November 4th, 2008
10:37 PM ET
5 years ago

Greene: Grant Park– A city looking over its own shoulders

ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS

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Photo by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN)– City of the big shoulders, Carl Sandburg called it, and the phrase has become part of the national lexicon.

But the strangest thing is going on in Chicago tonight:

In Grant Park, uncounted thousands of people, with more pouring in by the minute, are staring at a giant television screen above the stage where, at some point tonight, Barack Obama will stand.

And behind the people– behind their backs, wrapping around the park– the high-rise buildings appear to be looking over their shoulders, gazing at the huge screen. It’s an illusion, but that’s the appearance of it– that kind neck-craning civic anticipation.

Political preferences aside, something is going on here tonight. Everyone– and seemingly everything– is stretching to get a good view.

There are beams from Hollywood-style Klieg lights shooting toward the blackness of the sky– a little out of place in the capital of the Midwest, but this is no ordinary night– and a crescent moon peers down upon security helicopters buzzing the field.

It’s hard to guess what passengers in jets heading right now for O’Hare or Midway airports must make of this– unless they realize that what they’re seeing is a gathering for Obama, they might wonder why such a churning crowd has gathered for a concert at which there is no performer up on the stage.

They’ll undoubtedly look down from those airliners in the November sky: just more people peering over the shoulders of a city on a night like none seen here before.


Filed under: Bob Greene • Election Express
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