Two Hollywood heavy hitters tried to explain away a possible title for a movie project about one of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods at a Thursday Windy City press conference. Some city officials are up in arms over the war zone analogy invoked by “Chiraq,” though it doesn’t make much sense to be fearful of a truth everyone already knows, including Spike Lee and John Cusack. It’s not as if Chicago’s problems don’t infest the national news.
Refusing to acknowledge that neighborhoods like Englewood are what people associate with life in Rahm Emanuel’s city is only part of what makes Chicago the best at denying what it has become: an economic war zone with real battle zones nestled in its confines.
Chicago is a war zone even without the shootings
Mayor Emanuel has expressed his disapproval. A Chicago alderman has called for denying state funding if Spike Lee’s film is titled “Chiraq,” an irony in the same week the city suffered credit downgrades and bankruptcy seemed even more of an eventuality. When you are broke any business is good business, so why penalize a project that points to what is impossible to hide?
Even if every gun in Chicago disappeared tomorrow the city would still be an economic war zone. You can’t run a city without money, especially when residents are overused to social services funded at the city and state levels, a problem because Illinois is also broke. When Democrats everywhere are banging on the drum of social spending to erase inequality, how do you keep a city like Chicago peaceful when you can’t afford giveaways to residents who have little and want everything?
Chicago is the best at denial
A bankrupt sanctuary city is nothing to be pompous about. Neither is a metropolis where the headlines every morning are about shootings and financial crises.
With the exception of his insistence on separating Chicago and state pension funding, many of Emanuel’s views on what is good for Chicago are mirrored downstate. The rejection of right to work laws, demands to raise the minimum wage, bending over backwards to welcome illegals, destroying the school system with ruinous costs, and the other accoutrements of irresponsible policymaking comprise a package that doesn’t work without lots of money. Politicians and public officials are busy seeking a way out of the mess they have made of Illinois but the basic formula that caused it never changes: committing to more than what you have to spend.
A dirty Chicago secret we already know
Violence in Chicago is hardly a dirty little secret that will stay hidden by changing a movie title, though it may bring ridicule from observers who know better. Emanuel’s braggadocio about Chicago being the nation’s foremost welcoming sanctuary city, a stance that further strains city and state resources, betrays Chicago’s refusal to face financial problems created by its leaders that doom the city to Detroit’s fate. The mayor can claim that Chicago is the best city on the planet until he is hoarse. When everything people see speaks otherwise, even Rahm Emanuel will eventually have to acknowledge that he is in full-blown denial.
Worst Political News Story This Week Published May 16, 2015.