NATO’d Out

May 18, 2012 at 11:59 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

So the North American Treaty Organization is having their summit in Chicago this weekend, the same weekend that the Cubs and the Sox have their annual cross-town classic.  I am so, so glad to be catching a bus to Indiana at 6pm today but unfortunately that doesn’t mean I get to entirely escape the madness.


The NATO summit is a pretty big deal as all of the leaders in North America will be gathering for meetings on Sunday and Monday.  There are hoards of protesters descending on the city and while I absolutely support the right to protest and I have empathy for what they’re protesting about, I’m not totally thrilled that any of this is taking place in the city in which I live and work.  Protesters are upset over a litany of complaints and chief among them is the fact that NATO is backing many foreign wars where we’re spending billions of dollars while cities in America are in dire need of some of that cash flow.  Education for many in the States is abysmal, infrastructure is aged and crumbling, citizen debt is higher than it ever has been and unemployment is right along there with it, so these are definitely valid concerns.  However, there is a city-wide fear that the protesters will turn ugly and that everyone needs to watch their backs.  I know many people who are off of work both today and on Monday and many more who will be working from home.  My train was almost empty this morning and Metra commuter trains won’t be allowing anyone aboard who’s carrying any sort of purse, backpack or liquid.  We’ve all been advised not to wear business clothes on Monday, as it could make us more susceptible to attacks.  All of the museums along Museum Campus will be closed, as will major roads and part of the highway.  Security is crazy and there are extra patrols all over the city, both in the air and on the ground.  I even read that Milwaukee has a contingency plan in case the entire city has to be evacuated (a very long shot, to be fair).  I’m not excited about working in the Sears Willis Tower during all of this but I don’t have much of a choice, even though many of the higher-ups here will be out until Tuesday (apparently one of the partners here doesn’t want her car to get messed up – to hell with her employees).  Must be nice.

I’ve heard reports of protesters dressed as clowns and hurling pies and balloons full of urine and feces on police officers (yeah WTF), which is just nuts.  I’m hoping that most people remain peaceful and remember that the citizens of Chicago had no say over this summit and we’re just trying to pay our bills but I can tell you right now if I get hit with a pie or crap-filled balloon, I will not be working on Monday.  The whole thing is kind of weird to watch from 51 floors up in the sky and while part of me thinks it would be exciting and informative to be down on the ground where the action is, I do have that pesky job that keeps me chained to my desk.  And since I’ve gotten used to a roof over my head and food in my belly, I think I’ll stay here until my day is done.

Which doesn’t mean I won’t be following everything from afar.  And luckily, at least for a little while, that means I’ll be watching from the comfort of my aunt’s couch in Indiana.  Now if I can just make it to the bus stop without getting something thrown at me I’ll be all set!


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