate of a liberal arts college is actually as rough and tumble as his language and demeanor would make us think, that toughness would serve him very well in the political deathmatch known as Chicago. 5.  He’s Jewish.  Yeah, this shouldn’t be a reason to want a guy to be given the most important position in a city, I know.  But as I was talking to my grandmother the other day, she pointed out that even though our hometown has one of the most sizable Jewish populations in the country, nearly every mayor has been Roman Catholic (save for Harold Washington and Eugene Sawyer).  While a Jewish mayor in a major city isn’t anything new, it is in Chicago.  Aside from the fact that it could be a source of pride for both myself and any of Rahm’s Jewish supporters (which I’m not sure there are many left), this could be a boost for Chicago’s Jewish community, and it would be cool to see some mezuzahs on the doors of City Hall.

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