Saturday, May 29, 2010

Did Obama pick bad time to visit Chicago?

There are those of us Chicagoans who have been getting on the case of President Barack Obama for not continuing to spend time at his Hyde Park neighborhood home, or anywhere in the Chicago area. So you’d think that his decision to have the family spend the Memorial Day holiday weekend “back home” would cause the criticism to pipe down.

Forget it.

BECAUSE NOW OBAMA is getting criticized by people who think that Memorial Day is one of those moments that he OUGHT TO BE REQUIRED to be near the District of Columbia.

Specifically, there are those people who are upset that the president of the United States will not be participating in the Memorial Day ceremonies to be held Monday at Arlington National Cemetery – the place where many veterans of every military conflict our nation has ever engaged in are buried.

We’re hearing the political rhetoric that the president is showing disrespect to the military – even though his plans for Monday include spending some time at a military cemetery.

It just won’t be “ARLINGTON, Va. – “ as the dateline on Monday’s news coverage of Obama. Instead, we’ll get the ubiquitous “ELWOOD, Ill. –,” which is the home of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, which is having its 11th annual Memorial Day ceremony – albeit the first ever where a sitting president has bothered to show up.

IT SOUNDS TOO much like people who want to think the whole of our society revolves around the District of Columbia (which is a nice place to visit for a few days at a time, although somewhat depressing if you actually have to live there) can’t accept the fact that there is a “rest of the country” that also will be observing the holiday this weekend.

The presidential appearance is, at most, a few seconds observed on television, in between the segment about the local holiday parade and the line of scores telling us how the White Sox managed to botch another ball game.

Should we really get worked up that Obama had included on his schedule for the national holiday that pays tribute to those who defended this country a ceremony at a place named for a president who held the nation together at a time when forces tried literally to split it into two?

To me, that sounds more appropriate than being in a place that was once the home estate of a military leader who rejected Lincoln’s pleas to work with him in holding the nation together, and was willing to join forces with those who would have torn it apart.

NOW THOSE OF you who have Confederacy apologist tendencies, don’t get worked up. Not yet anyway. Because the people who are all upset that Obama would use a Chicago-area cemetery (Elwood is located on Interstate 55 just past Joliet) to honor soldiers and Memorial Day are not the ones who bother me the most.

What really ticked me off was when I learned of the fact that some people in our society are so miffed about Obama using Will County, Ill., for official Memorial Day tributes that they were planning their own counter-protest, so to speak.

We’re not quite talking about the Ku Klux Klan, but we are talking about the kind of people with racial hangups that they join groups that feed off much of the imagery and nit-wit philosophy of white supremacy.

If they had got their way, we’d be having a counter-protest at a rural site just south of Mokena, Ill. (one of those towns that comprises the outer fringes of the Chicago area).

THINK ABOUT IT, if you will.

A sitting president wants to come to an area cemetery to pay tribute to those who served their nation, yet these activists who like to think they are “real Americans” and “true” patriots find that act to be offensive.

So much so that they talk of holding a rally to express their disgust with the very thought that Obama would think himself worthy of paying respect to military people.

I guess racial hangups overcome patriotism, although I’d argue such hangups are probably what is most “un-American” about these people.

WE SHOULD BE thankful that the owner of the site where these people wanted to hold their rally (officially being billed as “Nordic Fest” to give it an ethnic flair, even though I suspect most of these people have no true concept of what they really are or where they originated from) changed his mind and revoked permission for his land to be used.

Then again, reports in the Herald-News of Joliet indicate his big reason for revoking permission was that he didn’t like the nasty publicity that was being derived. All of those “liberal, out-of-touch-with-society” reporter-types were calling him to ask about the “Klan” rally being held on his land.

Otherwise, Will County literally would have become the place on Monday where the white supremacists protested the fact that a president would pay respect to military dead.



Anonymous said...

As a resident of Mokena, who has driven past the site several times, I can tell you that Nordic Fest was never canceled. The property owner only said it was to get the media to go away.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the exact name or address of the property? Or the name of the owner? Please post what you know, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Never was cancelled, I live down the street. Bunch of trash.