Tuesday, December 9, 2008

ObaMania™ And The Cult Of Personality.

[Editor's Note: Pessimism alert! You've been forewarned.]

Anyone who has read this blog for any period of time knows I'm an Obama supporter, but I'm emphatically not an Obama Stan. And there's a huuuuge difference between the two. I gave my money, time, and even days off work to help Barry get elected. Not necessarily because I was all wrapped up in "change" and "making history", but because I thought he was the best guy for the job. Period. Enough of America agreed, and in a month or so, Barack and The Fam will pull the U-Haul up to 1600 Penn Ave.

I'm happy for the guy and happy our country made the right choice, but I've never been so much of a supporter that I could suspend logic and not be critical of some things he's done and said. I (wrongly) asserted that he needed to play more offense during this election season. I thought his "cling to guns and religion" statement was a massive faux pas that could have blown the election and one that he never adequately clarified. I disagreed with his initial hesitance to support offshore drilling. Didn't like his wiretap vote. I didn't agree with some of his cabinet level appointments. I don't like how he's wavering on repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. But I still support him anyway, because when taken as a whole, he's still the best guy for the gig, by a mile.

That said, he's not immune to criticism and won't be getting a free ride from AB.com. It's not being a "hater" to question the job performance of The President Of The Freakin' Free World. When he messes up, I'll call him out. He's a grown man who has no problem with being held accountable, and hold him accountable I shall.

That said, it amazes me that some folks, even with November 4th in the rearview mirror, are still high off the fumes of Obamania and damn near losing their minds as Inauguration Day nears.

In my DC suburban county, a huge brouhaha erupted when many parents (mostly white, FYI) wanted the school board to shutdown operations on January 20th so that kids could attend the inauguration. The superintendent disagreed and lots of folks overlooked his years of service as the head of one of the highest performing districts in the country. They wanted his head on a platter. How dare he stand in the way of their kids and an historic day on The Mall?

This is nothing though. In New York City, an elementary school has already been renamed for Obama. There are plans in Cleveland to do the same. Opa-locka, Florida is renaming a street in his honor. Never mind the fact that dude isn't even officially President yet.

Not to be outdone, a rural Alabama county recently declared the second Monday in November "Barack Obama Day." All 40 county employees will have this day off with pay from now till infinity.

The final straw, however, is the bullshiggedy I read in my local paper the other day.
In the mood to celebrate President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration at a D.C. bar? For four days in January, they'll be open 24 hours a day.

Under emergency legislation approved by the D.C. Council yesterday, any District establishment with a liquor license, including restaurants and nightclubs, will be allowed to serve alcohol until 5 a.m. -- three hours later than usual -- and serve food round-the-clock from Jan. 17 until the morning after Obama's swearing-in on Jan. 20.

In an ordinary week, bars and nightclubs can serve alcohol until 2 a.m. weekdays and until 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The only day the city regularly extends drinking hours is Jan. 1, when bars can serve alcohol until 4 a.m.

The bill, an idea of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, was introduced by council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who represents the nightlife-heavy neighborhoods of Adams Morgan and Mount Pleasant.

With large crowds expected to come to Washington for the inauguration, the city must be able to meet their entertainment demands, Graham had said while introducing the measure. But Mendelson, chairman of the council's Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, countered, warning of increased crime, violence and drunken driving.
Anyone who's ever been the DC knows this is going to end badly. Very badly. Just think about it.

Millions of Clueless Out of Towners + Extended Drankin' Hours + Economic Recession = Uptown Mugging Spree!!!

A lot of folks will get a rude introduction to The Real DC. Not Washington, DC. Not "The Nation's Capitol". Not "The Most Powerful City In The World". Nope, I'm talkin' about plain ole' DC. And trust me, some of it won't be pretty.

Ray Charles could see that the aim is the make DC seem less stodgy and more lively and hospitable for the millions who'll visit the non-Federal part of the city for the first time. This is also throwing a figurative bone to nightclubs and other local watering holes effected by the economic downturn. But the net result is going to ultimately be a serious black eye when some notable out-of-towner gets held up at gunpoint stumbling out of Madame's Organ at 4am. Even the mayor and local authorities have acknowledged as much. I can already see the headlines on TMZ.

The bigger point I'm lazily trying to get at is that all these incidents seem to indicate that some think the Obama Presidency is going to be the cure to all that ails America. He'll usher in a "post-racial" society in which the color of one's skin takes a back seat to one's character. Black children who've never dreamt of anything beyond an NBA career will suddenly morph into Rhodes scholars. White folks will be magically absolved of all the residual guilt of slavery and Jim Crow. Michelle Obama will make statuesque, smart, brownskinned women the new standard of American beauty. Black men will marry their baby mamas and we'll all become Huxtables. The Obama girls will keep a generation tweens in ghettos nationwide off the pole and on the road to Princeton. Racism and hatred as we know it will cease. The heavens will open, and milk, honey, and Capri Suns with stream down on everyone. [pause]

I don't wanna rain on anyone's parade, nor do I want to downplay the effect of being vicariously inspired by another person's trailblazing accomplishments. But seriously, let's fall back from the pie in the sky "hope"s for "change".

As much as I've enjoyed the continual displays of pride of Obama's ascent, it somewhat bugs me that people are only now getting interested in voting. As if things haven't been screwed up before now. What does it say about the black community that we can only get sufficiently motivated to do better when there's finally a black dude in power? Wouldn't the academic achievement gap be motivation enough? Wouldn't the millions of kids born into wedlock yearly be enough? Wouldn't the thousands of black men who die at the hands of other black men each year be enough? Wouldn't the proliferation of auto-tune/vocoders on urban radio be enough?

Part of the pride of Obamania sounds like the old Black Savior mentality personified. Namely, we're waiting for someone to save us when the saving can be done by people just "doing better" and not expecting or needing someone else to motivate/inspire them to greater things. And that's why as much as I expect Barry to do a great job as President, I just know Black America is going to get buyer's remorse and turn on the guy sooner or later. He's not Jesus, he's just the President. We're collectively putting too much weight on the shoulders of a guy who's barely a buck and a quarter to handle.

Reality is, Obama can help this country best by simply doing a good job. He's never promised anything more than being competent, which honestly, is more than enough for me. Let's let him focus on the gig, and in his own words we should "be the change we're waiting on". The fact that he pushed public service as a cornerstone of his campaign is proof of this. Any guy willing to promise college students a $4000 tax credit for volunteering clearly knows what time it is. The gubb'ment can't fix everything, despite how charismatic and inspiring it's leader is. The rest is on us.

Stop expecting Barry to crip-walk on water and save your own damn community. Take The AverageBro Challenge™ and start being part of the solution. Lord knows we've heard enough about the problem.

Question: Is Obamania getting out of hand? Do you think people expect far too much from a politician who likely will have has less effect on their day-to-day lives than their mayor? Are we building Obama up to only tear him down? Is it too soon to start renaming schools and repaving roads in Barry's honor or should dude spend a day in office first?

Council Lengthens Bar Hours During Inaugural Period [WashPost]

Councilman wants Cleveland school named for Obama [Cleveland Examiner]

Save the date: Ala. county passes Obama holiday [AP]

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