The father of the current Democratic mayor of Chicago was an ass-kicking
Irishman. A traditional, old school Democrat who had a lot of flaws, chief
among them was his dislike (some would say hate) of black people whom he
stashed away in Towers of misery called the Robert Taylor homes along the
Dan Ryan expressway. Those towers have thankfully been torn down and "da
mare" is dead 30 years ago this year, but his impact on the Democratic party
is etched in history, for he was the head of the Party Machine that pushed
JFK over the top in the election of 1960 and who was also known for his
"shoot first, ask questions later" orders (did we have "policy" back then?)
for his police chief during the 1968 Democratic National convention held in
Chicago. I was 7.
I remember the tension in my Lake Shore Drive Jewish liberal family. Well,
my mother hated Nixon, anyway. I loved the Flintstones but we were, I
recall, afraid of "the hippies" who meant to shower us with drugs, flowers
and weirdness, gimme a brontosaurus burger to go. My parents were listening
to WAIT-AM, and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra played the monotonous tunes I
remember coming out of the radio of my mother's new blue 1968 Chevy Impala
convertible. Sticky vinyl seats that stung my thighs in the heat. A
long-time Democratic family, friends I was told with Congressman Sid Yates.
Democrats and Jews who'd helped win the war against the Japanese and Nazis.
Who'd not take guff from anybody. Even and especially my grampa Milt. Or his
brother Jack. Or Willie. Men and wisdom that knew where it stood, was right,
and didn't give a damn what anybody thought because they were able to tell
it like it was. For the benefit of everybody. And they'd killed for it.
But aside from cracking some skulls, Mare Daley is known now for his head
cracking attitude toward politics and his opponents. He took no prisoners.
He knew how to win. In 1960, Democrats like us didn't have to worry about
where we were going to get our next candidate from, but little did we know,
we peons know that Jack Kennedy was the last we were going to hear from the
Democratic Party on foreign relations for a very long time. Jimmy Carter
doesn't qualify though he did, for a time, bring the South back into the
fold, at least for one election, but he was too busy trying to look pious to
really do anything fully or correctly. The Iranians toyed with him until the
day he handed the keys of the White House over to Ronald Reagan who then
proceeded to bankrupt the Soviet Union into the dustbin of history but not
without some cricks in the reasoning, helping "freedom fighters" via the
Iranians - who's selling what to whom?
So it was with a bit of disgust that I answered the phone last night - the
Caller ID said it was coming from the 707 area - Sonoma County - but it was
a call from a script reader who claimed to be from the Democratic National
Committee seeking money. What balls! What pussies! They of Howard Dean? The
current DNC is an embarrassment to progressive liberals without the backbone
to do anything even in light of an utterly incompetent incumbent
administration and Congress which has seen its own party membership revolt
over whether or not to officially undertake torture (oops, "aggressive
interrogation tactics") as a means of interrogating terror detainees -- the
disappeared. Kick HIS ass! Howard Dean indeed. Oh the sweet strains of
Nelson Riddle floating past my too-young ears.
Not to go against the grain, me, but it's all a bit of a mystery. Why do we
have to discuss this? There's no question but that if the situation warrants
it, they can beat whatever they want out of who ever they want. So why the
push? Beat and ask questions later. Like Daley woulda. But why the push?
It's political. Bush and the rest have to look like they are ass kickers.
And they have to drill it into the brains of the public before they forget
that there are terrorists out there. But not to worry since the National
Intelligence Assessments just released say that the war in Iraq is creating
more terrorists than it is killing. Which if you are a Bushy, is great,
because you have a built-in excuse to keep our troops over there? They say
that it's impossible to create life, but the Bushys have done the
impossible: created a self-perpetuating organism. And almost 3000 Americans
are dead. I'm sure that there are a lot of parents around this country who
are disgusted with the invention. Well, who believes him now about anything?
What would Da Mare do?
Why do I need to understand this? Disappeared, those times. Memories, all of
them. But still very real, the politics of memory that shapes the past and
informs the future. Mission Accomplished? Howard Dean? We need to and can do
better. We have to. It can't be allowed to be "Mission Accomplished".