By Samantha Jones
In case you haven’t heard, Chicago is saying goodbye to hosting the controversial G8 summit that was to be held this May 19-20.
President Obama moved the planned meeting from Chicago to Camp David; according to the White House, the meeting needed “to facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G8 partners”.
The meeting sparked much controversy since announcements were made that it would be held in the Windy City along with the NATO summit. Leaders from around the world would all meet in our city along with thousands of protestors and journalists. While the meetings would have clearly drawn large crowds to the city of Chicago, the damage that we would encounter was a constant concern for city officials and locals.
In light of the huge number of protestors last fall, Chicago police had estimated that the overlapping G8 and NATO summits could attract up to 10,000 protesters, says the Huffington Post.
There are no clear answers as to why the meeting was moved, but it appears that a variety of issues all worked together to change the president’s mind about hosting G-8 leaders in Chicago. Given the amount of destruction seen in the past at meetings and summits of this sort, the city would have seen violence, angry protestors and safety would have been a major concern, especially for Chicago police. There really was no telling how violent or peaceful the protests could be.
For Chicagoans living in the Loop, the G8 summit would have created many inconveniences. It is likely that entire blocks within the Loop would have been closed down, barring even locals from driving on city streets. Traffic congestion would have escalated- who would’ve thought that traffic could get worse in our city?
And we can’t kid ourselves; of course, election concerns were at play too. 2012 is an election year. It’s going to be a tough competition between Obama and one of the GOP hopefuls, no matter what anyone says. The state of the economy, gas prices and Obama’s approval rating prove that our country today is not in an ideal state for Obama’s reelection campaign efforts. If there was extreme violence, protests and even destruction in the city, Obama would be in the hot seat. People would blame him for not moving the summit and that would bring him farther from clinching the presidential election as he hopes.
Protestors credit the G8 moving to the Occupy Movement’s efforts last fall. The main argument protestors seem to be making is that such meetings and such people in power seem to ignore the ever-increasing poverty level.
“Our city is filled with tens of thousands of people who are struggling to keep their heads above water, fighting against the effects of the economic crisis caused by the leaders who would have been gathering here,” says Joe Iosbaker, one of the leaders of Occupy Chicago. “The communities of Chicago are fighting to save their schools, keep healthcare available, and to defend their jobs from cutbacks that are a hallmark of the governments of the G8.”
Although the change in location is regarded as a victory by the Occupy movement, Chicagoans still plan to go out on the streets and “speak out against the wars and their cutbacks are designed to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99% of the world,” exclaims Iosbaker.
Whether the protestors are correct in their accusations, whether the G8 meeting actually has good intentions and regardless of the controversies circulating around the reasons behind moving the G8 meeting location, the Candor believes that moving the G8 summit was the best choice for the city of Chicago. Not only will it reduce the amount of violence and number of arrests that were frequent in recent protests, but it will also maintain the respect and credibility of Chicagoan officers who will have to try and control the protesting. For those of you looking to witness a moment in our city’s history, you can still witness the NATO summit coming to our city May 20-21.