Groundbreaking for Obama Center Held in Chicago

Groundbreaking for Obama Center Held in Chicago

Groundbreaking for Obama Center Held in Chicago

Barack Obama returned to Chicago, the city that started his political career, to attend the groundbreaking for his Presidential Center. Or, as Chicago writer John Kass has dubbed it, the “Obama Temple of Love and Fealty.”

Groundbreaking Day began with a softball interview on “Good Morning America” with Robin Roberts.

Then, at the groundbreaking ceremony, Obama promised that all sorts of glorious things will happen once his Temple Center opens. There will be trees! And birds! And all sorts of Good Things for the people who live in the crime-ridden South Side.

He also posed for pictures with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and, of course, Michelle O. Obama also told them how to pose for the cameras, as if none of them had ever done so before.

However, the Center didn’t come without its share of controversy. In fact, there were five years of lawsuits against building it, brought by the group Protect Our Parks. That’s because the center will stand in historic Jackson Park, which supposedly has been protected from building since 1836.

But what Obama wants, Obama gets.

Back in 1836, the city fathers designated the Lake Michigan lakefront as “Public Ground — A Common to Remain Forever Open, Clear and Free of any Buildings, or other Obstruction Whatever.” Some have tried to flaunt that rule, like the politically-connected Chicago Children’s Museum. Even George Lucas wanted to build a Star Wars Museum in Jackson Park. Both efforts failed.

There is one museum that was built on the lakefront, however: the Museum of Science and Industry, a remnant of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Architects had designed it with permanence to protect priceless international art work housed within from Chicago’s often-harsh weather.

But if you’ve ever been to the museum, you know that’s it’s an impressive and stately edifice. So are many other iconic Chicago landmarks, like the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, and the Art Institute of Chicago. But the Obama Center will look like this:

Groundbreaking/Obama Center

Screenshot: McLean Davis/Twitter.

So who funded this eyesore? And how much does it cost?

Not to worry, said the Obama Foundation. Chicago taxpayers won’t have to fund any of it. In fact, the Center gets all its funding from private donors, which include two mega donors, one of whom is basketball legend Michael Jordan. The other is the Open Society Foundations. If that name rings a bell, it’s because the founder is none other than George Soros.

Let me show you my shocked face.

However, while the original cost estimate was $500 million, it jumped to $700 million, and now it looks like it may cost $830 million to build and operate the Temple, er, Center in its first year.

But Obama is confident that this is something his peeps on the South Side really want:

“The overwhelming majority of the community has been not just okay with it, but are hugely enthusiastic about it.”

That’s because he and his project gurus consulted the residents living there:

“Which is why we’ve gone through such an exhaustive process to encourage and elicit comments and concerns and criticism and suggestions from the community.”

Besides, he assured Chicagoans, it will bring Hope and Change to the community. Because Obama knows best.

“If they want to bring about change in their neighborhoods, they’ve got resources and people who can teach them how to do that effectively. And they’re going to be able to see themselves as part of that change in a way that, so often, they don’t feel right now.”

So in five years this eyesore on the historic Chicago lakefront will open. Meanwhile, homicides in Chicago are rising out of control. And while crime is going up, residential property values are falling. What’s more, it’s black Chicagoans who are leaving the Windy City in droves.

But now with its groundbreaking, the Obama Temple of Love and Fealty will someday open for liberal white people so they can make their pilgrimages. Provided they dare to venture through Chicago’s South Side, of course.


Featured image: Beverly & Pack/flickr/cropped/altered/CC BY-NC 2.0.

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Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!


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