I think everybody recognizes the name "Rahm," and they don't have
to ask Rahm who? His first name recognition is probably somewhat
akin to the first name recognition of celebrities like Oprah and
Ellen - two people many of us admire. At least I do. T hough Rahm
Emmanuel is probably not nearly as well known as these two, I certainly
hope that he will be more and more recognized because today I believe
he has a message worth delivering - not only for Chicagoans, but for
all of us.
Yesterday I came across a post on Care2 which read-"America's Fittest
Mayor Calls on Chicagoans to go Vegan." I was completely floored, but
of course, delighted. Who knew that this driven "political animal"
had even the remotest thoughts on this subject? He certainly has moved
away from the hamburger-eating habits of President Obama, and I
applaud him for this. He obviously is his own man.
As for his city - Chicago, I have some memories of it from the 60's.
He may not even have been born yet, and yes, I'm ancient history, and
so are my memories. I was taking some classes at DePaul, and I laugh
at my scant memory now re the courses I took. One was Logic where I
learned the term "syllogism." Interesting to me at the time, if I
I remember correctly - a syllogism is a premise of logical thinking.
An example of one went something like this:
All obese people are unhealthy.
I am obese.
Ergo, I am unhealthy.
Not a great example because mine is obviously flawed since maybe not
all obese people are unhealthy -even though I believe that the majority
are. I guess the first premise ought to be better than mine, but it
is in keeping with ideas in this post.
I recall also taking a course re a study of the major philosophies of
the world. When each of us was asked about the philsophy we endorsed -
I described myself as "eclectic," and found good in all of them. Today,
I can't recall even the name of even one of them!
Do you remember the song "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head?" I heard
it for the first time in Chicago, and I found the tune mesmerizing
and beautiful. I don't remember all the words, but the thought of a
gentle rain falling on ones's head was refreshing for me. I believe
E.B. King wrote it. At least that's the name that came to me when
thinking of this song.
In Chicago at this time I also learned about the mass murder of several
nursing students. It shocked all of us because this maniac attacked
and killed these wonderful young women who were learning to care for
the sick. One lucky nurse managed to hide from him, and thank God, he
eventually was caught. Everybody breathed a sigh of relief.
And now my last reflection of the 60's Chicago. Not a vegetarian at the
time, I thought the local history of the South Side's "Back of the Yard"
neighborhood interesting. Here in the " Yards" thousands of cattle were
corraled and slaughtered each year. I believe it was said that when the
wind blew, you could smell death and everything that goes with this huge
How differently I look on the "Yards" today. It was truly a place of
horror for these thousands of cows and cattle. In the 70's at home in
Gr. Cleveland, I learned that I didn't ever need or want to feast on
the flesh of suffering animals. Peaches, my first puppy taught me that
lesson. I learned from a dog? Yes, indeed, and she was a great teacher.
My only regret is that I had not learned how to raise her as a vegan dog.
Brambles, an English vegan dog, lived to be 27! I would have loved the
same for Peaches.
This wonderful CARE2 post starts with a historical view of Chicago: "....
built on an economy of meat and physical labor, Upton Sinclair's "The
Jungle," a crushing indictment of the exploitation of immigrants and the
conditions in meatpacking plants was based there. Carl Sandburg called
Chicago "Hog Butcher for the World. Stormy, husky, brawling, City of
the Big Shoulders."
This post portrays Emanuel as the super-macho, just-dare-me icon of
President Obama's early days in office. I thought it was a great
description of him and one which was not particlularly endearing to
people like me.
But as I continued to read, I began to see him in a completely different
light. Today he is considered America's fittest Mayor, and he recently
appeared on TV with Rip Esselstyn, who is a firefighter, triathlete, and
author of the vegan book - "Engine 2 Diet." Many of us have heard of
Esselstyn before, and we also know that his father had been a heart
surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic.
This day Esselstyn demonstrated his approach to food on how to prepare
three vegan meals. Though Emanuel is motivated more by health concerns
than compassion, we vegans still applaud him for realizing the benefits
of a vegan diet which he believes will help to lower health care costs
and increase life expectancy. He noted that Esselstyn's vegan diet could
do that, and he even observed that one can eat twice as much of the Engine
2 sweet potato lasagna as of the normal lasagna for the same number of
calories. Worried about taste? Give it a try. You may be surprised.
He also remarked re eating habits "We have to do a better job with how we
eat and control our weight -thus showing no reservations about plant-based
diets. Though he has adopted a mostly vegan diet, he does eat meat about
twice a month. He joins President Clinton who is also basically vegan.
The Mayor has noted how his diet has made him a better triathlete, and I'm
sure President Clinton will say that he is healthier on his basically
Emanuel's basic onus is on the importance of individual responsibility to
help the city manage health care costs. Esselstyn agrees, and explained
to WGN that his diet's goal is "to get Amercia to eat healthier. Right
now we're drowning ourselves in dairy products; too many animal products;
red meat; processed refined foods; (and) so we need to become a nation of
plant-strong responsible eaters."
If this happens in Chicago, I certainly will like this new Chicago a whole
lot better than the one I knew in the 60's!