Rahm Emanuel came up with a brilliant idea in his inauguration speech: Brand Chicago as America's City. Here's what he said:
Look at the three of us being sworn in today. Treasurer Stephanie Neely and Clerk Susana Mendoza. Both are superb public servants who represent the best of our city. They are among a new generation of smart and capable civic leaders.
I think it is fair to say, we are not our parent's Chicago.
An African-American whose family came from Grenada, Mississippi in the great migration north; a daughter of immigrants who came from Mexico; a son of an Israeli immigrant from Tel Aviv and grandson of immigrants from Eastern Europe. Our parents and grandparents came not just to any American city. They came to America's city. They came to Chicago. [Emphasis added.]
It's not New York or Los Angeles. Thankfully. Yes, Chicago is a world-class city, but it also is uniquely American. In its composition, and its aspirations. In its talents and determination. In its history, in its faults. And in its qualities.
The city should promote the hell out of this new brand: "Chicago: America's City." It should be on the sign welcoming O'Hare Airport travelers into the city (replacing "Mayor Richard M. Daley.") It should be on all advertisements, all brouchures, all letter-heads, all business cards. It is, after all, quite accurate. And we got there first, before other cities.
Great start, Mayor Emanuel. Don't stop now.