Political hijinks – Do as I say, not as I do, or else

This last Saturday, Father Michael Pfleger, the Roman Catholic pastor of St. Sabin’s Catholic Parish on Chicago’s South Side, led a demonstration blocking off the Dan Ryan Expressway. He was protesting the gun violence in the community.

This priest has been a political activist, using his pulpit to preach his political agenda for many years now. As the Chicago archdiocese has remained mostly silent or supportive during his periodic escapades including this most recent incident one must wonder what hold he has on them.

This march was illegal from the start. The entire mission was to block traffic on one of our city’s major thoroughfares by walking out on the highway and creating a human line across the roadway. It was clear he and his followers didn’t care about the immediate impact this would have on our city.

The Dan Ryan Expressway is notorious as one of the most congested roads in the country. It is a major trucking route in and outbound. People traveling to work downtown from the southern suburbs need this route. Emergency medical services regularly use the route to reach several of the city’s major hospitals located near the center of the city.

Traffic from the highway had to be rerouted to parallel surface streets that were never intended to handle the volume from the expressway. Granted a Saturday was selected, and most vehicles had advanced warning. Still, today businesses operate day in and out all week long. Medical emergencies don’t schedule according to your convenience.

With all the prior notification, the fact remains; it was still obstructing traffic and a violation of city and state laws.

So, consider this, we have an act of civil and criminal disobedience and rather than stand up and say “No, you won’t be allowed to break the law,” our city, state, religious, and law enforcement leaders not only gave it their blessing but is some cases they marched hand in hand with Fr. Pfleger.

Our leaders condoned this unlawful activity. You might wonder why. In the case of our mayor, he is running for reelection and wants the African American vote. Fr. Pfleger is a white man but his followers are primarily black. Our Governor is running for reelection and he doesn’t want to alienate any group. Our religious leadership sat by silently supporting the illegal demonstration, (what does he have on the church that would make them sit by like this?)

This is Chicago, and we are used to this kind of political hijinks. The thing that I see upsetting to the rank and file of both active and retired police officers is the photo of CPD superintendent marching arm in arm with Fr. Pfleger in the illegal demonstration.

By joining in the march, the superintendent legitimized the illegal activity by breaking the law along with all the demonstrators. All these so-called leaders legitimized this lawlessness for political gain (still not sure why the church supported him).

The superintendent did it because the mayor told him to march and he has shown he is there simply to deflect heat from the mayor and not lead the police force.

political hijinks

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson marching arm in arm with Father Michael Pfleger in the illegal demonstration. (Screenshot CST news broadcast)

Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s action was more than unlawful it was a betrayal of all the good members of the police department and the law-abiding citizens of the city. The citizens rely upon him to prevent or stop lawbreakers and the police look to the superintendent to lead the way.

If a young police officer were to break a rule or violate a law the superintendent may be the person to determine the punishment. Who is going to determine Eddie Johnson’s punishment in this case? What message does this send to the rank and file? What motivation does this give to go out and risk your life enforcing the law?

Fr. Pfleger’s message was clear. It’s okay to break the law to get what you want, regardless of how it might hurt someone else. Is that the message the Catholic Church is now teaching?

I’m afraid Supt. Eddie Johnson is wearing out his usefulness for the mayor. It won’t be long before he can no longer deflect heat away from the mayor and will be told to either retire for health reasons or be fired. Then the search will be on for a new superintendent. That should help the mayor out through the election.

Chicago will have to change its motto from “The city that works” to “Do as I say not as I do.” Is it any wonder the city and the state are losing citizens?

As always, I welcome your comments.

Stay safe everyone, run low and zigzag.

– Lt. Robert Weisskopf (ret.)