In fall 2008 it was difficult to watch the tee-vee or slide down the Inter-Tubes without encountering phrases like "TERRORIST Bill Ayers" and "CHICAGO SLUM LORD Tony Rezko" - hell, it was even difficult to just be alive and avoid them, considering the daily robocalls and flyers coming in. Chicago became a caricature of all bad things Republicans could imagine: a socialist big city with an education system run by former leftist terrorists, a nineteenth-century style center of corrupt machine politics, and an urban area which liberal policy had failed and is filled with scary brown people. While it's not surprising that such tactics would be used by the Republicans in the lead-up to the presidential election, it is a bit shocking how deeply this distaste for Chicago has become ingrained. Recently, Chicago was in the running to host the 2016 Olympic Games. But hosting the Olympics, normally a source of national pride, became instead an issue of revulsion and mockery by those (i.e. conservatives) for whom patriotism is ostensibly most important.
Now, I've never been to Chicago, excepting a walk through its massive and frustrating airport, but I presume its problems are not uncommon to any large city in this country. Furthermore, I know of no other developed country where politicians and pundits would so freely and willfully bandy about hatred of its third largest city (imagine German politicians spending their time railing against Munich or French politicians decrying "corrupt Lyon" as un-French).
Fortunately, I was reminded of a fun set of pictures than can round out this discussion of the foci of delusional wingnut hatred. Combined with the meme that Obama is a communist Manchurian candidate is a reminder that perhaps the distaste for Chicago goes back farther than I had previously thought among right-wingers. A certain gem of a comic book titled "This Godless Communism" - distributed by Catholic organizations to the young and impressionable - is notable not only for its pseudo-history of communism and the USSR or its hilarious anti-communist fear-mongering, but its references to Chicago. Take a gander:
The origin of community organizing?