Barack Obama, come home. We need you back in Chicago.
Most people don’t know it, but when Obama first got into politics, his goal was to become mayor of Chicago. In 1995, during an annual lunch with his old law student at the University of Chicago, Jesse Ruiz Obama outlined a plan to duplicate the career path of his idol Harold Washington. First, he is elected to the legislature. Then Congress. And finally, the town hall.
“Barack, Mayor Daly will stay there forever,” Ruiz told him, mocking the idea that he could be replaced by a U-C professor. However, Ruiz agreed to work on Obama’s election to the state senate. It seemed achievable.
Obama was elected to the state senate. Four years later, his attempt to win a seat in the 1st Congressional Congress, which Washington held before becoming mayor, was thwarted by Bobby Rush, who said Obama “went to Harvard and became an educated fool.” Rejected from his original ambitions, Obama instead went to the U.S. Senate and White House: a career respected, but not something he was going to do.
Mr. President, this is the perfect time to realize your youthful dreams. You are out of work, and Chicago is looking for a new mayor. Lori Lightfoot’s discontent boils over. Murder at a maximum of 25 years. Lightfoot can’t get along with the city council or anyone else, Ald believes. Susan Sadlowski Garza, who said: “I have never met anyone who managed to anger every person they came in contact with: the police, firefighters, teachers, elders, businesses, industry.” A poll in November found that 62 percent of voters did not believe Lightfoot deserved re-election. Now the figure could be even higher.
So far, however, no one has taken a step forward with difficulty to challenge Lightfoot. That’s where you are, Mr. President. No one has more weight than the ex-president. You are still registered to vote at your home on South Greenwood Avenue, so you can overcome the residency challenge even if you have not lived there since 2008. You would have sent Lightfoot in the first round by stealing her coalition of African Americans and white liberals, which was your old coalition. We hope you will change the image of Chicago that has suffered from all these shootings. Now, when we invite visitors to visit Chicago, they say, “Wear a body armor.” If you are the mayor, they will ask, “How is Barak?” You would be a living tourist attraction: the public will flock to the halls of the city council, just to watch you preside over the meetings.
Richard Nixon once said, “A man who was president can do nothing more.” This statement ignores the current life expectancy and limitations of the 22nd Amendment. You left the White House at the age of 55. Now you are only 60 – a year older than the mayor of Lightfoot. Modern presidents live to be 90s. Do you want to spend the next 30 years sitting in your $ 11 million mansion at Martha’s Vineyard, writing books and delivering speeches to an audience that is constantly shrinking as your historic presidency goes down in history? Your former hype man, Joe Biden, is 79 and he’s still getting it. You just released a book, Renegades: Born in the United Statesbased on a series of podcast conversations with Bruce Springsteen, who hasn’t had a single hit in almost 30 years.
Lots of previously famous people who no longer have public spaces podcasts from home. Podcasting with washed music makes you look washed. We need to stay relevant. Nothing will make you more relevant than saving your host hometown from its current financial and criminal crisis. You brought the nation out of the Great Recession and bypassed Obamacare through the unanimous objections of the Republican Party. The mayor with your political imprints would return the alders to their traditional state of peaceful slavery. You would be next in a long line of mayors. Alternatively, you could oversee the construction of your Obama center. If you’re the mayor, the Guardians of History won’t be able to stop you from turning the entire Jackson Park into a monument to yourself. Since you have Secret Service security, we won’t need to assign you a police detail. Instead, we could put those cops on the street.
You would not be the first president with a political afterlife. John Quincy Adams was a congressman. William Howard Taft was the Chief Justice of the United States. You owe us more government services than we received from you. You were elected to the Senate for a six-year term thanks The Chicago tradition of politically empowering blacks, but spent only two years full-time before announcing his presidential campaign. Then, in less than two years of your presidency, you dumped Rama Emanuel in Chicago after he wasted his greetings as White House chief of staff. You also owe us for this, at least one term as mayor.
Michelle and Mrs. Robinson would like to return home. You can return to all your old places in Hyde Park: breakfast in Valois, viewing in Seminary Co-op, pickup in basketball in Promontory Park. That is, if it were possible to go public. Mayors are attracting a lot of attention in Chicago.