Thursday, April 23, 2015

Are we destined to be “blessed” by being picked for site of Obama library?

In the ongoing dispute over where President Barack Obama would choose to have the legacy museum and library meant to enhance his historical reputation, I can’t help but wonder how long until we get the big announcement.

Because to listen to the various reports that have emanated from assorted places, Chicago has done everything that has been asked.

WE CAME UP with a site with proximity to the University of Chicago and put on the political pressure to make those individuals who hate the idea of a presidential library being built on Chicago Park District land feel uncomfortable.

Heck, some 332,171 of us even went so far as to vote for Rahm Emanuel to be our mayor for the next four years – out of the ridiculous belief that having Jesus Garcia as nuestra alcalde (that’s “our mayor” for those of you who are linguistically challenged) was somehow a deal-killer for the Obamas.

That supposedly was the reason why the Obama Foundation that technically is deciding this issue (in reality, it’s the president himself, deferring to the best judgment of first lady Michelle) held off on making an announcement about a museum and library location back in February.

We needed to see if Chicago voters cast their ballots properly in order to deserve such a facility.

YES, I’M BEING very facetious in writing this, because I honestly believe if the Obama interests were being shallow enough to decide their library location based on a municipal election outcome that ought to be the deal-killer for anybody with sense.

In which case, let the facility go to Honolulu – which you have to admit would provide for a most-unique location for a facility that usually winds up in places like Abilene, Kan., or Grand Rapids, Mich.

Then again, Ike and Jerry Ford aren’t Obama by any means.

I got my amusement from the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday, which gave us a “Sneed Exlusive” that says it’s just about a done deal – the presidential library will be located in Chicago.

THE CLINCHING ACTION was the resignation of Cassandra Francis of the Friends of the Parks organization. That is the group that always complains about over-commercialization of the public parks, and was threatening to tie the Obama library/museum proposal into legal knots if they tried to put it there.

They may still be opposed, technically. But having a hole in leadership hurts their effort to put up much of a court fight.

Although considering how political people have their ways of influencing the courts, I’d have to wonder what judge out there would want to be remembered as the guy who ruled against Obama.

This isn’t South Texas where a federal judge was only too eager to put a hold on Obama’s attempt to impose some common sense to the nation’s immigration policies – rather than the ideological nonsense that comes from the kind of people who are likely to want to demonize the library/museum project for years to come.

IN CHICAGO, THIS project is going to be a big deal.

The part of columnist Michael Sneed’s report Wednesday that caught my eye was her claim that the Business Leadership Council and other African-American community leaders were preparing to take on Friends of the Parks by claiming that their no-parkland stance was denying the black community of Chicago a chance to have a significant facility.

Even Emanuel seems to realize this. In Washington this week, he told reporter-types who asked if Chicago would consider bidding for a future Olympic Games that he was more interested in attracting the library/museum for the man whom he once served as chief of staff.

He called a presidential library, “an Olympics with an annuity that gives every year,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

EVEN THOUGH THERE’S a good chance that such a facility would be visited once by locals, then become the site where future generations of schoolchildren from the city (if not the more Republican-oriented of suburban communities) would go on field trips.

Which is what we have to look forward to when the announcement is made.

As I look up from my keyboard, I see a plastic mold figure of the U-505, the Nazi Germany submarine that was captured intact and has been on display for decades at the Museum of Science and Industry. The mold is a souvenir from a long-ago trip to the museum.

Will future generations go to the Obama museum and wind up coming home with a plastic mold bust of the president’s head – big ears and all?!?


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