Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I only watched about five minutes or so of The Speech. From all indications, this is a different Obama that was sworn in, than the one that we saw election night. The thing that's important to realize, and we should hope that Obama understands, is that this a really big deal. I don't remember an inauguration that was this big an event. I think I might have been busy the day W. took office. Perhaps I was deliberately busy.

Let's put it in perspective. It was a big deal when MLK gave his "I have a dream" speech. A quarter million people, give or take, were there at the National Mall. I've read estimates as high as four million for Obama's inauguration. The speech was like 12 minutes long. I guess MLK's speech wasn't much longer.

But think of it. What is it about this guy that makes people so happy? Why this guy? Is it simply a case of being in the right place at the right time? Are the cosmic forces simply aligning on this one dude in such a way as to give him this sort of power over people? Perhaps that's harsh. People are willingly giving him the power to inspire hope.

Let's try and look at this objectively. He's a human being. A well-educated, intelligent, politically savvy human being. But, nonetheless, a human being. It's interesting that, in genetic terms, being black is just about meaningless. But the cultural effect of it, the visual effect of a darker skinned human, is profound.

Add in the fact that he has probably the most unsympathetic name in the history of American politics, and you're looking at a damned near disaster. And yet he won. Just two hours ago, he was sworn in as President. El Presidente. Commander-in-Chief. It's a big deal.

What brand of cigarette does he smoke, do you think? Judging by the picture, I'd say Marb Reds. But then again, Camel Filters also have the brown mottled filter. It's obviously not a light. It's probably not a menthol. But then again, who's to say that's his regular brand? I don't even know where the picture's from.

Fox News ran a story back in 2007: "Would you vote for a smoker as president?" Apparently over half of the voting public would. That's interesting. Fox will do anything to tarnish this guy's appeal. And yet... none of it took. A few people are still convinced that he's Muslim, but they're solidly in the minority. The guy is spotless. Dave Gibson (oh, beautiful Fox) called smoking Obama's "dirty little secret." Whoop-de-doo.

The crazy thing is, that's all we've been able to get. Even in the weeks since the election, nobody's managed to dig up any dirt on the guy.

And maybe that's it. There was so much dirt on Bush even before he was elected, and we still put in him in office. Obama needed to be absolutely spotless to have an ice cube's chance in hell at getting elected. I might even wager a guess that the fact that he's a smoker helped him get elected.

I wonder if he smokes around his kids.

I wonder if he'll smoke in the Oval Office. I asked some friends what they thought, and they figured it would be illegal. That he couldn't do it. But let's just imagine a situation where Obama lights up a smoke right there behind his desk. Do you honestly think anyone's going to stop him? He's the fucking President! He can smoke wherever he damn well pleases. It's not like he'd be the first person to smoke in the Oval Office. Plenty of presidents were smokers.

Anyway, there's too much here to wrap my brain around. Maybe in the next few weeks, we'll be able to figure out why this is such a big deal. Perhaps you have some suggestions?

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