Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Why thank you. Living here has its drawbacks but we like it.

The quintessential city that works (or, at least, has a cleverly cultivated reputation for being the city that works) is, of course, Chicago. The ward heelers and aldermen of that city understand (or, at least, are celebrated in song and story for understanding) that political power flows not from the barrel of a gun, and not even, necessarily, from the ballot box (whose contents can change in the counting), but from the ability to fix potholes. Garbage that gets collected, buses and trains that take people places, cops that whack bad guys upside the head, taps that yield water when you turn them, lights that go on when you flip the switch, all lubricated by taxes and a bit of honest graft—these are what keep streets calm, voters pacified, and righteous “reformers” out of City Hall.

By Chicago standards, Baghdad, along with almost all the rest of Iraq, is a catastrophe.

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