Wednesday, April 24, 2019

RIP Rahm Emanuel: "the most Chicago of Chicago mayors"

     After the funeral of a college classmate, her sister asked me how the Catholic ceremony compared to Jewish rites. I thought a moment. There were the bouquets of flowers piled atop the coffin, buried along with it. That was different, and haunting, but not what I mentioned.
     "We tend to say something around the grave," I said.
     "I asked the priest if we could do that," she responded. "But he said 'No.'"
     And you listened to him?! I thought, and almost said aloud, but held back, out of respect.
     We Jews are indeed a chatty, argumentative race, no doubt about that, and we guide our clergy as much as our clergy guides us. Maybe more.
     So even though I am convinced that the ideal way to solemnize Rahm Emanuel's departure from the mayor's office is with stony silence—for the city to cough into our collective fist and fix our gaze on the middle distance until he goes away—I'm not going to do that.
     First, because of the certainty that Rahm will spend the next few weeks in hyperkinetic victory laps, huffing in circles around City Hall, both hands raised for high fives that aren't returned by passerby who twist away in revulsion as he flies past, legs and jaw churning, uttering the same constant stream of self-congratulatory spin he's been coasting along on, like a slug producing its own smooth track of slime, for the past eight years.
     And second, well, can't have a column that's five paragraphs long. My job has forced me to contemplate Rahm and, like any proctologist with a full day's schedule, no point in complaining. Might as well roll up our sleeves and take a look.

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  1. 1. Lots of people have called Chicago the most American of cities before Rahm.
    2. But the real reason he'll go down as a failure is because when he found out the truth about the disastrous state of the city's finances, he raised taxes & fees, instead of blaming that corrupt pile of shit Daley for wrecking the city & then being too cowardly in having the city filing bankruptcy to get out from under the Titanic wreck Daley created!
    Detroit has vastly improved since it filed Chapter 10 & got out from under the insane pensions that the politicians gave to the employees, including themselves.
    That's the only sane solution for both Chicago & C[r]ook County. Unfortunately, bankruptcy law doesn't allow for states to file, but the way Congress let Puerto Rico out of it's mess just might be a way for Illinois to go, claiming that if PR can do it, so can a state.

    1. Clark, after Detroit declared bankruptcy, it had to cede control of the city's finances to a receiver or comptroller or some such thing who spent years bitching about every single dime needed to run things and insisting the city do things like sell off art treasures from its museums. That was sheer hell, and if you think that's preferable to raising taxes, well, all I can say is I'm glad it's not your decision.

      As for your assertion that "Detroit has vastly improved": As they say on Wikipedia, citation needed.

    2. Clark St. it is time for Chicago and Illinois leadership to make ANY long term plan for economic stability. Unfortunately, intestinal fortitude only rises in the movies. Like Trump and his gang of republicans they sing about ACA repeal but have no replacement. Our Dems have done no better. A coward always takes the easy way out and there are no heroes in sight.

    3. But Detroit didn't sell off the art & Detroit'd downtown has improved. Businesses have moved back in & people are rehabbing homes nearby.
      Just google it & you'll find lots of proof of improvement.
      As for a trustee managing the city's finances, WONDERFUL!
      The waste in Chicago is appalling, with thousands of useless employees, who keet their jobs because of the obscenely high pensions!

  2. Where are the signs Rahm is being laid to rest? He'll be a paid kibitzer like he was before seeking office, only now on a national scale. I see him following the path set by the sports coaches who move from the sidelines to the broadcast booth to wait for the memory of their shortcomings to fade enough that a return is possible. He’ll bide his time at CNNBCBS, trash-talking the rejuvenated socialism-friendly wing Democratic party as per his contract, until he sniffs out another opportunity to run.

  3. I fervently hope that one of these days people recognize that government executives, presidents, governors, mayors, should know what they're doing. We're constantly electing neophytes and then stand aghast as they flounder and drown. What qualifications did Rahm, Rauner, Trump, and yes Pritzker and Lightfoot too, show us before they applied for their jobs? They all know how to make money for themselves of course, but not a whole lot about how government, good government, works. A little of the wisdom of Joseph as advisor to the Pharoah in laying up treasure in good times to prepare for the inevitable bad times would go a long way, I think.


    1. Rahm served seven years in Congress and two as White House Chief of Staff. If that didn't give him some clues about how government works, I don't know what would.

      Neil is obviously not an admirer, but I think history may be less unkind. Given the difficulty of the job, I'm more inclined to go with the sentiment Oscar Wilde reported seeing on a sign in a Colorado saloon during his lecture tour of that great state: "Please don't shoot the piano player. He's only doing his best."


  4. When I was younger I never wanted to participate in the Jewish practice of throwing/shoveling dirt on the coffin until it was explained that this was the final mitzvah, something that the dead could not do for themselves.

    While Rahm could in fact perform his own political burial, he won't. He will certainly take his "hyperkinetic victory laps", his mayoral memories unchallenged by the other local media. Thanks for performing the mitzvah of the burial dirt for us all.

  5. I am Jewish and never had it explained that throwing the shovel of dirt was a mitzvah. I don't think I have done it more than a few times.

  6. This is a strange column to be writing weeks after he has been out of office.

  7. As a Catholic, I am compelled to correct the statement regarding the priest saying a few words at a grave site. At 73 I have attended many Catholic funerals including my parents and words, prayers, were always part of the burial service commencing with throwing a handful of dirt on coffin and

    Lived in Chicago for both Daleys and all I can say is I better not comment on either.
    Lived in Chicago for many yearsr


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