Some folks think small
town city Americana is hokey and a waste of money. Not me. I love a parade, and was thrilled to have the Milwaukee “holiday” parade right in front of my hotel yesterday morning. Marching bands trying their best to stay in tune. Adults wearing funny costumes. Local celebrities in convertibles on a cold day. America.
I watched for a while, enjoying both the parade and the crowd watching the parade. Parents holding hot coffee and kids wrapped up like little butterball turkeys. Sure, it seemed a little early to have Santa Claus coming to town, as this was really a Christmas parade, but even in Milwaukee they won’t admit to it lest anyone be offended by the idea that Christmas is coming.
The bands were interspersed with the celebrity cars, mostly local radio and TV personalities, for former demonstrating why they are more appealing when unseen, and the latter just smiling. Then came the Mayor of Milwaukee, who was quite popular having just lost the governor’s race after an unfortunate bashing with a pipe at the State Fair.
Then came the shocker. A celebrity of sort, John Chisolm sitting up on the trunk of the convertible waving at the crowd like crazy. From what I could tell, he didn’t sing or dance. He couldn’t play rock music or announce the weather. I don”t know if he’s any good at telling jokes. Still, there he was.
Chisolm was the Milwaukee County District Attorney. Chisolm was waving at the crowd like a star.
As an elected official, he has a need to keep his face in front of the people, to make himself appear popular and available. That’s part of the gig. But there’s a huge difference between shaking hands, kissing babies and telling the constituents that he’s going to
lock up their children protect them from crime and waving to the crowd like the guy who plays accordion in a favorite polka band.
Would the top public defender follow in a convertible of his own? Nope. Just the DA.
It’s a subtle message to the people of Milwaukee, who might well be thought of as potential jurors, that the guy who brings charges against people is a celebrity, someone they would want to see waving at crowds from a distance. There a sense of credibility, even admiration, attributed to people who sit up high in the back of a convertible in a parade. Would such a man lie to you? Would such a man do wrong? How could you not admire someone who is obviously so important that he gets his own convertible in the holiday parade?
I’m not suggesting that we load up parades with a bunch of extra people riding in the back seats of convertibles who can’t sing or dance. Who wants to sit in the cold and look at them? But why would anyone think that John Chisolm is worthy of interest to overly-bundled children?
Moreover, what made Chisolm think that waving at the crowd as if he could play a mean accordion was adding to the dignity, the gravitas, of his function? If he wants to be a celebrity, riding around in parades and waving at adoring fans, that’s fine. But then, he ought to pull the accordion out of the closet and practice.
District Attorneys should not be celebrities, and when they confuse their function to the point that they pretend to be worthy of interest in the holiday parade, it’s time to take a serious look at whether he has the discretion to handle the job.
Other than that, the parade was great.
Some folks think small