An irrational fear over losing OPC?


To the Editor:

All the debate about the need to build the proposed Obama Center in historic landmarked Jackson Park and ONLY in Jackson Park seems to have become grounded on little more than a fear that former President Obama with a home in Kenwood is so emotionally childlike and intellectually confounded that in a snit of adolescent temper he would just pick up his marbles and leave town forever if his Obama Center were not immediately plopped down precisely in Jackson Park and ONLY Jackson Park.

It seems ironic that it is the supporters of the Protect our Parks law suit, who have repeatedly expressed their support of an Obama Center anywhere he desires, except in Jackson Park, have more admiration, confidence, and trust in him than his supposed supporters.

In November, when former President Obama appeared before a South Side community group he said: “[Chicago is] the place where I found my calling, my voice, my political career, and the place that produced my wife and my children. [where I came as a boy and left as a man].”  Apparently, it is his supporters that don’t believe and trust him and his words.

Obama is no egotistical billionaire George Lucas who had no ties to Chicago and certainly no understanding or appreciation for its world-famous lakefront public park system, including Jackson Park, that distinguishes the city and has made it thrive.

There are many available underserved neighborhoods in South Side Chicago that have not thrived and are in genuine need of the investment and development that an Obama Center built as an anchor in its midst would serve to revive and regenerate. They already have the benefits of the public Jackson Park that needs no new investment.

Why would Obama, the former community organizer in the actual neighborhoods where he worked not now see their needs and want to direct his efforts to actually helping those very communities?

Why is there so little common sense in determining how best to enhance the Obama legacy instead of tarnishing it with a permanent stain?

Herb Caplan

President, Protect Our Parks