Chicago Mayoral Race Lesson: Details Matter

The list of Chicago mayoral candidates is only slightly longer than the list of those same hopefuls who are so quick to distract and deflect when faced with evidence of their dubious decisions or dealings. (Looking at you, especially, Bill Daley and Toni Preckwinkle.)

The latest twist is another candidate, Amara Enyia, who overstated her ultra-distance athletic prowess. Rather than acknowledge the inaccuracy, and move on, Enyia chose to lash out with a defensive, dismissive reply. She called it “nitpicking” in comparison to the alleged issues of others in the race.

If only it were the first nit to have been picked.

However, in much more serious matters, she has been revealed to have less-than-sterling integrity. As the Chicago Tribune headline declared last week, “Amara Enyia’s financial problems: Underreporting income, tax lien, lawsuits.”

In my 20 years as a journalist, military service and/or decoration, athletic achievement, and academic achievement — those are the three big spheres where folks fib. Often, and very often many years later, those lies get exposed. Lying about business accomplishment is another area, though it’s often murkier to get to the bottom of those claims, since there is not a centralized “Business Database” the way there are clear-cut lists for the other areas.

The bottom line, whether you are a candidate for higher office or anyone else trying to make your way in the world: details matter. If you are sloppy, misleading, or outright deceptive in the small ones, how can you be trusted with the much bigger ones?

Just the same, when the spotlight does turn to you, it’s an opportunity–so don’t dig your credibility hole even deeper. Take responsibility and own it, and demonstrate that you have learned from the mistake. Glossing over it, and pointing fingers elsewhere, does not inspire faith in your ability to lead.

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