Education Politics Social Justice Featured Blog: The corrupt Rahm Emanuel’s precarious position By Kaleb Carter Posted on January 14, 2016 11 min read 1 0 540 Photo courtesy of Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr Bashing Rahm Emanuel is getting pretty easy. He’s digging his own grave and the hole is only getting deeper. I may not be ingrained in Chicago politics, but many know the city’s dirty laundry is hanging out to dry and people are taking notice on a national level. It’s something that some locals have been clamoring about for a few years now. Rahm has had a notably gaudy career in Democratic politics, serving in the Clinton administration, was a congressman in Illinois and even acted as President Barack Obama’s White House Chief of Staff before resigning to “serve” Chicago as mayor. He sure learned some dirty moves along the way. I can’t speak to how far back Emanuel’s sketchy past goes, but I can say that his sordid ways seem to be finally catching up to him. But even so, it’ll take a lot to topple the political giant in a city known for political corruption from its Democratic leaders. Critics as a whole are coming out in droves. Conservative media is picking up its efforts to ridicule “the corrupt left” in Chicago as the Democratic Daley machine and much of its bureaucracy certainly is and has been doing so for a long time. But is it deserved? Not quite, but here’s an odd take nevertheless. “People in Chicago may be unhappy with their schools, their police, their public finances, their roads and sidewalks, and the 2,700-and-counting shootings in their streets, but they are not victims of corruption at city hall: They are partners in that corruption. And they’re getting what’s coming to them,” said Kevin Williamson of National Review. Meanwhile, previously-silent critics are coming out of the woods as if it were evident to them all along that Rahm should have been ousted. Just take a look at what the editorial boards of Chicago’s papers, the Sun-Times and Tribune, have said and done over time, which included multiple endorsements. The same two papers now act as if his streak of corruption had been weighing heavy all this time, when it has really only been made a huge deal amid huge backlash from the general public. The Tribune offers a stark example of this “we knew all along” attitude. Hell, where’s Obama’s ridicule? He has been a staunch defender of his former chief of staff in spite of all this. It makes sense politically, but not ethically. Many major Democrats still have remained silent. Derrick Clifton of The Bleader has done quite the job explaining such “we knew all along” phenomena. “Every influential leader and organization that got behind Emanuel now needs to take serious stock of how they’ve enabled his divisive regime to continue, and how playing establishment politics comes at expense of the issues—and people—that matter,” Clifton said. Despite all this, there still has been a fervently discontent crowd who has been critical of Emanuel’s reign as mayor. Mariame Kaba, an organizer/activist in Chicago who maintains quite the active Twitter presence, has been issuing “I told you so’s” for weeks (but less vindictive,) and for good reason. She has been decrying his practices in closing public schools, his secrecy surrounding law enforcement misconduct and his “fixes” (see: tasers) for law enforcement brutality and misconduct and more. In a recent article by Noah Bertlatsky for Quartz, Kaba is adamant about how better mental health services might have been able to prevent the tragic deaths of Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier, who were killed by members of the Chicago Police Department. “I don’t understand why we send people with guns to do wellness checks,” Kaba said. “We can solve our problems in our own communities if we have the resources to do so.” Berlatsky noted in the same article how Chicago did in fact shut down half of its 12 health clinics in 2012. Others have come from the situation that faces education in the city: fewer schools. Remember the strikes of the Chicago teachers of the past several years? Things are bad enough, and education receives enough of a short hand in a city where numerous protests, strikes and even hunger strikes have happened in recent years. Kaba tweeted in 2013 about how she wanted to organize people to oust Emanuel for his already reprehensible school closings. Many of these cries have come in the aftermath of the release of the video showing Laquan McDonald’s death, and then the deaths of the previously-mentioned Jones and LeGrier. How about the “black site” story that The Guardian’s Spencer Attackerman broke in February? In the midst of this, more sketchy details continue to emerge about the secrecy of Emanuel’s administration across many levels, his and subordinates’ attempts at diverting attention from dire issues and continually failing at striving for the ethical improvements that he claims to want to reach, has made the clamor about him reach a fever pitch. #ResignRahm is the cry on Twitter. But I can go on and on about social media given its immediate proximity. Meanwhile, residents of Chicago are hurting and want change. Emanuel isn’t the man to bring ethical purity to Chicago. It’s truly frightening to see Chicago stuck in a rut, and how powerful elites like Rahm spur secrecy and refuse to crack down on misconduct, instead furthering corruption in many ways. The end is near for Emanuel. Here are five pieces of media helpful for understanding discontent with Rahm Emanuel The Nation’s George Zornick asks Democrats why they’ve been so slow to criticize Emanuel. A reminder that this horrifying, civil liberties-abusing, unconstitutional, secretive building/process exists. It is Homan Square, and Chicago politicians and law enforcement are still being asked how it could even exist. Derrick Clifton explains how many chose to ignore Emanuel’s troubling tendencies. David Graham of The Atlantic explains shortly how simmering discontent with Emanuel finally burst out in aftermath of revelations of Laquan McDonald’s death.. Images from #ResignRahm protests from photographer Matthew Avignone of The Fader.