There is a fairy tale that has stayed with me ever since childhood. How many of you remember the Hans Christian Andersen story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”? To refresh your memory, it was the story of a ruler who meets two con artists. They convince him that they have created a wonderful new fabric that will make the best clothes and only the emperor’s most loyal subjects will be able to see it. They stand the emperor before a mirror and begin draping him in the supposed fabric and everyone around him begins to “ooh” and “aah.” Even the emperor begins to preen as if he too sees the wonderful garments that the two con artists have created for him.
The emperor then goes before his subjects to show off his wonderful new clothes. As he marches down the street, his subjects give smiles of approvals and thunderous applause to his new “threads.” That is, until a young child sees him, giggles and shouts out that “the emperor doesn’t have on any clothes.” Only then is the reality of the farce revealed.
When I think of Rahm Emanuel, I think of that story. For some reason, the media have labeled him the “godfather” as if he were some modern day Don Corleone — a Mafioso so tough that no one dares to say anything. His subjects, who applaud his every move without criticism, are the 50 aldermen who seem to be as much in awe of him as the emperor’s subjects were of him. They, along with his adoring or ignoring populace, are so blinded by his star that, as with the emperor, they see what they are told to see and don’t see the reality of the man.
I was recently asked my opinion of the school closings. The majority are in the black community and even more ironic, or dastardly, are the number of schools named after black folks. When Emanuel was running for office, I pointed out in one of my columns that he sure seemed to have a problem attending forums held at black churches. Now, looking at the names of the schools getting closed, it only reaffirms my opinion that he has a problem with black people.
Forget all than nonsense that many blacks used to vote for him. “He’s Obama’s boy,” they would say. My response: “All the black folks who voted for him are getting what they deserved!” Here is a man who ran for office based on television commercials. Hold a debate in the black neighborhoods and he was Casper the Ghost — invisible. Or else he held staged events where he controlled the questions — lightweight. Or he answered with a response that had nothing to do with the question.
I may be one of the few folks who remembered his faux pas when he ran for office. Here is an excerpt from my Feb. 10, 2011 column: “At the WGN forum, Rahm said: ‘When you take out Northside and when you take out Walter Payton, the seven best performing high schools are all charters.'”
Well those young people (Sullivan High School students) went and did their homework. The top seven schools beside Northside Prep and Walter Payton are: Lane Tech, Whitney Young, Jones College Prep, Gwendolyn Brooks and Lincoln Park. How could Rahm have made such an error regarding the Chicago Public Schools? Very simple. The man hasn’t been living here. He had no real interest in what was going on here and if Daley hadn’t decided to retire, the man wouldn’t be anywhere near here. What that short video clip did is highlight children who go to their neighborhood schools. They are just as bright, concerned and inventive as any child who is enrolled in a selective or charter school.
We have a mayor who knew so little about CPS that he could make a major boo-boo before the election. Now he is poised to make an even bigger one by traumatizing children because he, who would never walk a day to their school in their shoes, wants to tell them that traveling even further is best for them.
Abraham Lincoln said it best, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
My question is which kind of people are you?