Barack, I think we should see other people
Published: Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 2:29 p.m.
According to a CNN poll conducted in December 2009, many African-Americans are still supportive of President Barack Obama, but they say “the thrill is gone” from his presidency.
Like so many whirlwind relationships, it seems the flames of desire that once burned with the intensity of a thousand suns have finally been snuffed. While this may be a surprise to some, America's love affair with Obama has followed a fairly predictable arc.
We first locked eyes with Obama from across the smoky Senate floor as he orated and legislated with a panache we just hadn't seen in other statesmen. Our hearts fluttered as he sauntered over, whispered his best pickup platform in our ears and asked if he could buy us a hope cocktail.
We were unsure about him at first. He was younger than most of the other White House hopefuls we had been with before, but his lack of experience was cute and endearing. After our last abusive presidential relationship, we were ready for someone new. Not a rogue or an outsider, necessarily, just someone different.
As we got to know him, we found out he was exactly that. He regaled us with stories about his unorthodox childhood, his experiences with drugs and his eventual matriculation at an Ivy League school. We were impressed, but we still doubted if he was “The One.” Something about that middle name.
Despite our trepidation, we took a chance and made a bold move. In June 2008, we gave Barack Obama a spare key to our apartment and asked if he would move in as our Democratic presidential nominee.
We didn't always get along, and some of the things he brought with him didn't fit with the décor we worked so hard to establish. His antique position on same-sex marriage clashed with our postmodern surroundings, and his vote for the FISA Amendment Act of 2008 really threw off the feng shui.
Still, we loved to listen to him talk. As long as the vaguely inspiring platitudes kept coming, we were putty in his hands.
“Baby,” he'd say over his goat cheese arugula salad, “change doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.” And we ate it up.
By the time the November election rolled around, we were feverish with Obamamania. When our friends suggested that maybe we should take it slow, we screamed at them that they could never understand our love. There was no one who could take his place, and without him we just didn't want to go on living.
So on Nov. 4, 2008, we took the plunge. We stepped in the voting booth and consummated our commitment to a new era with the pull of a lever, the fill of a bubble or the unsatisfying — and probably fraudulent — touch of a computer screen.
Oh, yes we did.
But the honeymoon couldn't last forever. As the months went by, Afghanistan began to explode while Iraq continued to burn, and we questioned where the peaceful man we once knew had gone.
“Someone gave him a prize for this?” we asked skeptically.
We began to see the Bush administration's lipstick on the collars of his shirts as subpoenas for White House officials involved in torture and wiretapping evaporated like so much cheap cologne. We grew tired of waiting for him to return to our liberal nest at the end of each day. Some nights he didn't even come home at all.
It was then that the spell lifted. Obama wasn't Superman, capable of reversing the rotation of the earth to erase the last eight years. He was just another politician twisted by the system into breaking our poor, uninsured hearts.
Judging from the CNN poll, we will soon decide to quietly pack our things, move into our mother's house and leave a note on our president's pillow.
“Barack,” the note will say, “I think we should see other people.”
Contact John Houder at firstname.lastname@example.org
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