Today is election day in Chicago.
Yesterday Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg considered how far Chicagoans have or have not come since the atavistic ol' days when the town voted long strictly racial lines.
I was reminded of a phone interview I had a few years ago with the veteran Chicago-area Congressman Danny Davis, who cut his political teeth in the racially savage 1980s here.
(Davis was one of the early African-American prospects for mayor this year. He dropped out in deference to the black "consensus" candidate, former Illinois Senator Carol Mosely Braun, who immediately reminded Chicagoans of every every color what a mean, dishonest and stupid woman she is.)
Anyway, I was asking the gravel-voiced, grizzled Davis about a black Chicago alderman who had publicly supported a white candidate over a black one. Davis implied he disapproved of this.
"Are you seriously saying, Mr. Davis," I seriously said, "that in this enlightened day and age, you still expect black Chicago politicians to back black candidates regardlness of merit?"
There was a pause, during which I began to shrivel into a little pink, naive, honky-colored ball.
"Heh … heh," he chuckled, saying nothing for the record and everything I needed to know.