After months of buildup, it's finally over. With 55% of the vote, Rahm Emanuel not only trounced his competitors for Chicago mayor but rejected the need for a run-off vote in March. Whoever expected this to be a close four-way race --cough cough, the local media-- must've been humbled when Gery Chico, Miguel Del Valle, and former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley-Braun combined for 43% of all ballots counted. On the other hand, it's not like people were voting in droves to put Rahm in the mayor's chair; less than half of all registered voters in the city turned out on Election Day. If you think Emanuel bought the election, I'd suggest having a conversation with Michael Bloomberg first.
Mary Mitchell, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times who is notorious for turning every news story into a racial issue, declared the election a death call for the black voting bloc. What she seems to ignore was how weak Carol Moseley-Braun was as a candidate; the "crack addict" remark I mentioned a few weeks ago was only the tip of her malapropism iceberg. Granted, Braun wasn't the only African-American woman on the ballot, but she fumbled whatever momentum she had from the very get-go. CMB was the only other nationally-known name on the ballot and she never used that recognition to her benefit.
As for the future of Chicago, my outsider, suburban hiney will watch with baited breath. Maybe Emanuel will trigger a city renaissance, or maybe he'll do nothing and get spanked in 2015. Either way, we're stuck with the little fella.
+ An old Illinois State buddy of mine works for the CBS affiliate in Madison, WI, and over the weekend I texted him to ask for his take on the fracas up there. He's a libertarian and a social moderate, and chances are he voted for Scott Walker last November, but he shared the setiments that several of us bloggers and editorists have arrived upon: the media is totally playing the conflict wrong. It's easy to say that between the teachers' unions and Gov. Walker, no winners will come out of the protests and partisan hubris, but it's more complicated than that. In the end, the negative publicity will create some Democratic gains in the state senate come 2012, and collective bargaining will be restored while nobody's paying attention. In the long run, nothing will change.
+ A new term has begun at IO, and therefore a new schedule. For the first time in almost two years I'll have Sundays off; I'm taking Improv Level 5 on Saturday afternoons, and a Scenic Improv elective at Second City on Tuesdays. To compensate financially I'm taking a breather from the IO writing program, though I intend to finish that later this year.
+ Finally, I'm so relieved to know that CBS has figured out a way to write out Charlie Sheen from "Two and a Half Men." I don't think there could've been a more fitting ending.