Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has a long list of enemies. Near the top is the Chicago Teachers Union, with which he’s feuded for his entire tenure as mayor. This past Friday, the union staged a one-day strike, closing schools across the city in order to draw attention to their latest round of negotiations with the city, which wants the teachers to accept cuts to pay, staffing, and budgets.
Emanuel, who has barely survived the backlash stemming from what most Chicagoans see as his office’s attempt to cover up the police murder of Laquan McDonald, was intimately involved in the most recent strike. Because schools across Chicago were forced to close, the city opened more than 100 “contingency sites” to care for children who couldn’t stay at home. Emanuel showed up at one location, according to the Chicago Tribune, telling attendant press, “I don’t think the kids should pay the price for a political message.”
But the many pressing issues facing the Windy City didn’t stop Emanuel from immediately jetting off to take in the best the Big Apple has to offer: “Hamilton,” the smash-hit Broadway musical. Above is a photo, taken by PhD student Brenden Beck, of Emanuel at Saturday’s 8 p.m. showing of the play that is changing lives.
According to the Chicago mayor’s press office, his public schedule did not reflect this trip to New York (which is not unusual for Emanuel—the Chicago Reader has previously had to file freedom of information requests for the mayor’s actual, internal schedule). Emanuel’s office refused to confirm on the record that he was even in New York on Saturday, or why, but they did not deny that he attended that night’s performance of “Hamilton.”
Given that “Hamilton” has been acclaimed by good liberals everywhere, you have to imagine Emanuel enjoyed the performance. And perhaps he even could relate to the inspiring story of a politician who did not betray his morals, despite agonizing over how he will be remembered by history. Rahm Emanuel, who is probably the least-liked Chicago mayor in modern history, is, no matter the consequences, determined to be true to himself: an amoral corporatist stooge.