Art by Jason Heuser
As previously reported, the Hyde Park apartment building that once was the childhood home of Ronald Reagan, was quietly slated for demolition by the University of Chicago. But a report by The Daily Mail alleges to shed light on what it's being torn down for, something that will surely cause a political war that will tear asunder space and time: the parking lot to the eventual Barack Obama Presidential Library. But before any holy wars flare up over preserving the home of the patron saint of the GOP, the White House has already nipped the rumor in the bud.
Of course, this won't stop the Tea Party Fearmonger Monster™ from quickly spreading the alarm through conservative cyber space that now not only is Obama coming for your guns, but he's coming for The Gipper, too. This despite the fact that - as of a month ago - we still don't know where the Obama Library will be built.
But what we do know is this: there will be a Presidential Library for Barack Obama, just as every president has had one dedicated to him since Herbert Hoover. (Yes, even George W. Bush.) And Chicago is the likely eventual home of the Obama Library because one does not cross Rahm Emanuel (though Obama's former childhood home of Honolulu is also apparently in the running but, come on. Rahm.). Meanwhile, conservatives smarting from the razing of the apartment building will use the Necronomicon to summon Reagan's ghost which will satiate its bloodlust with a terrible vengeance upon the nonbelievers.
UPDATE: So it looks like the Daily Mail got their information from this story over at the hilariously partisan Washington Times.
What makes a man great? And what makes a great president? Historians pen large tomes about that. Every man is the sum of his experiences - his loves, his losses, his achievements, and failures. How he sees the world and how the world sees him.
And this place - this place was a part of Reagan's formative years - what he discovered and experienced here in Chicago helped him on the way to greatness.
Reagan lived in Chicago from 1915 until 1916. If learning how to do simple arithmetic and spelling puts someone on their way to greatness, sure, I guess. I don't know what part of learning to wear big boy pants helped develop trickle down economics.
In 2012, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks denied Reagan's home landmark status. The University of Chicago set demolition for January and the bulldozers quickly moved in. The wrecking balls are ready.
A "plaque" could mark the historic spot instead, say university representatives.
Besides being melodramatic, the sarcastic quotation marks around plaque are a nice touch.
It is safe to say that Democrats don't want any reminders of a Republican president named Reagan and his glory days a stone's throw from a future Obama Presidential Library. Better to raze the building now, than later. But do they have the right to erase Ronald Reagan from Chicago history?
To be fair, Democrats do seem to shudder at the name as much as Republicans fall to their knees in tears at its mention. That said, I doubt anyone connected with Obama, the University, or the Library are that concerned with a "plaque" being close to the Library. It's not as if all these Republicans are wearing ruts in the concrete to go visits an apartment building where a guy lived for four years, either. This is Chicago, Mayor Daley's Chicago where tearing down historical buildings is a past time, landmark association be damned. Don't take it personally, guys.