There is an old saying that "politics is theatre." And during the entire month of December 2010, we saw performances worthy of the Academy Awards by several candidates for mayor.
One of the first things to remember in looking at politicians is that their motto is thus; "we have no permanent enemies, just permanent interest." Those interests, for the most part, involve themselves and not what is good for the citizenry.
For weeks I had been hearing via the political grapevine that both State Sen. Meeks and Congressman Davis would be dropping out of the race. The stage for it to occur was during the so-called "historic" WVON 1690 AM radio show forum held on Dec. 15, with the three "leading" black candidates. During the course of the talk, Meeks conveniently asked if the others would be willing to dropout of the race to have a single consensus candidate. Carol Moseley Braun said she was "In it to win it," while Davis gave his usual conciliatory speech on unity.
Then just over a week later on Christmas Eve, Meeks announced he was dropping out. That left both Braun and Davis. Davis gave a good performance when he stood up to tell his "homeboy" Bill Clinton not to get involved in the political race here. It almost had me believing that Davis was going to be a serious candidate until I got a gander at his political campaign posters for mayor. They looked like the ones he had just used to run for congress.
On New Year's Eve, Davis dropped out of the race. What is very interesting is that as a seasoned politician, Davis knows full well that there are dates one needs to respect to withdraw from the race. Dropping out in a timely fashion means it keeps their name from appearing on the ballot. Davis missed that deadline. His name may still be on the ballot and any votes that go to him will not be counted. Thus the votes for him won't be looked at as part of the 50 percent plus one that a candidate needs to win to garner the office. I'll let you all judge whether that was a political oops or a calculated action.
What makes me sick of the political games I see being played is that it is done with no regards for the lives of the people who are affected by it. Politicians are cutting deals and conveniently dropping out of the race. Rumors are spreading like wildfire that Braun is going to dropout next. If her "I'm in it to win it" speech is repeatedly met with her other new retort, "Because I don't want to" we are in trouble. Gaffes like that shouldn't be done by a seasoned politician. Plus it makes me wonder the seriousness of a candidate who even before taking office is giving us the finger and expecting the voters of this city to take whatever mess they have to dole out.
My advice is for everyone to begin to seriously follow who is running for mayor and their position. The race for mayor needs to be about issues and not celebrity - especially when the so-called leading candidate spent Christmas not only outside this city but the country to boot. I guess we know where Rahm Emanuel's priorities lie and it isn't among the average citizenry.
We need to hear solutions and not excuses. How will the next mayor solve the huge unemployment rate here on the West Side amongst so many young black men? What are the plans for all the vacant land on the West Side? Can the Brach site become a Black Entertainment Complex to offer thousands of jobs to local residents if Chicago is to get a land based casino? The questions we need to ask are staggering.
I recently got a flyer about the West Side NAACP candidate forum and it didn't include either William "Dock" Walls or Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, both candidates for mayor. Both are West Siders and it is sickening to know that an organization that is representing this side of town doesn't include everyone in a debate that is so important to our future. The race for mayor is for an open seat just like your vote can be given to whomever you please. Demand to hear from all the candidates. Our future depends on knowing who has the plans and solutions for the future of this city, and who is just a figurehead likely to lead it down the same tired path.
Lastly, it is again time to focus on politics every Sunday night. Tune in to the Garfield Major Show on 1450 AM from 10 p.m. until midnight. There you will hear from many of the candidates for both mayor and alderman. Call 773-591-8000 and be heard.
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