Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel gets, and richly deserves, the first Ethics Alarms Hat Trick for his astounding attack this week on a private citizen, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, for his personal, faith-based social views (specifically those opposing same sex marriage) and the fact that he gives financial support to advocacy groups that back them.
“Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members, and if you’re going to be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect the Chicago values.”
Thirty despicable words these are, born of the worst kind of liberal arrogance and thuggery, embodying dishonesty, disrespect, abuse of power, irresponsibility, and ignorance of the Bill of Rights…and they are jaw-droppingly stupid to boot. Boston’s Mayor Menino had earlier jammed his feet in his massive mouth up to the knees on the same topic, but his transgression was threatening negative government action against an American citizen’s business based solely on his disagreement with its owner’s Constitutionally protected speech and political activity. This was less ominous than Emanuel’s attack for two reasons: most Americans with a 6th grade education could tell that what Menino was threatening was an unconstitutional abuse of government power that could not come to fruition, and Boston’s mayor says silly things on a regular basis, and thus is accorded similar slack to that given to Joe Biden. Still, Menino’s words were unforgivable, a totalitarian directive to “get in line with the government’s thinking or suffer the consequences” that is anathema to American traditions and values. Emanuel went further, however. He used his prominence, position, popularity and power to sic an entire community on a man based on his political and social opinions, with the intent of either ruining him financially or bending his opinions to the mayor’s will. Torquemada would have been proud.
Here are just a few of the other things wrong with Emanuel’s statement:
- It is factually wrong. There are no “Chicago values” relevant to this matter. Chicago remains torn as much as the rest of the country, which is divided approximately in half on the issue of gay marriage, and quite possibly polls over-estimate the “pro-” side.
- It is a lie. Chick-fil-A has no opinion regarding gay marriage. There is nothing about gay marriage in its corporate papers or mission statement. The public is ignorant about how corporations operate already, and the Mayor, who knows better, is trying to keep them this way. Chick-fil-A’s values have to do with chicken, food, service and profit. The values of its ownership and management that do not pertain to chicken, food, service and profit are irrelevant to Chick-fil-A. There are no substantive allegations that the company has refused to serve or hire gays or members of same-sex relationships. The statements of the company’s majority owner are not the company’s statements, and the philanthropic activities of the company are not company “policy.”
- It is hypocritical. “Chicago values,” such as they are, are nothing to be proud of. The city, like New Orleans, Washington, DC and many others, has tolerated a corrupt political system and government for generations. If there is anyone who should never preach “Chicago values,” it is a product of the city’s swill of a political system like Rahm Emanuel. Not only are Chick-fil-A’s values consistent with “Chicago values” even as erroneously defined by Emanuel, they are better than real “Chicago values,’ because they don’t include corruption—-a February 2012 report by the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs named Chicago as “the most corrupt city in America,” noting that from 1976 to 2010, there were 1,531 convictions for public corruption, an average of 45 a year—or killing people—as of July 18 there were 300 murders in Chicago—or shooting them—- 1,459 people have been shot over the same period.
- It advocates thought-crime. It is not disrespectful of an individual, a group of individuals or even the majority of individuals to express opinions that they disagree with. The very concept is offensive to free thought and open civil discourse. Emanuel’s theory is authoritarian and Orwellian: dissent is an attack on the community and the state. Wrong. Emanuel’s statement is an attack on the state, because it advocates an end to the open exchange of opinions, advocacy and ideas that nourishes it.
- It asserts that conformity is mandatory, which denies pluralism, diversity, creativity, political vitality, policy debate and public participation in the political process.
- It is extortion.
With all of this, I do think that the Mayor’s hat trick provides us with a useful device for identifying the progressive, political correctness fascists in our midst, both in and out of public service and the media. Emanuel is clearly one, and anyone who makes excuses for him or supports his coercive tactics is another.
And a President who employs such a progressive fascist as his Chief of Staff? I think that is a troubling question. I will think about it, perhaps, on another day.
Now I’m going to go have a chicken sandwich.
Pointer: My wife.
Graphic: The Examiner
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