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The New McCarthyism, Deep-Dish Chicago Style

“Let’s see if we can make the connection here: slavery, segregation, black codes, Jim Crow, what do they all have in common? Anybody getting scared?"

by
Jack Dunphy

Bio

June 29, 2011 - 12:00 am
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Police officers are accustomed to a certain amount of foolishness in their upper ranks. It is the foolishness that often accompanies politics, and every cop knows that if he aspires to achieve high rank in his department, he must be prepared to ladle it out with the casual alacrity of a man spreading fertilizer on his prized front lawn. The fertilizer motif may seem especially apt given what follows.

The new superintendent of the Chicago Police Department is Garry McCarthy, who, in a 22-year career with the NYPD, rose to the rank of deputy commissioner before moving across the Hudson River in 2006 to head the police department in Newark. One does not attain these positions without a highly refined ability to speak the language of big-city politics, and indeed Chicago magazine tells us that McCarthy, while rising through the ranks in New York, studied at the feet of William Bratton, the unrivaled master at straddling the worlds of law enforcement and politics, who served as the top cop in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles.

Bratton, as he hopped from job to job, was something of a political chameleon, coming off as a tough-talking, no-nonsense bantamweight bruiser while serving under Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani in New York, then morphing into a standard-issue liberal under Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He even went so far as to endorse Barrack Obama for president in 2008, thus becoming one of the few cops in America willing both to vote for Obama and publicly admit doing so.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, formerly President Obama’s head fixer, selected McCarthy for the superintendent’s post, revealing a faith in him to toe the Democrat Party line as it is practiced, in its purest form, in the city of Chicago.  And indeed, in an appearance at Saint Sabina Church earlier this month, McCarthy did not disappoint. For pure political pandering, for a display of the most barefaced, shameless groveling, McCarthy may have set the bar so high that not even someone as adept at the craft as William Bratton would dare try to surpass it.

McCarthy took the microphone from Saint Sabina’s pastor, Father Michael Pfleger, and went on a diatribe about guns and the government’s failure to keep them out of the hands of those who use them with such alarming frequency and effect in Chicago and elsewhere.

“You know,” McCarthy said, “I’m going to take a risk here, and I’m going to give you something. And this is definitely the right audience.”

This was the cue that varsity-level pandering was about to take place. And indeed it was the right audience. Recall that Father Michael Pfleger is a proud friend and vigorous defender of Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan, so it’s safe to say the congregation is inured to outrages from the pulpit.

“This is sensitive,” McCarthy said, “because everybody’s afraid of race. Have you noticed that? Everybody’s afraid of race. I’m not afraid of race.”

Yes! Afraid! But not you! Teach us, Mr. McCarthy, so that we too may lose our fear!

“Let’s see if we can make the connection here,” he continued. “Slavery, segregation, black codes, Jim Crow, what do they all have in common? Anybody getting scared?

Scared? Us? Yes, yes, but exquisitely so!

“Government sponsored racism.”

Applause, applause! Yes, yes, yes! We mustn’t blame the young men who pull the triggers on all those guns! They’re victims too! Victims of a government indifferent to — no, responsible for! — our suffering.

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