Look, we’re not going to top that opening ceremony, with the dude running sideways in the sky, nor are we easily gonna top the sheer scale and wonder of the new architecture created in Beijing (though we should not lower our standards, by any means). But we can really outdo Beijing in one area, and that is public discourse. What’s more American than showing that we can put on a great show without locking up all the voices of dissent? The Olympics can stand for much more than a showcase for what Chicago is; it can be a forum for building consensus on what Chicago can be. This won’t be easy to accomplish, since Chicago government often resembles the one in Beijing more than the one in Washington, with a single party ruling with authoritarian power. But it’s worth a try.
Better air quality
Audience Comments: “Age requirements for gymnasts”; “Athletes to compete in the nude: Just like in old school Athens”; “Build an underwater Olympic City in Lake Michigan”;“Completely overhaul/redo the transit system. Create traffic lane for carpoolers”;“Don’t do anything Beijing did…i.e. stifle dissent, shut down industries, limit auto use…”; “Have Barney in the stands to distract their Gymnasts”; “Include bungee jumping off the Sears tower”
Best of Chicago 2008