I feel it would be a dis-service to our reading audience if each blogger on ChicagoNow.com didn't express their opinion on the upcoming decision by the International Olympic Committee. Friday afternoon will change the lives for so many people that a simple "yes" or "no" on whether or not you want the Olympics is just not enough. This decision will affect cultures, financial markets, and the overall global economy for not only the next 7 years but generations after that.
It's hard to imagine how big this decision affects not only for the people of Chicago and the United States, but also for big business who look to profit at any cost with this opportunity. If Chicago is the city spoken at 11:55am central time on Friday morning you can all but guarantee business plans of all kinds from t-shirts to special Chicago 2016 car rental specials will be in the works.
Anyway you look at it, lots of people will profit and lots of people will be billed.
However the issue that gets lost in all the celebrity and politics of the announcement itself is how our priorities seem to be lost in the whole spectacle of sport.
For example, it's amazing to me how much money universities will put into their football program as opposed to their science labs. It's shocking that we can't find people to volunteer their time to clean up a vacant lot for a playground, but if we need ushers for a movie premiere there are lines miles long to apply. Let's face it, we're all at fault of overlooking what is important as opposed to what's popular and more personally appealing.
The 2016 Olympic games are no different.
Granted the games will be held in seven years and it's almost impossible to predict what the overall cost of the games will be as well as what kind of revenue will be generated. What is known is that most of the cost (over 1 billion of it) will be paid by private money and that's where I am confused.
Why is it that communities who beg and plead for funds to improve schools, rebuild their neighborhoods and hire police to protect the good of the people are shunned without a second thought. However if the city wants to host a track and field tournament and build a brand new stadium for it, the private investors jump on it like flies on (you know what).
I've never understood this notion that the people who need don't get, but those that have always receive.
And the one phrase you hear from everyone who supports the Olympic bid in Chicago is this is "good for the future of Chicago."
When we think of the future of Chicago, should we really be thinking of a sporting event? We should be thinking of what's best for our kids.
How about building state of the art schools, supplying new up to date textbooks. How about building up run-down areas of the city with so low-income families can have a shot at making it. How about keeping the police and fire departments running at 100% and hire as many people as possible who want to give up their lives to help others. How about improving the CTA either on tracks or by bus. That's how you improve the second city in the world.
However if you ask big business who'll put up billions of dollars to see shot-put in Lincoln Park in 2016 about these issues....you'll never get an answer.
For as corrupt a city and state we live in, big business may have the coldest hearts of all.
Priorities for the good of the city of Chicago for generations are being ignored for a 3 week sporting event.