Politicians from Illinois can be some of the most nonsensical in the nation.
Alderman Joe Moore once famously sponsored legislation to ban foie gras, being mocked and derided until the bizarre law was thankfully repealed.
Now comes two extremist empty-headed Chicago politicians who make Joe Moore look like a normal person.
Chicago’s Two Stooges
First is Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel entered the Chick-fil-A saga—and into lunkhead infamy—by saying that “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.”
Elaborating, Emanuel explained, “What the CEO has said as it relates to gay marriage and gay couples is not what I believe, but more importantly, it’s not what the people of Chicago believe. We just passed legislation as it relates to civil union and my goal and my hope … is that we now move on recognizing gay marriage. I do not believe that the CEO’s comments … reflects who we are as a city. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”
Emanuel’s reference was to Chick-fil-A CEO president Dan Cathy’s defense of traditional marriage and anti-gay marriage stance.
That’s funny. Apparently, Rahm’s values are not Chicago values either. Looks like Emanuel is a bad investment too.
Anyway, despite having had the best public education money could buy, Emanuel apparently flunked math. A 2010 Chicago Tribune poll showed 42% of Chicago-area residents support gay marriage while 42% opposed it.
In other words, dead even.
Looks to me like Chick-fil-A values are at least half Chicago’s values, Rahm.
Then there’s Alderman Joe Moreno.
Like the enlightened mayor, Moreno said he refuses to allow Chick-fil-A to build a new restaurant in his ward because of Cathy’s anti-gay marriage viewpoint.
David Smith of Illinois Family Institute, a conservative Christian organization, said Moreno’s actions were “hypocritical.”
“Here’s the alderman turning around and being intolerant and discriminatory because somebody has a different view than he does. Would he do that to a Muslim company?”
Moreno angrily responded with an unwittingly self-indicting reply.
“It’s not about someone having a different view than you,” Moreno said. “That’s not what it’s about. What it’s about is discriminating against individuals in our society. Okay?”
Okay, Moreno, but that’s what you’re doing too: discriminating against individuals in our society—namely Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy.
Moreno revealed more stupidity with this nugget of wisdom: “This is a restaurant whose CEO has practices that are anti-against the rights of individuals that live in my ward and I’m not gonna stand on the sidelines and allow that to happen.”
Newsflash, Joe: neither the restaurant nor its CEO has any discriminatory “practices”. As a matter of fact, the Chicago Chick-fil-A has gay employees. And it serves gay customers.
Cathy has a personal viewpoint. That’s, um, not the same as a restaurant practice of discrimination.
But wait, there’s more. And this one’s a doozy.
Breaking the law
Apparently, Chicago does not have the patent on political stupidity.
Boston’s mayor preceded Chicago’s by saying he didn’t want Chick-fil-A opening up a restaurant there.
Then Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenney followed Chicago alderman Moreno by saying “as…an elected member of [sic] Philadelphia City Council, …There is no place for this type of hate in our great City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”
Here’s where it gets funny.
Emanuel, Moreno, Kenny and all others like them emphasized that as elected officials, they are going to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening up restaurants based solely on an executive’s personal beliefs.
There’s a word for that kind of political action: unconstitutional.
So not only do these people not have logic, but they don’t know the law either.
In fact, liberals are—ironically—coming to Chick-fil-A’s defense against this onslaught of stupidity and ignorance.
The Chicago Tribune‘s Steve Chapman, who agrees with gay marriage, disagreed with Moreno. Calling Moreno seemingly “ignorant”, Chapman said the First Amendment “forbids the government from ‘abridging the freedom of speech.’”
“It’s as black-and-white a case of illegal censorship as anyone could find,” Chapman continued. “And if the company wants to challenge Moreno’s decision in court, he wouldn’t stand a chance.”
Glenn Greewald of Salon, a gay marriage supporter, said, “Free speech rights means that government officials are barred from creating lists of approved and disapproved political ideas and then using the power of the state to enforce those preferences.”
Kevin Drum of the blog Mother Jones said, “[T]here’s really no excuse for Emanuel’s and Menino’s (sic) actions. If you don’t want to eat at Chick-fil-A, don’t eat there. If you want to picket them, go ahead. If they violate the law, go after them. But you don’t hand out business licenses based on whether you agree with the political views of the executives. Not in America, anyway.”
Eugene Volokh of the blog The Volokh Conspiracy said, “[D]enying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation.”
As Time magazine blogger Michael Scherer points out, Emanuel, Moreno and others have run into an illegal “First Amendment Buzzsaw.”
I find it funny that this saga has united conservatives and liberals, as both come to Chick-fil-A’s defense. In fact, Boston’s mayor Menino has backtracked from some of his statements, chalking it up to a Menino-ism.
That doesn’t excuse the obvious stupidity, ignorance and hypocrisy of Emanuel, Moreno and others. But it’s refreshing to see it spotlighted by so many.
Chick-fil-A 1, Stupidity 0