When I first took this job I had no intention of ever writing about politics. I don’t like politicians and the ones I do, I can count on one hand and still have enough fingers to eat with. I find them to be grimy life-forms who will do and say anything to get elected and stay on the public tit for as long as they can before death or a jail sentence forcibly pries them off of it.
I thought I’d try to write something like “tales of Chicago,” a lighthearted look at life in our city.
Then Rahm Emanuel got elected and I no longer had the luxury of ignoring politics. His mayoralty has been an epic lesson in the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer and, on too many occasions, dead. This has been a sobering ice-cold reality in this city. Somehow our murder rate as of this writing is almost double what it was last year.
Almost twenty percent of our citizens live below the poverty line and unemployment among young black men between the ages of twenty and twenty-four is a whopping forty-seven percent according to a Great Cities Institute report. This is significantly higher than the national average, which is a still very high thirty-two percent.
That our schools are in shambles begs the question: Gee, maybe one thing has something to do with the other?
To be a person of color and poor in this city is to be in exile.
We have much work to do as a city. All of us. As much as I’d like to lay this at Emanuel’s door, it isn’t all him. We have much ahead of us to make this city cultivate more opportunity and more kindness. We need to be more willing to help those around us who need a hand: It is the only hope we have.
Into this divided, angry city came Donald Trump last Friday night, to exploit some of the sad facts and anger among us. He and his rolling goat-fuck of a “campaign” decided to rent out the UIC Pavilion, a scant five or six blocks from the city’s biggest population of people he refers to as “rapists.” Being that close to our city’s largest Latino neighborhood was not an accident. Trump, in his cynicism, chose one of the centers of our city’s most diverse and young populations. He invited everything that happened Friday night—all of it. I honestly don’t believe the blowhard ever had any intention of showing up and speaking. The Chicago Police brass have issued a statement contrary to the Trump campaign’s stating they never asked or told Trump to cancel his rally. Since nearly everything sputtered out of his pie-hole is a lie, I believe the police.
I also felt that Friday night, tasked with cleaning up Trump’s mess, they did an amazing job of policing considering the amount of skirmishes I witnessed, a great many of them provoked by Trump supporters and plants.
I was there. My daughter Gaby insisted on going. She is a big Bernie supporter and I was proud she wanted to exercise her right to dissent and I wanted to make sure she was never out of my sight during this. After watching an ancient redneck sucker-punch a young African-American man at a previous Trump rally, I was well aware of what his crowd brought to the party. I wasn’t naive about what was being engineered here.
I never thought Trump would show:
A) He’s a pussy. He prefers others take and administer his lumps FOR him.
B) The only crowd he wants to be in front of is WHITE, semi-literate drool-cases staring back adoringly while their heads glow in the dark.
C) He needs, badly, pathologically, to appear as the aggrieved victim at all times. “They wouldn’t let me speak, wa, wa, wa.”
This, of course, reveals him for the fraud that he is.
All week long I railed against those who would try to silence him with petitions on Facebook. I argued that when we silence imbeciles like Donald Trump, we become more like him. That the more repellent and ugly we find the speech, sadly, the more honor-bound we are to defend the speaker’s right to utter their garbage. It gives me no pleasure to defend the right of Trump to flog his hateful message, but we defend his right to speak to preserve our own. I also decided then and there to go to the rally and protest, as is my right, with that pesky First Amendment.
About fifteen minutes after I got to the corner of Van Buren and Racine; the police would let us go no further. Trump bailed, leaving thousands of his supporters high and dry—which in itself was a dick move. As the pavilion emptied there were skirmishes—in fact there was no trouble until Trump cancelled—and the cops got between them very quickly. The kids from Black Lives Matter were chanting and the Trump people started filtering out.
At one point about a hundred feet in front of me, a man in a wheelchair wearing a Trump shirt with a Confederate flag in his lap stopped rolling and shook the rebel flag at a young African-American woman. She got really upset and the guy was chased for a bit until he was five feet from me. I leaned over and told the young woman that the Trump people would love nothing more than to see us all fucking up a guy in a wheelchair. It was then I noticed other Trump people watching with their iPhones pointed at us. The young woman replied, “I’m not taking the bait, this isn’t my first time doing this—this is how they do…”
And she didn’t. I then leaned over to the idiot in the wheelchair and said, “Sir, does the name Custer mean anything to you?” With which the young woman laughed and walked away. The man wheeled away, but not before spouting racial epithets and for a minute I felt very sad for him.
I talked to the young woman for a bit and we both agreed to vote for Bernie. I walked away with my daughter and her friend Gina who’d been knocked down by a Trump guy who’d been hectoring a crowd of young black men, who surrounded him and then did nothing—they stared him down. The cops intervened and a few more skirmishes occurred, again quickly broken up by the police. The only people who were injured were the police, who endured no small amount of bullshit from both sides.
This is what Trump and his ilk leave in their wake: The dopes who support him received some rough treatment on the way back to the suburbs and the citizens of Chicago are badgered by a crypto-fascist who exploits them for the cheapest and most threadbare of political currency.
The thing I loathe the most about Trump is the instinct he evokes in us: the anger, the hate, the quickness with which we abandon our civility.
I heard a GOP pundit say that Trump was their Rorschach test and this strikes me as right—he is the Frankenstein monster they’ve created. Since Reagan, the GOP has suggested Trump’s unappetizing ideas and words by implication and inference. He is their id—their demon-box turned upside down with all of its toxic ideas spilling out of Donald Trump’s mouth. He is the monster they created and the monster they deserve.
Last Friday night he decided to inflict this hatred and bigotry on Chicago.
I am proud of Chicago. I was there, and believe me this could have been WAY worse. What you saw on CNN looks far worse than it actually was. Know that as long as Trump’s geek show rolls, so does CNN’s. They profit from this idiocy.
Friday night Donald Trump found out that his message of bigotry, divisiveness and exclusion will not play in Chicago and before he comes slumming down our street again, we won’t have it: peddle your hatred and bullshit somewhere else. Next time, to quote Nelson Algren, You’ll wake up with the cats looking at you.