Barack Obama is a former law professor at The University of Chicago, his wife is Vice President of Community Affairs here at the hospital, he lives fifteen minutes away by foot, we make up a substantial bulk of his constituency, yet he has had virtually no association with this school in the last few years. He launched his book tour at the local Powell’s Bookstore in October, but that’s about it.
His absence, it should be noted, is not due to a lack of support on campus. 396 University of Chicago students are part of a Facebook group called “Students for Obama.” Hundreds more are part of groups advocating his candidacy for the Presidency. Many people have asked him to visit, including The University of Chicago Democrats and me. The Democrats on campus have not heard anything back, and I certainly have not either. On March 13th, Jen Psaki, Obama’s spokeswoman, informed us that “he would love to do that and that this is hometown, and I’m sure he will be coming to campus soon.” On May 2nd, Bill Burton, Obama’s national press secretary, stated that “it’s not a bad idea and we’ll see what kind of possibility that is.” I hope these words turn out to be true, but they seem to lack veracity.
There are different theories put out there for why he has not come. A 2nd year at The University of Chicago believes he does not want to take a photo with a predominantly white school in a black neighborhood. A current law student here argues that Obama does not want to be associated with a very conservative law school. Another first year says he thinks Obama simply does not care about the community. Nobody knows the reason, but as of now it looks like he clearly does not care about his local community.
I have made an extensive effort to get Obama to speak here and/or come on my radio show. I have emailed his chief political strategist, David Axelrod who went to the University of Chicago and never got a response on the matter. I personally went up to his house and asked his secret service to see if I can speak to him, which only resulted in their collecting all of my information so that they could do a background search on me. His campaign would probably continue to say that he is going to come and that he has just been busy. But that is not good enough. Until he comes, this should raise eyebrows. The question remains: how much does this man really care about his neighbors?