There are some Chicago values that people can do without
Updated: August 8, 2012 3:01PM
What are Chicago values?
I’ve been pondering that question since last week when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel mentioned them in the debate over a Chick-fil-A Restaurant opening in Chicago.
If you haven’t heard, a Chicago alderman doesn’t want the store opening in his ward because the company president is opposed to same-sex marriage.
Emanuel chimed in by saying that position goes against Chicago values.
So what are Chicago values?
Apparently, freedom of speech isn’t one of them. The company’s president stated his position on a political and social issue that is not yet settled in the United States, or even in Illinois, where gay marriage is illegal.
Last I checked, you could still speak out on an issue in this country and not be punished politically.
Maybe that’s a Chicago value?
Sure, people can vote with their wallets. That’s what America is all about anyway. But when politicians start deciding who gets to have a business based on the political and social positions of their owners instead of zoning, traffic, parking, etc., then we are all in big trouble.
How about racial segregation? Is that a Chicago value?
I’ve lived in and around Chicago most of my life. It is as segregated a city today as it was 40 years ago. Which seems to be OK with most people, so is that a Chicago value?
I was in the city on the West Side just the other day. My daughter was interviewing for a teaching job there and I thought it would be fun to spend the day together in the city after the interview.
The school was 90 percent African American. I guess racially segregated schools is a Chicago value, too.
Later that night, I read that a man was shot in the head while sitting on his porch just a few blocks away from the school we visited. Is that a Chicago value? Innocent people get shot every week on the streets of the Chicago and the only person who seems really upset about it is the Rev. Michael Pfleger.
How about the joblessness and poverty in some Chicago neighborhoods? What about the poorly performing schools?
Is it a Chicago value to do nothing for decades about these issues? These same problems have been here my entire life. I’ve decided nobody cares or the policies we’ve pursued for 40 years just don’t work.
I really don’t want government deciding who gets licenses to do business based on what the owners think. We consumers can handle that.
However, I do want government to provide an environment where business can flourish and people can get jobs and buy nice houses and feel safe sitting on their front porches in the evening. I want government to provide safe schools where kids get prepared for college or a decent job. And have nice parks where the kids can play and decent libraries where people can learn anything they want.
Oh yeah, that’s called the suburbs.