WASHINGTON -- The city is locked in the grip of a powerful "O-gasm." Trudging the length of the frozen Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, a body could acquire a countless bounty of worthless, tacky Obama memorabilia. Step right up and get your T-shirt with Obama's smiling face on it, or maybe one with a dollar bill emblazoned on the front with a picture of Obama, looking pensive, replacing George Washington. And what lady wouldn't want to wear a snazzy pair of Obama earrings, or even secretly sport her Obama panties?
What gentleman wouldn't look fresh tilting his left wrist to check his large Obama timepiece? Maybe you'd like a fly Obama keychain or even a sexy Obama scarf?
The shameless commercialism of it all is enough to turn the stomach, but what is worse is people are buying this crap. One skull cap in five has Obama's name on it. Everyone seems to be wearing apparel distributed by Pepsi that reads "Hope" and "Joy," with "O" decorated with a Pepsi logo. I suppose the people of Pepsi Company had an O-gasm as well.
The real evil here is not the enthusiasm generated by the election of the first U.S. black president. Clearly that is an occasion of note to which we should give special recognition. The real evil is the unabashed Obama idolatry.
It is, at best, untamed expectations for a president who, in his own words, faces the worst economy since the 1930s. At worst, it is a sinister indication of just how susceptible we Americans are to charismatic leaders in troubled times, who may or may not have the peoples' best interests in mind. Only time will tell.
At the moment my cynicism peaked today, brimming over into a full-on rage, something I saw restored my dwindling hope for America.
A group of soldiers in fatigues were marching down Maryland Avenue when two little boys, maybe 10 and 12 years old, ran up to greet and ask them questions. The soldiers stopped in the street, got down on their knees and spoke with the boys, ruffling their hair and laughing with them. Their mother, a Latino woman with chestnut hair flowing from under a knit cap, ran over and grabbed the children. The soldiers stopped her and asked whether she wanted to take a picture of the boys. The woman agreed.
The soldiers formed a rank around the boys and posed for the photograph. I'm not sure what about this moment moved me to the verge of tears, but I think it was the look on the boys' faces. They had a glint in their eyes and were so thrilled to have met the soldiers that their whole demeanor been uplifted. It was as if they had just me rock stars or action heroes.
My spirit had been restored. With all the sickening Obama mania that has gripped this city, it seemed I had found the only boys in Washington that had it right.
Contact staff writer David Larter at firstname.lastname@example.org
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