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Put aside pettiness, Mayor Lightfoot

By Ray Hanania

March 27, 2020

Lori Lightfoot wasn’t my first choice for Chicago mayor. But when she won the election, I cheered with everyone else.

I didn’t care that she is gay, African American or a woman. Those are irrelevant. Lightfoot presented herself as compassionate.

Lightfoot probably won not because she had detailed solutions to Chicago’s problems, which are also the problems of every community in Cook County. What happens in Chicago happens in the suburbs–and when Chicago needs money, it’s usually taken from the back pockets of suburban taxpayers.

She won because her daughter did a very cute dance during one of her commercials.

I thought, brilliant.

That’s what I get when I let my guard down, believing people genuinely care about society’s needs over themselves.

Right away, Lightfoot began a political campaign attacking President Trump. Usually, politicians embrace “attack strategies” because they want to distract their constituents from their own failings, and Lightfoot has a lot.

Chicago has failed to address the coronavirus pandemic effectively. The majority of coronavirus-related cases, 73 percent, are coming from Cook County, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. So maybe Lightfoot didn’t act fast enough? No one separates Chicago from the suburbs, but I’ll bet most cases are in Chicago -if it doesn’t matter, why release the data?

I have watched press conferences Lightfoot has had with Governor JB Pritzker, a guy who is so wealthy the pain of everyday life escapes him (which is why he didn’t flinch when he dramatically raised taxes on services across the board). They have both attacked and blamed President Trump.

That’s the problem with ideologues and extreme liberals. They can’t focus on real need and must take potshots against their rivals.

This week, Lightfoot tweeted this in response to President Trump (No one calls her the “Twitter-in-Chief” like they do Trump, but they should.)

“COVID-19 is not the ‘Chinese virus.’ It is a worldwide pandemic. My administration stands with the Asian community in rejecting these falsehoods and racism. Chicago’s response to this pandemic will be determined by science and compassion, not fear and bigotry.”

The fact is it is wrong to call it the “Chinese Disease.” But who began calling it that? Trump? No. It was CNN, MSNBC and the mainstream news media.

The disease began in Wuhan, where Chinese officials tried to hide its discovery. In fact, the first cases of COVID-19 was identified in two Americans who entered Washington State after visiting Wuhan. One of them, a 50-year-old man, was the first to die in America, on Feb. 29.

The new coronavirus was first discovered on Dec. 9, 2019, nearly three months before, where it was kept a secret until China was forced to notify the world.

Why don’t we call COVID-19 the Chinese Government Disease? They deserve the jacket.

Lightfoot won’t talk about that because criticizing China doesn’t score political points the way bashing Trump does. Honesty, like admitting you are helpless to do anything to stop the virus, certainly won’t distract Chicago’s residents from your own failings.

What has Lightfoot done as mayor? She doesn’t want to talk about that and has denied repeated requests for interviews – that’s liberals for you, always demanding freedom of information, except when they are in control. Who cares, when you can hide behind the coronavirus, a great cover for their failings?

Lightfoot is no different than most Chicago Machine mayors. Their interests come first. Yours get buried in hot-button phrases like: LGBTQ, Immigration (an unresolved problem for more than 25 years, including under Saint Obama); or, racism and gender bias.

Hey Mayor Lightfoot, your red-light cameras suck. Chicago cut the amber light from 3 to 2 seconds intentionally to nail motorists with outrageous fines. Ironically, it was Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza who took decisive action in January refusing to collect money on behalf of municipalities that have the cameras. Maybe Mendoza should have been mayor, after all?

Stop the politics, Mayor Lightfoot, and start being a leader. Your petty attacks make you look terrible, though I know it is difficult to do all the things you promised and probably can’t.

We need leaders who come together for our interests, not those who use tragedy as a soapbox to disguise their own failed politics by bashing their political rivals.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning syndicated columnist who covered Chicago City Hall for nearly two decades “from Daley to Daley.” Read more of his columns and download his podcasts by visiting Hanania.com. Email him at [email protected])

Ray Hanania’s column is just a fraction of the content that appears in this week’s print edition of the Greater Southwest News-Herald. Want to get the all the news? Pick up the Greater Southwest News-Herald on local newsstands for just 75 cents a copy. For greater savings and convenience, call (708) 496-0265 during weekday business hours and order a subscription by mail, delivered each week to your home or business.

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