Losing The Olympics Could Be An Important Lesson For President Obama and Chicago

Bookmark and Share    The first round of votes regarding where the 2016 Olympics are to be held was completed. And then the Chair of the Olympic DisappointmentInternational Olympic Committee came to the podium and spoke these words.

The city of Chicago, having obtained the least amount of votes, will not participate in the next round of votes

Not only was this a disappointment, but having been taken out of consideration with such immediacy made the rejection embarrassing. Especially given all the political capitol that President Obama put behind his pitch to bring the Olympics to his adopted hometown.

I supported the President’s brief trip to Copenhagen to try to deliver the goods for the U.S.. I saw nothing wrong with it or inappropriate about it. But this is an embarrassing situation. Up to now, President Obama has been viewed by many as a rock star on the international stage. It was assumed that his perceived worldwide popularity would “seal the deal”. Who could possibly not succumb to the President’s charm and vast intellectual influence?

Well, some have not been duped. Some have put facts over fiction. In this case they have chosen to ignore the presidential pitch and dump Chicago as a possible location to hold the 2016 Olympics. The members of the Olympic committee considered everything from weather to traffic and organizational abilities and it is apparent that Chicago really does not have as great reputation for such things, especially when compared to cities like Tokyo, Madrid and even Rio de Janiero, which, in the end, won the 2016 games.

riologoolimpiadi2016This is not something hard to understand. Personally, of all the cities in America that I believe could make for some of the best places to host the Olympics games, Chicago is not the first to come mind. It’s governance does not have the best reputation for integrity and it is not exactly known for its wonderful weather and climate or for having the most uniquely convenient public transportation networks. Something else that may not have helped the case for Chicago was the recent beating to death of a Chicago honor student. Youth violence is not exactly part of the Olympism which is about fostering a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

While the First Lady and Oprah Winfrey were trying to butter up the Olympic committee in the days leading up to President Obama’s deal sealing visit, the recent brutal death of that young man in Chicago was not something that Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Winfrey were discussing very much. Perhaps when Oprah returns home from Copenhagen, she will devote one of her many hour long programs to the other side of Chicago, the side of Chicago which runs on corruption and has an above average crime problem.

There were no calls to name the planned, temporary Olympic Stadium in Chicago the Derrion Albert Olympic Stadium. Honoring the young man from Chicago’s Fenger High School who died at the hands of youth violence was probably not being considered at all by those promoting Chicago. Doing so would not have exactly been a selling point to Olympic committee members.

But perhaps some good could come out of Chicago being immediately dumped from consideration.

Perhaps the embarrassingly disappointing rejection will help provide our President with some much needed humility. Maybe he will begin to not overestimate his charm and start putting more weight in the substance of facts and reality. That would be a good thing. Everyone needs a dose of reality every now and then and this was a dose of reality for the President. It should make him well aware of the fact that substance does mean more than style, something which should be of particular concern in regards to the health management and care reform debate in which President Obama uses compassionate sounding rhetoric and phrases in an attempt to glaze over the cold hard facts about the drawbacks behind his reforms.

But in addition to some necessary humility for the young President, another benefit could come of this failed Chicago Olympic bid.

In trying to bring the 2016 games to the Windy City, an unprecedented effectiveness of the Chicago 2016 organizing and fundraising effort was revealed. The Chicago 2016 committee was a great example of how the private sector can play a role in improving life in a way that is more timely and more effective than the bureaucracy of government.

Much money was raised through the private sector in an attempt to woo the Olympics to Chi Town. Bushels of bucks that the City and even the state didn’t have on its own to invest were raised by those outside of government. What if that effort continued? What if that effort continued but the money went to other things. Instead of waiting for federal funding to provide the money for needed street repairs what if the Chicago 2016 infrastructure became a Chicago Today cause? That money could get things done that bureaucrats can’t get done. That money could go to many of the worthy charitable institutions which provide many different needs more cost effectively and efficiently than government.

What if some of the private sector funds of a Chicago Today private sector committee spent some dollars to deal with the youth violence problem by providing some differently structured special schools that offer a teaching atmosphere designed to show many troubled male youths who grow up without fathers or male  figures, how real, responsible men act.

Some good could come out of Chicago being dumped by the Olympic committee. Through Chicago 2016, the people,  more than their government proved that they can be a strong force of change. Their successful fundraising efforts for something that they didn’t get could be used to do some of the things that their government doesn’t do. If that proven capability can be tapped in to, this will not have been a waste but rather a valuable lesson.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Losing The Olympics Could Be An Important Lesson For President Obama and Chicago

  1. Dale

    Embarrassment? Much needed humility? You Republicans are so full of it.

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