“It’s the Chicago way that we’re seeing made visible here that frightens people so much about Obama — the idea that everything can be politicized, no boundaries,” Siegel says.
Corruption within the Chicago government and police department sometimes results in certain neighborhoods going unpatrolled, Siegel says — so enlisting the support of a controversial figure could be far more politically expedient than trying to create real reform. Plus, Farrakhan can probably influence voters in ways that Chick-fil-A can’t.
Regardless, this apparent politicization of law enforcement has left many observers concerned.
“I don’t understand why a Jewish mayor would make nice with this man who has repeatedly uttered insults and taunts towards Jews,” said Steve Stanek, a research fellow at the Heartland Institute and lifelong Chicago-area resident. “But, you know, Jesse Jackson’s done it. He’s still a power in Chicago, too.”
“I’m worried about these political calculations,” he added. “I wonder what he saw that made him think it’s a good idea.”
John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, says that this outside involvement shows the Second City is failing to fulfill one of the basic responsibilities of local government. “Who he’s outsourcing it to is less important than the fact that he feels compelled to outsource public safety because they cannot control crime and the murder rate is rising,” he says.
In all of this, one group of people must feel vindicated: the organizers of the 2016 Olympics, who rejected the president’s bid to host the games in his hometown.
— Betsy Woodruff is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.
Editor’s note: This piece has been amended since its original posting.