Daley, Richard: (n) A mayor of Chicago in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. One of the last and toughest of the big-city political “bosses.”
’Tis a tale of the two Richards.
I could probably write an Almanac about it, but I shall keep it brief. Yes, I will make it short, if not sweet.
Richard Daley was the mayor of Chicago who believed in control by intimidation and using strength as a deterrent to protest.
So in 1968, when young people all over America headed to Chicago, Illinois, to make a stand against the Viet Nam War at the Democratic National Convention, Mayor Daley thought it was a good time to stop these punks and hoodlums, making an example of them by using his police force to push them, shove them, and often strike out.
America’s love generation—beaten and bloodied.
The television networks thought it good theater to cover this unfolding with a split screen—half of which broadcast speeches on the floor of the convention, and the other chronicling the struggle between college students and police officers.
It was a frightening, obtuse and mind-altering vision.
Meanwhile, another Richard, Nixon, sat back and watched the fiasco, ran for President and won in the midst of this turmoil over the Viet Nam War, which he promised to end.
Not only did he fail to cease the war, but he brought a level of corruption into the Presidency that had never been seen before, resigning in disgrace.
What would have happened if the one Richard—the Mayor of Chicago—had decided to treat the students as if they were the sons and daughters of America instead of crime bosses?
Would the other Richard–Nixon–have been able to capitalize on his second run at the chief position in the land and win?
A very interesting question. I’m sure it’s one that most people don’t care about anymore.
But since human beings have not come up with a new design for more than a hundred thousand years, it’s safe to assume that this kind of situation will rise again—where we need to be careful not to allow one Dick to make another dick.