Skip to content

Chicago politics and the education of the underdog

hqdefaultI’m one that’s always been for the underdog. I’ve eschewed personal wealth opportunities to side with those most in need, choosing to utilize my class privilege and access to fight for the ideals of what’s right and what’s fair for the greatest amount of people, instead of scurrying to the top of the hill where others from my background feel they rightfully belong. Now, I must admit that, being a Pisces with a sometimes extremely short attention span, who was also spoiled at an early age, didn’t vibe well with the fact that I actually was good at most things that I tried. It hampered my work ethic and led me to believe that things would always come easy for me. My solidly middle class background, coupled with family given self-worth, absolutely no need to prove myself to anyone, and an interesting ability to hole up just about anywhere, meant that the accumulation of things and creature comforts meant very little to me. I’d rock the same jeans, gym shoes and T-shirt wherever I went, whether I was running errands, working to a close a deal, or wooing the woman of my dreams, because, you know, I was a rebel for the cause and I’m just so cold (i.e., great). My excellence just shines on its own, doesn’t it? What more could you ask for?

Well, as I approach my 39th birthday, I’ve learned that regardless of your innate abilities, you are what you do and if you do something long enough, or don’t do something long enough, it will eventually become an embedded habit that feels almost impossible to turn around. Your body’s chemical makeup will be impacted by what you put in it and the environments you put yourself in, and your ability to shrug off negative input grows weaker and weaker the older you get. Suffice to say, I’ve learned a ton in this lifetime and, lucky for me, I’m still young enough to apply what I’ve learned so that the second half of my life builds upon all the knowledge that I’ve gained in the first.

And while I constantly find myself in a state of self-reflection, this particular round of inner searching comes at a time when I’m grappling with how I would like to approach this mayoral run-off as both a private citizen, community advocate, and a hip-hop generation entrepreneur. The truth of the matter is that we live in some extremely rough times, and the poverty and lack of access that many of our community members feel pales in comparison, by far, to what poverty looks and feels like to the rest of the world. Even still, as a person who likes to get his but finds extreme joy in sharing, it boggles my mind to understand why the world economy operates as if it’s trying to squeeze the very life out of the people and the planet that we exist in, all for what we know will be a short-term high followed by an extremely long term and disastrous fall.

Our adoption of the a capitalist mindset, complete with the survival of the fittest mentality, simply doesn’t align with the laws of creation, as I see it anyway. Yeah, lions kill what they eat, but they typically only kill about 15 times a year. The rest of the time they scavenge, and live off the nourishment provided by what amounts to about 1.25 kills a month. In a capitalist economy though, the lions of the world are working to get 1.25 kills per second, and if they reach that goal today, tomorrow they’ll be trying to get 1.3. It’s not hard to imagine how we got to be one of the most overweight countries in the world, because everything in our culture tells us to consume, and to consume more, and to consume more, and to consume even more. Luckily, with our physical selves, our bodies force us to push out everything that’s gained in overconsumption, but if we don’t do that consistently and quickly enough, we die. Overstuffing the body produces toxins that eventually lead to death. Plain and simple. It’s just the natural order of things.

Now, apply that same logic, because universal law is the same no matter where you go in existence, to where we find ourselves in cities, states, townships, and countries all over the world. And in this case, we’re talking about Chicago. The rich are now uber rich and the poor, when it comes to being able to consume at the rate that they world tells them to, they find themselves being uber poor, and unable to keep up with Combs(es) no matter how much they try. Naturally, people eventually get fed up with not being able to attain the things that they’ve been told that they should and , ever so often, they rebel against the system with a hope of spreading the wealth so that everyone can ride in a luxury automobile every once in awhile. Cause, as we already know, most of us have an appetite for largesse, we just get frustrated when we have to watch a very small minority have all the fun.

Hard work is something that no one wants to do, and almost everybody is trying to scam the system. Investment bankers seem to be the best at this, and they’ve acquired so much wealth and power that they’ve been to rewrite the laws of government to make what everyone knows to be unfair fair as far as the law is concerned. Corporations have followed suit, and unions have done the same, and now we find ourselves in a debacle where municipalities are in debt to the people that make government work with absolutely no way to pay it back. That is…unless everybody agrees to sing a new tune. And I don’t really mean sing. I really mean live … based on values and principles that affirm life … not just for the here and now but for the evermore.

You see, we can solve the problems of the world if the uber rich stopped gouging everyone else to increase their personal gains, and if people with means, meaning sound mind and body, learned how to appreciate hard work and the modest returns that come along with it simply as the natural order of things. Put another way, if you can’t learn to live off what you’re able to produce from the land, meaning that you either consume what you have the ability to produce or engage in fair trade for the things that you want, then you just can’t live. Nobody owes us anything. But nobody is entitled to a million times their fair share either.

It’s unseasonably cold in Miami right now because we continue to live in ways that the natural order of things just won’t allow. Must we wait til all of Florida is underwater before we do something different, or are we wise enough to collectively change our habits so that we all can enjoy everything that this life has to offer us?

I wonder.

And so…Chicago is presented with Chuy Garcia or Rahm Emanuel for Mayor. I’ma keep grappling on which one would be better for the city. Help me out if you can. Which one do you think will do better by Chicagoans?