Police Reform in Chicago

Rahm Emanuel
City Hall
121 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Mayor Rahm Emanuel,

As a proudly liberal, Roosevelt Democrat, I have long disliked how the Democratic party has abandoned liberalism to embrace more ‘business’ oriented policies. Your neoconservative Democratic party does not bash unions but it does not protect them either. It establishes healthcare insurance for more or less everyone but not universal healthcare. It has tacitly endorsed torture by not prosecuting the war criminal George W Bush, and directly advocated murder by executing Osama bin Laden (and many others) without trial. I mourned for Chicago when you were elected Mayor, wondering what city services/concessions you would sell off next. As expected, you continued the attack on the Chicago Public Schools, what passes for neocon education policy practically demands it. (because unions are bad) In spite of all of the above, I was pleased and very surprised by your speech on December 9th of this year. There might yet be some hope for you.

You have a problem. Your police department like most police departments in the United States has attitude issues among the rank and file. Every time they go out into a non-white neighborhood, you have the potential for another police killing like the one on December 26th. Do you like those ‘Rahm Failed Us’ sweat shirts the Black Lives Matter activists had printed up? Black people have been murdered by the Chicago police since the city police force was first organized in 1835. They know that there is no way this is going to stop anytime soon. So they have decided to go after you. Like big game hunters, Black Lives Matter – Chicago wants your head for their political trophy wall. You are bringing in the Feds, but that is not going to save you. You fired the chief of police, but I have yet to hear of any American police chief with the courage to enact the reforms that are required. (Wholeheartedly supporting the prosecution of police officers who have murdered those they are supposed to be protecting.) By the time a police officer has the experience to become a chief of police, they have embodied that ‘us against them’ mentality which allows the officer on the beat to believe that he/she has the right to kill.

If you want to politically survive as mayor of Chicago you are going to have to choose to support the people instead of blindly supporting our police force.

Possible Initiatives

  • Police on the beat need to supervised. Perhaps you could have representatives from local neighborhood watch organizations ride with the police on their patrols.
  • Your Independent Police Review Authority oversight board is a joke. You should immediately (apologize to and then) call back Lorenzo Davis, the Independent Police Review Authority Supervising Investigator you fired this past July. (And then back him up 100 percent!)

If you are as serious about police reform as you are about ever again holding political office in the city of Chicago; you are going to have to prove it to all the people of Chicago – not just the white people.

rahm1 rahm2 rahm3 rahm4

We are going to have a baby!

This is the sermon I presented for 20 December 2015 – Fourth Sunday in Advent

The readings for this Sunday follow the sermon.

Listen to this sermon here.

 

Today is the last Sunday in Advent. The candles of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy are lighted today in anticipation.

We are going to have a baby!

We’ve been waiting all month for this blessed event!

The birth of the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ!

In our gospel reading we are reminded that there are two unexpected pregnancies in Mary’s extended family. Mary herself, pregnant before her marriage with Joseph, and Mary’s Aunt Elizabeth with an inexplicably, unexpected late in life pregnancy; which when Mary hears of it, she immediately travels to be with her aunt.

Our gospel reading has both Elizabeth and Mary breaking out in poetic songs of praise as they greet each other. Now I rather doubt that Elizabeth and Mary actually spoke to each other in quite so stilted and formal a way. These songs of praise in the gospel of Luke are intended to convey to us the emotions and feelings of these two women who are each experiencing a miracle. The miracle of new life. I think one of our lessons for today is that every child born is a miracle. Every child changes forever the lives of its parents, and as it grows and develops that child changes the world. Every one of us, is part of this mysterious continuing miracle.

We are born into this world,
and if we lucky enough in time, we become parents ourselves.
For all of us who have been parents, isn’t it strange how we acted as if we had discovered parenting for the first time? Just because it was the first time that we had been the parents.

There is another reason the writer of Luke, includes these marvelous, joyous, and triumphant songs to God to announce the births of John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ. In the gospel of Luke, we are being reminded of another mother who proclaimed her thanks to God for the birth of her son. In the book of First Samuel, Hannah the mother of Samuel, is given just this same sort of marvelous, joyous song of praise as she dedicates her son Samuel to God’s service. Hannah as a mother, is similar to Elizabeth, in that Hannah was considered unable to have children before she conceived Samuel. Samuel in his call to service, is similar to Mary, in how he answered God’s call, obedient to the will of God – just as Mary answers the call to become the mother of Jesus.

Samuel was a prophet, the last of the Judges of Israel. The time of Samuel’s birth was a very bad time for the Jewish people. Samuel was raised by the chief priest of the Israelites, Eli. The first prophecy given to Samuel by the Lord was God’s judgment against Eli’s sons. Eli’s sons had followed their father into the priesthood, but unlike their father; they had become terrible, corrupt priests. The sons of Eli had abused their authority as priests, they did not worship God but lorded over the people, and Eli was unable or unwilling to discipline or control them. When Eli’s sons led the Israelite armies against the Philistines, not only did the Israelites lose the battle, but they also allowed the Philistines to capture the ark of the covenant. The ark of the covenant, the most sacred of relics, the golden box which contained the broken stone tablets upon which God himself had inscribed the ten commandments. When Eli heard the news that his sons had been killed, and the ark of the covenant had been lost, he fell to the ground and died. Samuel become the leader of the Israelites even as his adopted father and mentor Eli died. Samuel led the people of Israel to a great military victory over the Philistines. But the people of Israel were not content, even after the invaders had been driven out of their land. They wanted Samuel to establish kings to rule their country. So Samuel reluctantly anointed Saul as king over them.

Just as in Samuel’s time, the Palestine in which Mary and Elizabeth lived was under the foreign rule and occupation of the Roman empire. The author of Luke is making a point with this comparison between Jesus and Samuel. That Samuel had set free the Israelite people from foreign domination but he could not free them from their own worldly desires. The Israelites wanted to be like the nations around them; they did not appreciate that they were a people set apart by God, that they could be governed differently. If the Philistines and the Amorites are ruled by kings, then that is what the people of Israel wanted for themselves. Samuel established an Israelite kingdom. But like all earthly kingdoms, the kings of the Jewish people caused them as many hardships as any foreign invasion.

With these comparisons with the past, the author of Luke is describing the birth of a new king, a different kind of king and a different kind of kingdom.
This new king, heralded by angels, is not born to rule according to the human customs of this world. The kingdom of Christ Jesus exists everywhere we follow the word and spirit of God our Father and Creator.
When we care for each other.
When we share what we have.
When we recognize Jesus in each other.
When we love each other as Jesus loves every one of us.

This week, as we make our final preparations, in joyous anticipation for the birth of our Lord.
Let us also praise the Lord our God in joyous celebration like Elizabeth, Hannah, and Mary.

Every child is a miracle, created as a child of God, let us make the advent of all children be as anticipated and joyous.

 

Micah 5:2-5a

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.

Hebrews 10:5-10

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’
(in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”
When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Luke 1:39-45(46-55)

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
[And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”]

Fisher v University of Texas

Chief Justice, John Roberts, Jr.
The Supreme Court of the United States
One First Street N.E.
Washington, DC 20543

Chief Justice Roberts,

I had the misfortune this week to read the text of the oral arguments presented to your court for ABIGAIL NOEL FISHER, v. UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS – from Wednesday December 9th 2015.

You may remember me. I’ve written to you before.

One of your comments in these oral arguments, struck me as most instructive about why we need more diversity in classrooms in our United States. ( page 55 of the transcript. )

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: What ­­ — what unique — what unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?

Please compare with another quotation of yours from an opinion article you wrote at the age of 17 (1972) for your high school paper about admitting girls to the then all-male La Lumiere School, in La Porte, Indiana.

I tend to think that the presence of the opposite sex in the classroom will be confining rather than catholicizing,” he wrote. “I would prefer to discuss Shakespeare’s double entendre and the latus rectum of conic sections without a [b]londe giggling and blushing behind me.

Your seventeen year old self knew that his literature and geometry classes would be very different learning environments if the unique perspectives of female students were introduced into his classes.  It is however, very unfortunate how in the conservative mind the fear of change itself can defile the reasoning ability of even the most brilliant of students.

What could you have accomplished if you had had the benefit of these different perspectives?
What could you have accomplished without your fear of those who are different?

Instead of your establishing the legal precedents for the Corporate Feudal State which will reduce most of the people of the United States to serfdom; you might have expanded civil liberties in our United States. You might have become a great public defender, a great prosecutor, or even a great legislator.

It is my hope that as our chief ‘Justice’ you may some day bring justice to the people of our United States.

Respectfully yours,

fisher1 fisher2 fisher3