"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty." (Daniel Burnham)
Daniel Burnham captured the spirit of Chicago. People like Burnham had something more than talent and ideas. They had a vivid imagination, the ability to see beyond concepts and ideas to build soul-stirring creations. They inspired people to take on big challenges.
Chicago built. Chicago became beautiful. As technology and a better understanding of materials grew, Chicago built better, higher, and more beautiful. No challenge was too great.
Chicago was created on a challenge. The swampy trading post with a few inns and a fort became the transportation hub and commodity center of the nation. It evolved into a world-class city through constant challenges. Fire, disease, economic panics, or other catastrophes never stopped Chicago from moving forward.
Chicago is an example of the quote, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve."
Chicago is a city of squabblers. People who have no vivid imagination. They fight against anything that would keep our city moving forward. They go to war, using lawfare and protest, to move Chicago backward.
New police and fire academy? Lucas Museum? Obama Presidential Center? Amazon HQ. No, no, no, and no, say the naysayers.
George Lucas wanted to build his spaceship inspired monument to ego on an ugly parking lot near Soldier Field, lawfare broke out.
Former President, Barack Obama, chose Chicago, his adopted city, to build his library, the Obama Presidential Center. The entity is causing consternation and protest from several groups due to its planned location in Jackson Park. Some elected officials and activists are fighting to either stop it or get a piece of the pie. Lawfare is being used by one group, led by a suburban plant enthusiast, to stop it.
Chicago needs a new training facility for police and firefighters. Both current facilities are outdated and too small. The squabbling warriors are out in force to stop it. One whining alderman, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, even claimed a new facility is not needed for "racist policing," whatever that is.
The naysayers do not want to build. They want to destroy. They would tear the city down. We would live in rough lean-tos in squalid equality. The concrete, glass, brick, and steel despoiled land would return to its former glory, a muddy swamp on the prairie.
The naysayers have no vision or imagination. They do nothing to stir souls in the pursuit of greatness.
Chicago has its problems. Some are intractable and date back almost two centuries. Attempts to solve them produce more squabbling.
125 years ago, the Columbian Exposition opened in Chicago. The world came to see. Chicago was put on the international map.
85 years ago, the Century of Progress came to Chicago. Once again, the world came to Chicago. Once again, Chicago stirred international imaginations.
People with vision made our city great. Even progressive reformers of the past, like Jane Addams, realized they could accomplish nothing without working with the elites and powers that be. In modern parlance, they were frenemies.
The squabblers refuse to work with anyone. Like toddlers, they want their own way. Like terrible twos, they shriek, cry, pound their chubby fists, and stamp their little feet. They are all noise without substance. Their tears blind them. Their shrieks deafen them. They all think alike, which means they are not thinking. Even pacifiers will not satisfy their rage.
Chicago is a world-class city. To retain that status, we need to create world-class institutions, both cultural, political, and business. "Just say no," does nothing to keep Chicago moving forward. Saying no is being stuck on stupid.
The squabblers and naysayers, including a few aldermen, like Ramirez-Rosa, represent a fringe minority. They do not represent the city as a whole.
Chicago needs cheerleaders and boosters, not naysayers and squabblers. Hashtag fringe groups like #NoCopAcademy have no place at the table. Fiery rhetoric does nothing except garner attention like a two-year-old having a tantrum.
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