Most of us who watch these things figured Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot couldn’t be any more ineffectual than the Windy City’s last mayor, Rahm Emanuel.
So far, no such luck.
Mind you, there have been plenty of cities experiencing an uptick in violence in the last few weeks — although Chicago could ill afford it, given the fact it’s not exactly known as the Midwest’s capital of tranquility. WMAQ-TV reported that in June, shootings in the city were up by 75 percent and murders by 78 percent compared to the same period last year.
Chicago has received special attention in the national media due to the fact that children have been among the victims. Of the 17 people killed by gunshots over the July 4 weekend, two of them were children.
“The youngest person killed over the weekend was 7-year-old Natalia Wallace, of Chatham. She was shot in the head around 7 p.m. Saturday in the South Austin neighborhood while outside at a family gathering,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
“A 14-year-old boy was also shot and killed later in the night in Englewood along with three others who have not yet been identified after four men started shooting at a large gathering, according to Chicago police. Four others were injured in the mass shooting, including an 11-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy.”
I know mayors and other government officials are often asked to walk and chew gum at the same time, which means they have to attend to other issues even with serious ongoing problems.
That said, if a certain event held by Lightfoot this week — the unveiling of the “Census Cowboy” — counts as an efficient use of time in your universe, given the exigencies Chicago finds itself in, please drop me a line because I’m legitimately confused how this didn’t get canceled:
Giddy up, Chicago. I’m calling on the Census Cowboy to help improve our Census response rates across Chicago. Make the Census Cowboy proud by filling out the Census today at https://t.co/tt2S9ojTmW. pic.twitter.com/eT2e6V74uk
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 13, 2020
Anyhow, given the fact the Trump administration has placed a great emphasis on law and order, it’s unsurprising the White House has taken issue with Chicago’s recent violence problems.
This didn’t seem to be just idle talk, either, as rumors abound that the administration will take federal action to stem violence in cities which have seen a dramatic rise in violent crime.
If Lightfoot was unmoved by the president, however, his press secretary certainly seems to have struck a nerve.
Answering a question at Thursday’s media briefing regarding the rates at which black individuals are killed during police encounters, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the real issue ought to be “that black men and women who die of homicide, they’re likely to die of homicide at eight times greater than that of white individuals and Hispanics combined.”
“I’ve listed for you the names of these kids who have died across this country,” she said. “It is unacceptable, and under this president, he’ll take action. And the derelict mayor of Chicago should step up and ask for federal help because she’s doing a very poor job at securing her streets.”
WATCH: Press Sec. Kayleigh McEnany blasts Chicago Mayor Lightfoot: “She’s doing a very poor job of securing her streets.” pic.twitter.com/qyxF7BiMsA
— The Hill (@thehill) July 17, 2020
Mayor Lightfoot quickly reached for the insult of the moment:
Hey, Karen. Watch your mouth. pic.twitter.com/zhjRyokKD5
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 16, 2020
“Hey, Karen. Watch your mouth,” she tweeted.
Consider the mic duly dropped. Asked about the tweet by reporters on Friday, Lightfoot called the remark “pretty straightforward.”
WMAQ also reported she claimed “some in the Trump administration think they can score political points by trying to demonize Democratic mayors, particularly women mayors.”
“They think that they’re going to take us on, and make us look bad because that’ll score points with their base,” Lightfoot said.
By his absence in the reports coming out of Chicago, I can only assume the Census Cowboy declined comment.
Lightfoot would do well to spare us all the talk about scoring political points and rallying the base; this is the job of the modern politician in every democracy, and it’s particularly rich for Lightfoot to pretend she’s the Cincinnatus of Chicago at the same time she wallpapers over her city’s runaway violence by deflecting onto a “Karen” in the Trump administration.
Furthermore, Bill de Blasio’s Twitter profile lists his preferred pronouns are “he/him/his.” I mention this because the New York City mayor has attracted far more attention from the president over the sudden uptick in violence than either Lightfoot or the other distaff Democratic mayor with a serious problem regarding unrest on her hands, Atlanta’s Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Thus, one might safely conclude the lack of a Y chromosome isn’t factoring into the Trump administration’s criticism — but thanks for the effort, and way to make your point by attacking another woman.
Finally, WMAQ defined Karen as a “stereotypical name associated with rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle aged white women.” This is mostly accurate (Karens aren’t just white anymore, it’s worth noting, and McEnany is 32), but hardly exhaustive.
Notably absent is the defining feature of the Karen: their natural desire to insert themselves into personal decisions of others which are of no consequence to society at large, while vehemently insisting those decisions are directly harming them and others (and usually while recording the encounter with their iPhone SE).
If you’ve taken off your mask in the parking lot at Lowe’s and you’re suddenly confronted with a screeching woman accusing you of killing her 70-year-old mother because your face isn’t covered, you’ve met yourself a Karen.
Do you have a slight paunch and decided to order a hamburger instead of a salad at the diner? Karen will be at the table next to you making passive-aggressive remarks about your weight and how it affects her health insurance premiums in a voice just loud enough for you to hear.
Do you let your kid play in your front yard without supervision? There’s a Karen for that — and rest assured, she’s already called Child Protective Services. Twice
A “rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle aged white woman” is basically just a Hollywood actress with a Twitter account. To make the leap to a Karen, that obnoxiousness has to be a) very public and b) very low stakes.
On the same day Lightfoot called her McEnany/Karen diss “pretty straightforward,” this was tweeted by Chicago police spokesman Tom Ahern:
UPDATE: Two adults one 5 month old sustained gun shot wounds. Adults transported to Northwester Hospital. Child to Lurie Childrens. Chief Eric Carter will address media shortly.
— Tom Ahern (@TomAhernCPD) July 17, 2020
You can agree with every other implied insult dished out by Lori Lightfoot toward Kayleigh McEnany when she called the White House press secretary a “Karen.”
However, if this is what passes as low stakes for the Chicago mayor — along with every other dispiriting statistic involving gun violence in her city that’s accumulated in recent months — Chicago has problems neither federal intervention nor the Census Cowboy are going to solve.
Either way, “Karen” certainly shouldn’t be the tag Lightfoot is throwing around unless she wants to admit she’s not taking Chicago’s gun violence problem very seriously.
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