On Saturday night, the mayor of Chicago found herself the subject of rumors that made her sound like the perfect candidate for a future Mona Scott Young production.
According to Chicago Tribune, activist Ja’Mal Green, a critic of Lightfoot, tweeted then deleted a message indicating that Lightfoot was planning to leave office.
On Sunday, Green tweeted that he was “sorry” for helping to spread the rumor. “I know Lori is mad that folks have started rumors and I’m sorry I helped by saying she’s resigning but the reality is, we’ve been lied to since the beginning of this administration,” Green wrote on Twitter. “So much that the people have lost hope. 73% of Chicagoans think we’re on the wrong path!”
When I woke up on Sunday morning and did my morning ritual of checking out the trending topics on Twitter with the hopes that it won’t depress me (I usually fail this goal), I happened to come across the Lightfoot rumors. Something about her resigning in light of a cheating scandal. And something else about some sort of big-ass house.
Forgive me for not remembering the details of shit people on Twitter made up, but folks fired off jokes about the gossip at Lightfoot’s expense. As Green mentioned, Lightfoot was less than thrilled about her name being mentioned in a rumor centered on a politically devastating love triangle.
On Sunday morning, Lightfoot hopped on Twitter and declared “our city doesn’t have any time for homophobic, racist and misogynistic rumors, today or any day.”
Lightfoot added, “It’s shocking and disappointing to see some media members and verified Twitter handles are peddling this trash as truth.” Already sounding too sanctimonious for comfort given the source in question, Lightfoot went on to sour my mood further by continuing with: “Anyone who wants to work with me to make progress, I’m ready. Even if we don’t always see eye to eye, if you actually love this city and want to be part of making it better, let’s do the work.”
Her tweets ended with the assurance that she will not be resigning as mayor, despite real calls for her to go based not on the rumor mill, but her record as mayor.
Lightfoot signifies change in the aesthetics of power, but she wields it a lot like every other menacing politician that protects those who attack the most vulnerable.
I don’t want to diminish another Black queer person’s feelings of being subjected to racism, homophobia, and/or misogyny, but it’s hard to tolerate lectures from Lori Lightfoot on anything related to truth, decency, or community. It’s even more insufferable stemming from her being tight about some silly rumors that she hadn’t even been formally asked about by journalists. And as Chicago Tribune reporters Gregory Pratt and John Byrne share in their reporting on Lightfoot’s reaction, “It’s rare for elected officials to publicly respond to unsubstantiated rumors unless reporters ask about them at a news conference.”
Lightfoot’s approach to this rumor differs from another about her last summer, and as Pratt and Bryne write, her “unorthodox decision to address the tweets opens the door to more of the public finding out about the rumors than otherwise would have.”
This could be merely my cynicism showing, but I get the sense a politician is playing up an obvious BS rumor out of political expediency.
After all, her response did manage to get support from the social media account of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, an organization designed to recruit, train, and elect out public officials at every level in all 50 states.