Chi Trib ed page: Brandon Johnson’s statement on Loop violence was as revealing as it was lamentable

Gets to the heart of the matter.

“In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is unacceptable and has no place in our city,” Johnson said on social media. “However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”

What a blather.


Johnson’s condemnation of violence felt like an obligatory preamble hoping to ward off criticism. The statement’s real rhetorical energy came only at the end: Johnson and his fledgling transition team apparently saw the weekend violence downtown as a chance to offer a sociological admonishment to those who were frightened.

There’s more of that coming down the pike from this masterful double-talker.

No criticizing the kids, the mayor-elect says, even if you ran hard and fast at the sound of gunshots or decided to check out of your Loop hotel early, eat the bill and take your next spring break in a city other than Chicago.

Mr. Mayor-elect, this is not going to work.

But it’s the man himself. How can he ever change his style, himself, that got him where he is, offering up a supremely biased if not ignorant view of what’s happening.

Trib gets to the “demonizing” business. We’ve heard it for years as the by-now tired and repetitious don’t-argue-with-me putdown. Call it demonizing and your home free in the world he lives in.

Trib tries to explain:

Here’s the other thing, Mr. Johnson. You are not the only messenger, and if Americans start seeing your mayoral statements as progressive propaganda, they’ll stop listening to you or believing what you say.

It’s at best even money he’s up to the challenge. He is the man who when challenged by his recent opponent, accused him of “disrespecting” him. Another way out of listening and responding.



By Jim Bowman

Jim Bowman covered religion 1968-78 for the Chicago Daily News, since then has written books, articles, etc., mostly on corporate history but also on religion (Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968), and more recently on politics (Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters --, Kindle). Longtime Oak Park, Illinois, resident, he lives now on Chicago's North Side, where four of his and Winnie's six children live close by.

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