Sunday, March 25, 2007

2016 Olympics and other Ancient International Chicago Events

A few Chicagoans are so willing to forget our "We Will for Chicago" mentality. Even our Aldermen, like British Counterparts, think that compensation, nepotism, and patronage is the way to bring our natives up to political par. Many of our immigrants and Jewish Natives can stake a claim to reparations, as well, for the bigotry experienced from shortsighted nativists. Jews were barred from U.S. hotels and also had their businesses forfeited on account of their faith. Compensation for wrongs committed over a century ago is a vicious circle with no end; a pessimists' paradise. It is a "look back," not look forward philosophy to grab guilt when you can find it and twist it dry until he or she bleeds gelt. What Chicago needs is an attention span, education, jobs, and optimism.

Chicago has quite a bit of this, but sometimes it gets challenged on both the north and south sides. European pessimism, East Coast anxiety, and 'Rap-o-rea' can make for quite a bit of stagnation. Rap often, not always, has more to do with pessimism, then optimism. I know that money is made screaching at 'young folks' who look for any excuse not to do their homework. Those of us who have roots in Rogers Park have families with memories of the "1933 Century of Progress" or "1896 Colombian Exposition." Many of us think that an Olympics can economically and physically revitalize our city that once had a bigger place on the world stage.

In an era where Chicagoans want trade jobs, certain unprecedented and historic events make a difference. It is a 'what can we do if we work together' mentality that can bring years of growth. It is true that big ticket events often focus upon a particular group, like atheletes, for a limited time. Yet, Chicago has 'never' seen an Olympics in its backyard. The event has been around for over a hundred years and no one until now has remembered the positive impact both the Colombian and Century had on our Recreation areas, let alone the Chicago psyche.
There is this sense, among some, that African Americans will be plowed down, among others, by the Olympic experience. Frankly, Jewish runners were pulled out of the Olympics for political reasons in Nazi Germany, not Jesse Owens. Americans, like Avery Brundage, did not want to embarrass Hitler. Perhaps, Chicago can also take the lead and twin the quintuple rings with some sortof exposition for all the non-jocks, among others in need. Yet, I think that some fear costs and security risks over progress.

If the South side is ever going to integrate, then making Douglas and Washington Parks the jewels that they once were will make a difference. Chicago needs a coordinated effort to attract the Olympics or a Fair. In our era, World Fairs are becoming less than economically feasible; many of us wonder why? Perhaps, there is justification or just the desire to spend without accountability. We are repeatedly overwhelmed and challenged by Atlanta, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.
There is no doubt that Los Angeles has 'la la la-ed' all the way to the bank at Chicago's expense. It managed to suck up our Chicago movie industry with its then cheaper production costs and arguable year round production options. It repeatedly beats out Chicago and other International Cities for the Olympics numerous times. Even Atlanta beat out Chicago with the help of the influx that came in following the Ted Turner innundation. Strangely, even Mexico City and Sidney had more interest and secured the Games.

For those of us who are fearful of deficits, some believe that there is more that we stand to benefit from. When the White Sox won, some made significant money in this metropolitan area and it also made us proud, as well. Yet, Chicago has a formidable competition for the five brass rings from abroad. Chicago has those who have a vision. Chicago has a tremendous lake front. Yes, the Games costs and there are other significant priorities, but the optimism that goes into such a conquest can be turned around and placed into other City needs, as well. Perhaps, the Olympic bid is a start. If it happens, some will think that with a little push, they can get other things done, as well.
There is a lot of underdevelopment on Chicago's South side and Lakefront, among other places. The 2016 Olympics are worth going after, even if some will claim that we should have loftier goals. Homes are rented and neighborhoods cleaned up. The challenge is that we need to get attention on Chicago. However, the same efforts in securing an Olympic berth should also be undertaken to get educational needs fufilled for our residents, with a better return on investment. Where is Oprah when we need her to persist in her push for education. I feel that we have 'forgotten education,' but fixate on "The Secret."

This is not meant to be a cheerleading gimic for the Games. It is meant to demonstrate that if we want opportunities, Chicagoans cannot do it from a seated position unless they are producing a plan on their computers or in negotiations. Events attract investment, development, opportunity, and most of all optimism.

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