Unlike his conservative predecessor, the late Cardinal Francis George, the new leader of the Chicago Archdiocese has taken a decidedly progressive stance on union rights. ABC 7I never thought of "the late Cardinal Francis George" as a conservative. Rather, I knew and experienced Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. as a priest and a man of rock solid virtue. I know another such man - John Kass of the Chicago Tribune.
John Kass and I have disagreed even to the point of a good old south side, " Well, @#$% You!" exchange of words. Friends can do that and I consider John Kass a friend. A friend is someone who will tell you in thunder and you have abandoned virtue, for convenience.
I was honored to attend a Breakfast Talk sponsored by Midtown Education Foundation at the Gleacher Center center yesterday. The featured speaker was John Kass.
My take-away from John's thoughtful and heartfelt assessment of our times was the diminished study of Virtue at all levels.
Virtue is learned; you are not born with it. To be brave you must do brave deeds. To be kind and thoughtful, you must act accordingly. You see, virtues are what used to be called shared truths.
John Dewey strangled Virtue when he put 'shared truth' into the intellectual shredder and our public scholars, schools of Education and public schools have been spreading Dewey's Gospel like Miracle Grow on Hinsdale lawns.
John Kass lectured a few score of Chicago's big-hearted business leaders on Virtue and what it means to our liberty. People who are called businessmen and business women (bankers, investors, traders & etc.) very often are the most vital resources to charity and the group assembled to hear John Kass are just such persons. I am an old Catholic high school teacher and Catholic and private schools depend upon the kindnesses of these strangers. I am also very much like these charitable folks. We are all 'Chumbolones' - self-interested civic idiots who elect and return the absolute worst people among us to public office.
Chumbalones is a plural noun meaning 'idiot' in street Italian and re coined by John Kass.
An executive attending Thursday's breakfast asked John to explain the term, which sprang to his sense while covering a Chicago mob trial. I will not even attempt to retrace the etymology of Chumbalone here, but offer the following. Chumablones want to appear hip, hep, plugged into the skinny and with it in regards to civics and voting and therefore will go along with the group think.: Obama is great. Jan Schakowsky is great. Dick Durbin in never a fatuous ninny who will go along with prevailing winds blown from Media Matters. Chumbalones will vote in and retain room temperature IQs, snouts in the public trough and social engineers who could not craft a paper airplane.
We do this, not because we are intrinsically bad persons, but because " We know a guy, or girl who needs an Obama, a Durbin, a Quigley, a Claypool, a Rahm Emanuel to think well of him, or her and might, just might, do them, and by extension all of us, "a real genuine solid."
That has been my public sin of commission in the polling booth.
I have voted for public asses (repeatedly in too many cases) knowing full well that they had no business in public life, because a relative, a friend, a neighbor, an acquaintance, or even a precinct captain ( ubi sunt, hodie?) asked me to "Do them a solid."
I knew better and know better than this and I, like all of my fellow Americans, Chicagoans, Cook County taxpayers and citizens of this Land of Lincoln, have reaped the complete and thorough shafting of our democracy and liberty.
Mea Maxima Culpa.
Good God, last night I watched the news and even the Archbishop of Chicago is doing a solid for politics with his most public local labor statement aimed at the mess in Springfield.
I want to thank John Kass for calling me out and challenging me to embrace Virtue and skip doing someone a solid.