In life everything comes to an end. (Well most things, poverty is staying pretty consistent on us). But for the most part, things come to an end, eventually. I for one never thought my senior year of high school would end, as the sickness of senioritis went into full fruition at the end of my junior year, but nevertheless, high school ended, and now I am still amazed to find myself in my third year of college. I digress.
Today, an era ends in Chicago and the future is unknown. I say all this because Mayor Daley announced today that he would not be running for re-election. To some people in other cities this might not matter, for the 10 million plus Chicagoans, this is significant. I think the impact of this announcement is summed up well in a statement that one of my students made this summer: “I am graduating high school, and I have only lived under one mayor.”
Many understand the political corruption that plagues Chicago’s past and present, but when a single person is in charge of the school system, the transit authority, the park districts, and half of city council (I say this because over the past two decades Mayor Daley has hand-picked almost half of the aldermen) I am inclined to say I am not saddened by his decision. As a matter of fact, I’m quite happy.
So why did he do it? Well this is what he said:
“Now I am ready with my family to begin a new phase of our lives,” Daley said, noting that he had considered the decision over the course of the last several months. “I have always believed that every person, especially public officials, must understand when its time to move on, for me, that time is now.”
A huge factor in Daley’s decision was he wife, who has been having major health problems recently. I respect Daley for putting his loved ones before his job, and commend him for doing so. I just also think some huge factors in his decision making was the fact that he lost the Olympics, failed with Renaissance 2010, and didn’t have enough money to buy the Chicago machine a new motor (especially in this economy).
Here were President Obama’s words on Daley’s decision:
“No mayor in America has loved a city more or served a community with greater passion than Rich Daley. He helped build Chicago’s image as a world class city, and leaves a legacy of progress that will be appreciated for generations to come.”
Now I’m not sure if the President was just being polite or what, but lets play a little game. It’s called, “take peoples quotes and rearrange them to fit what you believe is the truth” (I’m working on the name).
Anyway, here is how it would of sounded, had I said this quote:
“No mayor in America has loved a city more or served the business and middle/upper class community with greater passion than Rich Daley. While holding a blind eye to torture that took place in the city (John Burge), ignoring poverty that spread through the south and west sides, and focusing solely on the downtown and north side areas of Chicago, he helped to build Chicago‘s Image as a world class city, and leaves a legacy of progress for all those who help to build the machine, and for those who benefited that will be appreciated for generations to come”. (Yea, I like my quote better than the Presidents.)
So obviously I am glad that Daley is retiring, but if someone doesn’t step up and take the reigns, the city could be even worse off. People could be even more marginalized than before. The have-nots could continue on in their lack of agency and the low-income population could have even less access to the system they live in. This is an exciting time in Chicago, but also an important time. I look forward to seeing what is to come and will damn sure campaign for the best candidate.