I just read this afternoon (on the Chicago Tribune website), that here in Chicago there are plans to name a Chicago Public School selective enrollment high school for President Barack Obama near the old Cabrini Green public housing site on the near north side around Division & Halsted . The school will open in the fall of 2017, several months after President Obama will have left the oval office. But I wonder if its too soon to start on his legacy, don’t get me wrong, he’s a fellow south sider and I have voted for him but you know this is Chicago and usually we name things for people long after they are gone.
This is more than me just wondering about heaping praise on another politician. On Monday morning I lost my dad after a four month long illness and as I struggle to comprehend his loss, I constantly think about his legacy. I know what he has done for me (and my family), but still his life was 75 years of a journey that it will take me years to really soak in the bandwith of his existence, experience & excellent life.
My old neighborhood of Calumet Park has already renamed 127th Street Obama Drive (pictured), and though its a nice gesture, they did this in August of 2010 even before the end of President Obama’s first term.
I just ponder if we should let the man get out of office and let his Presidential work settle and see how his policies stand before being quick to name things for him. Not saying he’s not due but usually there is waiting period. Just like in sports you usually have a five year waiting period before voting great players into the hall of fame.
And yes my thoughts on the proposed Presidential Obama library are the same, I understand the historical significance of Presidential libraries, their collection of writings and the scholarly influence on the university that is associated with that library. Still the rush, media crush and fuss over the location of the library is somewhat premature for a Commander In Cheif who still has over two years more at 1600 Pennsylviania Avenue.
Would I like to see the President Obama library in my native Pullman? Yes and the University of Chicago affiliation is a distinction that makes my old area relevant but its not the be all and end all. Its true the President Clinton Library in Little Rock Arkansas has had a positive financial and developmental effect on the area its located but it was completed in 2007 before the latest economic downturn and wasn’t at the same level of scrutinty and hype as the proposed President Obama library.
Some Presidential libraries even struggle to bring in visitors, according to the Chicago Tribune earlier this week, the current 13 Presidential Libraries combined didn’t have the attendance of the Shedd Aquarium right here in Chicago. And its not a secret the President John F Kennedy Library in Boston does not have a strong draw.
I’m not against Presidential libraries, they are the living legacy of not only the men who served as leader of the free world but a look into the times, documentation and lives of our leaders of democracy.
I’m only concerned we are not giving the legacy of our current President the time it needs to mature and then we can truly appreciate his greatness and not be in a horse race to slap his name everywhere.