Chicago’s Ferris Wheel of Politics
Riding a giant wheel isn't what it's cracked up to be
Paris has its Eiffel Tower. Rome has its Colosseum. What does Chicago have? The Ferris wheel. This attraction is apropos for our city because all it does is turn. Round and round it goes, rotating very slowly in one direction, taking Chicago nowhere. The Ferris wheel is the perfect structure for Chicago.
For those who have never read articles on The TRiiBE website, please take time to do so. The site offers progressive perspectives from a black Chicagoans’ point of view. In a time when we have just elected a Communist mayor, The TRiiBE avails its readers to black voices and leftist philosophy while seeking “justice and liberation” through its multi-media platform. This site gives us a glimpse into the workings of many grass roots activists who helped propel Mayor Johnson into office.
One story recently published titled “Chicago youth talk about safety, social justice, and Brandon Johnson” details non-profit group Vocal Justice’s “summit” for young people to air their grievances and fears. Unsurprisingly, this conference is, in actuality, teaching youth to be social justice leaders in their communities. For example: One workshop called “Identity, Power, and Resistance: A Look at Adultism” focused on “developing consciousness around age,” while another led by We All We Got founder Des Owusu promoted social change through fashion.
The article segued into an interview of two teenagers, a 13-year-old from Englewood and a 17-year-old from North Lawndale about their thoughts regarding priorities for bettering Chicago. For one brief, shining moment it seemed that Tae, the elder teen, understood that education was a means forward. Then Tae’s comments soured:
“I feel like it starts with our schooling system, like our education system doesn’t really prepare us for real-world problems. It prepares us for solving a2 + b2= c2, but it doesn’t protect us or prevent us from being submerged in tax debt or credit card debt; you just kind of jump into those things...It kind of feels like prison, like it feels like prison. Horrible food, you got to be in this class, then you got be in here; that’s basically just like being in a jail cell for this amount of hours, then you finally get to go out and have your time on the yard.”
Tae is correct regarding education historically having been the best avenue to prepare for the real world. Our present-day school system, however, is more focused on creating activists than producing students who can read, write, or solve math problems, let alone handle money or understand FICO scores. There are only so many hours in a school day, thus "home economics" was cut from the curriculum long ago.
What Tae fails to realize is that receiving a high school diploma is the most basic move forward. Once a high school diploma is conferred, the possibilities expand to include attending college (which Tae intends to do), going to a trade school, or becoming an entrepreneur. But clearly Tae has not been informed that college is also like prison. There, far from home, a young adult has to follow a schedule, commit to being in class, and be responsible. There, too, the food is horrible and dormitory rooms are cramped like a jail cell. Believing high school is nothing but a prison will not bode well for Tae graduating college.
Other TRiiBE articles are equally intriguing. One is a highly researched article by Lakeidra Chavis and Geoff Hing entitled “The war on gun violence has failed and black men are paying the price,” which draws the conclusion that law enforcement’s zeal to remove illegal guns from the streets has led to inequities of incarceration rates for black men. Additionally, the writers explain, the numbers of guns removed from the streets has not correlated to a drop in gun violence in black communities.
Chavis and Hing are opponents of police stop-and-frisk policies because, even though these policies have proven successful and lead to fewer guns on the streets, they, in turn, cause a distrust of police officers. Chavis and Hing highlight the need of those carrying weapons to feel safe in their communities. Nonetheless, they also pivot to Bertha Purnell, a former nurse who lost her son to gun violence and has since started her own non-profit. Purnell realizes that the issue is not legal gun ownership; instead, it is those with illegal weapons, and she questions how Chicago’s children can afford them. Purnell theorizes that children who come into possession of an illegal weapon receive them from more seasoned criminals.
As Chicago homicide rates increase and clearance rates decrease, there is something amiss in the system. Usually, it comes down to witnesses refusing to come forward over fear for their lives. But the contention that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is spending too much time trying to remove guns off the streets in non-white neighborhoods, where the most gun violence is located, is simply preposterous. The rationale for police presence in any neighborhood should be need based. If Chicago’s South and West sides experience the highest crime and homicide rates, police should maintain a stronger presence in these communities. Accordingly, should a Chicago police officer conduct a stop for a traffic violation and an illegal gun is found, police have every reason to arrest the person with the gun.
Bizarrely, this method of taking weapons off the street is somehow interpreted as unfair. To critics of police and policing strategy, any residents who support CPD cannot possibly understand the mean streets or a need for illegal guns. To CPD’s harshest critics, the attempt by police to remove illegal guns is a “white-supremacist” strategy deliberately created to entrap minorities. Need proof?
Quoted by The TRiiBE, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx remarked:
“The sickness of American gun culture is that we have conditioned everyone to believe that safety comes at the trigger of a gun, and it’s just not true. The culture tells us that everybody needs a gun. There are barriers about who gets a gun, thus, there are disparities in who gets charged with them and who has the privilege to have them.”
Even for Kim Foxx, this is a peculiar contradiction. On one hand, Foxx is stating that we should not end disputes through the barrel of a gun, but on the other hand is complaining about those with the “privilege” to own them. Foxx’s outlandish form of social justice has been to release repeat offenders at the expense of others’ lives and livelihoods. Foxx’s reform measures, which she says enhances public safety, has only fueled an ever-growing craving for guns.
So, here are two articles on The TRiiBE that are singularly focused on the two biggest issues facing Chicago: Education and violence. And regardless who serves as mayor or who is seated on the City Council, these two problems remain intractable.
What will Mayor Brandon Johnson do about poor performance of our students in Chicago’s public schools? Likely nothing. It is far more plausible that Johnson will indulge the Chicago Teachers Union’s every demand — pay and pension increases —while CORE’s Jackson Potter enthusiastically labors for the demise of school choice.
The prison atmosphere of the school that Tae described earlier in The TRiiBE’s piece will become a reality, in that without school choice CPS students will be tethered to their low-performing schools with little chance of escaping. To Chicago’s progressive politicians, the neediest students will be left to fend for themselves. Now, a meritocratic system will be replaced with one in which your race will grant you certain advantages, including watering down curriculum and lowering standards to the bottom tier. Though test scores plummet while graduation rates exceed expectations, CPS remains an enigma. Rather than raising standards and expectations, CPS just compassionately pushes kids through. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has taken over, even in wealthysuburban areas surrounding Chicago.
In suburban Evanston, the task to educate all children equally translates into the notion of segregating students. In a peculiar way to apply DEI, certain class sections of Evanston Township High School’s AP Calculus AB classes were offered based on if students identified as black or Latino.
Once word spread on social media, Evanston Township High School retreated — just a bit. According to Newsweek, both segregated course descriptions were amended by the school. In one amended description, Evanston stated: "While open to all students, this optional section of the course is intended to support students who identify as Black;” and, the other stated, "While open to all students, this optional section of the course is intended to support students who identify as Latinx.” The addition of “while open to all students” is supposed to make segregation palatable.
Evanston Township’s backpedaling begs one question: When did math become part of white supremacy? Furthermore, if there is a need to boost minorities taking AP Calculus who will be receiving different treatment, then this mindset must also be starting in the school years prior to high school. Essentially, Evanston is condescendingly notifying “others” that they will never be able to meet requirements, which is itself a form of racism.
Progressivism is oozing into every facet of life. Education is just one of the cherished institutions progressivism has infiltrated. A second institution progressives have targeted is policing. At its May 10th press conference, the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA) provided an update regarding the application process for the new police superintendent. They received 53 applicants for the position, 32 of whom had previous relationship with the Chicago Police Department. The CCPSA will soon start winnowing this applicant pool down to three top candidates from which Mayor Johnson will choose.
One would believe that the most pressing issue for an incoming police superintendent would be effectiveness in the job. However, within the first minute of the press conference, President Anthony Driver, Jr. listed the diversity of the applicants: 11 female, 42 male, 22 African American, 24 white, and 7 Latino/Hispanic. Hopefully, there is some carry-over. My goodness, what a tour de force if one candidate happens to be a Latino and a female! Checking the right boxes is always a plus when it comes to enforcing laws. After stating that the commission is looking at their transformative role to shape law enforcement, President Driver continued by saying their goal is “find[ing] the superintendent who not only understands the complexities of policing a diverse city like ours but also embodies our shared values of equity, justice, and community center policing.”
Uh, oh. I think we’re stuck on the ride.
In a city that endures hundreds of homicides each year, words like transformative, equity, and justice do not mesh. We already had Kim Foxx transform the Cook County State’s Attorney Office using equity as her guide. That did not work out well. With CPD under the weight of a burdensome Consent Decree, what further transformation is required? Chicago is struggling to attract quality recruits to the police academy, officer morale is at ebb, and Mayor Johnson has convinced himself the promotion of 200 officers to the rank of detective will solve Chicago’s nagging homicide rates.
Perhaps Lakeidra Chavis and Geoff Hing can compose an article explaining how this DEI hiring and transformative policing is going to keep guns out of the South and West sides and end the violence that plagues Chicago.
Be it in schools or in police departments, progressivism is an illusion of utopia like believing in unicorns. Sites like The TRiiBE serve to feed the progressive beasts who lead to our destruction. Fasten your seatbelts, Chicago. It’s going to be a bumpy four years.