Did you ever get to wondering why Super Bowl Sunday seems anti-climactic when your team is not in the game? I certainly like football but frankly as with baseball and basketball I tend to be a “homer”. If my team is not there in that game for the championship I have a very difficult time getting into the Big Day. I heard one radio announcer put it best. While she was OK with the hype of the game it was the commercials that were going to be showing during the game for which she had the greater anticipation. Yikes!
We spent time in the City of Chicago today. The idea was to get out and get some sunshine and since we could not drive into the city and ride along the lakefront trail (our car is still in the auto body shop getting its rear bumper replaced) it was decided that a car tour was the second best thing. So we headed out for some breakfast and then made our way to the city.
I am a sucker for tall buildings and skylines. But today it was of more interest to me to visit the University of Chicago campus to get reacquainted with the place I spent several years at while working on my Masters Degree in Education. Like Harvard University and University of Cambridge its is full of gargoyles and that Ivy League college architectural look that is repeated over and over again on campuses across these United States.
What however is quite different in Chicago is that there are some stunning modern buildings inter-mixed with the Halls of Ivy. So we began the trip down to the campus with a tour of the Bronzeville area along Martin Luther King Drive. Just in front of the Harold Washington Cultural Center are bronze four statues that sit atop pillars of metal that speak to the musical heritage of the African-American community in this city.
Further up the street towards the north end are a couple of statues which speak to the military sacrifices of Black Americans in the previous world wars as well as the Great Migration up from the South. A migration which is in fact currently happening in reverse. I wonder if the sons and daughters of the Old Confederacy have any idea what they are in for in the very near future? These are young men and women moving back to the South with greater expectations of success than ever their grandparents had. This is not going to be a population where the men and women are likely to put up with any of the vestiges of segregation that define the current strivings of the GOP. Lee Atwater notwithstanding there are folks coming their way who are willing to work hard and expect nothing less than their fair share of the economic and political pie.
If you really want to understand a person like Barack Obama you have to get beyond the rantings of a neocon like Dinesh D’Souza to take a look at some of the young black men coming out of the University of Chicago Lab Schools or Chicago’s Urban Prep Academies. These are kids who despite the odd of dying from a hail of bullets on the means streets of the city or falling prey to drug addiction have by shear will made something of themselves. The current governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick is such a young man. These are young men who will not be told they cannot vote or railroaded into doing things that are against their self-interest.
The days of treating men like Medgar Evers as so much fodder for snipers is over. Yet the Old South and even pockets in the Rust Belt are full of folks who still think it “cute” to hand nooses on their snowmen at Christmas Time. Please do not underestimate the capacities of these young men. They are ready and willing to be productive folks in society. Wasting their talents is something we do at our own peril. Likewise turning our racial guns on Hispanic Youth is equally senseless. Under the guise of hunting down illegal aliens we are risking alienation of some of the best mathematicians in public schools today.
My generation is hell bent on trying to recapture the Old South. They would love to be able to return to the days when schools were segregated as were communities. Those days are gone. If you are a Conservative member of the GOP take off the blinders and tell the neocons and Tea Party to take a breather while you and others of good will try and step up to the plate to recruit for your party. We don’t need another candidate of color who’s likely to be best remembered for all the white women who came forward to tell about their sexual encounters with him. We need to have young black conservatives who “get it”.
At present the only blacks who seem eager to “represent” in the GOP are surrogate racists. That might make it easier for them to recruit donors who are afraid of the changing color of their political scene but it will not help address the real and pressing needs of the future. And it most certainly will not help America face the coming struggle with emerging foreign power in the economic arena. You have to ask yourself what the Cold War was all about if the country destined to over take the world’s most prolific economy is not another bastion of Capitalism but instead Communist China.
We need all the help we can get. Hispanic populations are growing at a fast pace. Fast enough in fact that they will become the dominant culture in the near future. Why alienate the folks who will be your future leaders and captains of industry?
By the time we reach Hyde Park the sun is beginning to set. The University of Chicago is well endowed and the degree of construction shows it. This is a place with very deep pockets. We travel along the Midway Plaisance and drink in the sculpture and the view of Rockefeller Chapel. There are many architectural gems to be seen all over the campus. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House is a prime example.
After our tour of the campus we head north for a very late luncheon at Native Foods Cafe in Wicker Park. Then we head home past Humboldt Park. Amreica is changing. And if we are smart we will embrace the future. If not we will find ourselves struggling to learn Mandarin.