I originally had high hopes for Mayor Lori Lightfoot. In her run to be mayor, when Toni Preckwinkle wouldn’t even come to the West Side for a debate, Lightfoot was here. And as the date for the election came near, she joined up with Willie Wilson and he helped push her acceptance as the candidate of choice. Many of us overlooked some things that might have bothered us about her, including not being a native Chicagoan, her history with law enforcement, and wariness over her sexual orientation agenda, and supported her candidacy.
I have been critical of what I perceive to be some missteps at a very basic level. She has not proven to be a calculating politician. And by calculating, I mean one who knows how to take advantage of the situation and put a spin on it to put herself in the most positive light or brings this city together. Lightfoot hasn’t managed to turn herself into a beloved mayoral figure, respected by all, and one whose voice connected with the people to make her one of us.
I’m not a follower of every step she’s taken. But when her missteps do stick out, they are glaring. Like always seeming to find non-native Chicagoans to hire to be part of her administration. That was a sore point with me. She had some excellent opponents in the last mayoral election who she did not tap into for the greater good of this city. Instead of recognizing the talent that is in Chicago and using those who have an understanding of the nuances of neighborhoods and especially of the black community in Chicago, she hit my last straw with her choice for the new superintendent of police. With that decision, my new moniker for her became “One-Term Lori.”
For some reason, I wasn’t one of the ones who jumped on the Lori “memes” bandwagon that was all over the internet because of COVID-19. I found the messaging about the quarantine to be confusing. There were too many mixed messages being given out to a population where many did not understand how to fought a virus by remaining in the house. All they could hear was, “stay in the house, but OK to go out.” That kind of messaging didn’t get them in the mindset to quarantine.
This past Memorial Day weekend proved another classic misstep. Her pick for police superintendent didn’t properly plot out the kind of policing that would be needed for a three-day weekend where people had already been pretty much confined to the house.
But that boondoggle was only a precursor to the devastation that has hit this city, partly because of the protest over the murder of George Floyd and partly because a lot of those generation-Xers who tore up the city grew up listening to their parents and grandparents talk about all the loot they got during the prior riots.
If one goes back in history, the last opportunity to riot in this city was after the Bulls won the championship in 1997. These young people have grown up on a steady diet of all the loot their relatives got. And they have been salivating. So the protest that began on Friday was the excuse for all the looting that took place on Saturday.
The rule has always been that when America gets a cold, the black community gets the flu. Add the coronavirus, and we were given a death sentence in terms of health. Now with the devastating destruction of many businesses within the black neighborhoods, we may be on our own when the time comes to rebuild.
Many areas on the West Side have never recovered from the 1968 riots. The 2020 riots may be the nail in our own coffin.