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Letters to the Editor

Chicago needs a true leader to follow Emanuel

The city of Chicago has joined 19 other local governments in a legal brief supporting Planned Parenthood's challenge of federal changes to funding requirements. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Sept. 13, 2018 that Chicago joined in a friend-of-the-court brief with a group of cities led by Columbus, Ohio.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday he's confident in the Chicago Police Department’s plan to handle any adverse reaction to the jury verdict in Jason Van Dyke’s murder trial.| Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file photo

The Sun-Times got it right on Wednesday when, in its lead editorial, it asked if anyone can succeed in uniting the City of Chicago, indicating that Rahm Emanuel was not able to do so (“Rahm made tough calls but just couldn’t unite our city. Can anyone?”).

The editorial also got it right when it asked the city’s citizens to end their criticism of Emanuel and to concentrate on the “enormous challenges that lie ahead for Chicago.” But, in assessing the plethora of candidates to replace Emanuel (with more very likely to jump into the fray), it is worth asking just what Emanuel will be remembered for in the future.

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Rahm Emanuel was the ideal mayor to follow all those years of Richard M. Daley precisely because of his drive and his sometimes rough-edged personality. Who else would have the guts to make the tough decisions to keep Chicago from going the way the state of Illinois has under Gov. Bruce Rauner — further toward hell in a hand basket.

Chicago needed to raise taxes. Chicago needed to close 50 or more excess schools. Chicago needed full days of kindergarten for its children. Chicago needed to be a welcoming place for outsiders at the very time that Trump was trying to turn the US against needed outsiders. Chicago needed thoughtful solutions to its unfunded pension crisis. Chicago needed an Eddie Johnson to head up the CPD instead of someone like Garry McCarthy to try to repair the huge gap between a racist-tinged police tradition and minority communities, which were justifiably untrusting of police.

The one thing Chicago did not need was probably why Emanuel is not seeking a third term when he could have won it: It did not need to deep-six the Laquan McDonald videotape. The courts did the right thing in ordering that the tape be released, and Chicago — and Rahm Emanuel — have not been the same since.

Which of the many candidates seeking to succeed Emanuel will be able to combine his drive, his passion, his vision, his courage AND give attention to bringing all Chicagoans together? Rahm Emanuel is leaving very big shoes to fill.  Voters should insist that real democracy returns to Chicago, starting now.

Ed Bryant, Evanston

Waste of time

The president is trying to find out who wrote the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times. What a waste of time. Doesn’t he have any real work to do?

Lauretta Hart, West Ridge

It’s all about him

There is something about our president that needs to be said plainly: Donald Trump does not believe in the American form of democracy based in the rule of law. He believes that the federal government, including the entire Department of Justice, is his to do with as he pleases simply because he was elected president.

He is often described as authoritarian or as a would-be autocrat, but that suggests a sort of philosophy of governing or national organization. Donald Trump has no such system of belief. He is authoritarian by accident. The term “narcissistic personality disorder” has been used frequently to try to encapsulate his behavior. This is the current technical terminology in the most commonly used reference for diagnosing mental disorders. For shorthand, I prefer the older term, “megalomania.” For those of us who are not psychiatrists, it is a good day-to-day word to describe the president’s behavior. As many have said, “It’s all about him.” That’s his only philosophy and the man we accidentally elected as president demonstrates this daily.

As an individual, he warrants our concern and sympathy, and even professional treatment. Because of his mental condition, the world we live in cannot ever satisfy his craving for never-ending attention, admiration, and obedience. Although he achieved the American presidency — with the brightest spotlight and the biggest megaphone in the world — he is still not satisfied because he cannot order this world as he sees fit. And it’s not that he thinks laws should not apply to presidents as they do to all other citizens; it’s that he believes that no restriction, no law, should apply to him.

Barring his removal from office — impeachment and conviction or resignation by his own choice — it is up to the voters to change the makeup of Congress so that it becomes the actual check and balance that the Founding Fathers intended.

Michael Hart, West Ridge