When I say the political is personal, I mean it. Chicago parents have a lot to worry about. On top of their child’s safety (rightfully the most important and major concern) they must deal with the quality of education they receive at school and the food served at lunch.
Sadly, they get served a hamburger patty with 25 other ingredients besides beef. Politicians want to use the kids as a political football to toss around and score a few points. As a result teachers might strike at the beginning of the next school year. All of this connects to a parent. It matters more than a debate on the national level pertaining to Hillary Rosen’s comments on Ann Romney. They live this day and night.
Right now Chicago residents that have a mental health issue or work in the field occupy the vacant lot adjacent to a city clinic slated for closure. They tried to stage a sit-in on Thursday night prior to their arrests. The advocates claim the patients would be cut off from services with half of the 12 city clinics closed. The mayor contends private facilities will provide them with the lost services, yet many of these people cannot afford private health insurance let alone the out of pocket costs. Multiple organizations formed a coalition called the Mental Health Movement but its influence on the administration has been minimal.
Meanwhile, more affluent groups and individuals garner much more influence on the mayor. Emanuel wants to begin a major investment fund for the city with a substantial amount of the money coming from the private sector and in return they are nearly guaranteed profits.
Rahm is running this city with a mentality of those with money get access. Those without go without. Governing in a city of more than two million people already leaves too many disenfranchised. Even aldermen feel powerless. I have heard from multiple aldermen that they are feeling immense pressure from the administration. Chicago Reader’s Mike Dumke even quoted two aldermen on the record stating as much.
So far, aldermen haven’t been briefed. “Do you think this administration tells us anything?” says Second Ward alderman Robert Fioretti, who for months has been wary of Emanuel’s behind-the-scenes summit planning.
Another skeptical alderman, Leslie Hairston of the Fifth Ward, says she only knows what’s been reported in the media. “That’s where I generally find my news about the city.”
Our local elected officials cannot even properly do their jobs due to Rahm’s pressure tactics, lack of communication, and their own inaction to stand up to him.
With all of this the people of Chicago will face reduced public services, less accountability, and a more privatized city. If you think a person in a poor neighborhood lacking access to mental health resources does not affect you then do not understand the idea of preventative care. At least one elected official understands – Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart:
“Reductions in funding for the mentally ill have made Cook County Jail the largest mental health provider in Illinois.”
It merely passes the buck off to a different tax base while making it more difficult to get the quality care needed.
Throw in the library cuts, the tax breaks for incredibly profitable companies, and TIF money held in something akin to a slush fund. The whole picture begins to form and reveals a corrupt system harming its citizens in the long-term. Activists see this picture in their work on specific issues. You see the passion played out in direct actions taking place on a weekly basis. It is why they want you to get involved. Are you game?
© Aaron Krager 2008-2013 | Have any questions? Send me an email.