This morning I was reading the headlines of the news and one particular top news story just jumped out at me. The headline was “ OBAMA SWATS PESKY FLY DURING INTERVIEW!”  I sat there not knowing what to think. I mean, this headline was sandwiched in between news of the protests in Iran and all of the taxpayer money that is being funneled to the IMF and I couldn’t help but be puzzled. The more I pondered it, the more absurd it seemed but the less baffled I was. After all, President Obama is in every sense a truly celebrity President. He hits the late night talk shows, photographers hide behind bushes to get shots of him with his shirt off and his baseball cap on backwards and it has been reported that he has invited rappers and hip hop artists galore to entertain at the White House. So I suppose in our culture that is consumed with celebrities from where they live to what they eat and wear and to every minute detail of their lives, we should not be surprised by the fact the media is reporting the story of how he swatted a fly during an interview. One can even click on the internet and watch the amazing way in which he killed the fly by slapping his left hand with his right hand. The camera then pans down to the carpet and zooms in on the dead fly. Amazing. Folks, I am sincerely trying not to be sarcastic or facetious in this blog because I have promised myself to try to avoid a sarcastic tone in all of my writing yet I just have to ask “Why?”  I just have to ask why we have elevated our newly elected president to an almost savior like status. It is a question worthy of an answer. I will be the first to recognize the fact that he is the first black President and that alone merits recognition and celebration as his election to the highest office in the land was history making. I applaud him for that and I also can appreciate what a victory and milestone this accomplishment was for African Americans all over our country. I would never want to take away the inner joy, pride and satisfaction that they and others of all races feel in Barak Obama winning the election. I saw many elderly folks of all races and nationalities who were interviewed during the week of the election and many with tears in their eyes said how this was an event that they never thought that they would see in their lifetime and I know that these folks were sincerely moved over the significance and meaning of this particular inauguration.  Even though I did not vote for Barak Obama, I felt a gladness for folks who had waited and hoped for this day for a long time. I honestly was happy for them in the midst of my worry and concern for our country and the direction it might be taking with this new President. I do however, hold a deep regard for the office of the President and so I attempt to be as supportive and respectful as I can in terms of praying for President Obama and staying as aware as possible about current events affecting our country.

 

      Having said all of that, I am deeply concerned however about the way that many of the people in our nation view our president. To me, it is dangerous and alarming when the media is so consumed with minutia surrounding our President that they are focusing on superficial, shallow tidbits of information about him much like they do about the likes of Brittany Spears and Brad Pitt. I do not really care if he killed a fly; perhaps that is because I have performed the same feat several times during my life and so have scores of ten year olds. I don’t care about seeing pictures of our President snapped wearing his baseball hat on backwards because my teenaged sons wore theirs like that all the time until they grew up, reached adulthood and just didn’t consider sporting their hat like that to be a top priority on the cool list any more. I don’t really need to see pictures of the President running around  shirtless and I don’t really care about how Beyonce was blown away and in tears over the fact that she was going to perform for the president at the White House. I also don’t need to know that Barak Obama is the first President to not feel it necessary to wear a coat and tie in the oval office because he is just more casual than all previous Presidents. What I would like to know is that the dignity of the office is not going to be so compromised by the year 2012 that other nations will begin to view the position of the President of the United States in a different light. We are ignorant if we think that other countries, other powers are not cognizant of the fact that many in our country have reached almost a level of idol worship of our President. In their minds he has become a messiah of sorts who will solve all problems, correct all wrongs and soothe all their hurts and hardships. This is precisely why so many are happy to hand over so much control and power to our ever enlarging government. They welcome the interference and meddling in their private lives that the government is more than happy to engage in. It simply appeals to the minds of folks who crave a personal connection if you will with someone of celebrity status. One might think that the superificial, shallow, and silly headline of the president swatting a fly really is not significant but it truly is. It is indicative that the media can count on the same interest in that news story as they can about Angelina Jolie breaking a strap on one of her sandals. Who cares? Lots of folks…and that’s precisely the problem. Make no mistake about it, it is not lost on this President that there are masses out there swooning and crying at his oratorical talent and that he has reached rock star status in their minds. He is well aware of this and that sort of attention and adulation carries with it an enormous sensation of power.  The only problem with that is that power corrupts. That is a well known and proven fact and one that I hope and pray the country wakes up to before it is too late. The one good piece of news is that the next time you swat a fly, be encouraged as you might hear a click of a camera and a flash of light and you just might be on the evening news. Then again, maybe not because you are not sitting in the oval office doing all sorts of other important things, like perhaps running our country. What will be the next headline…President Obama stepped on a crack in the sidewalk?  He wiped his brow?  He coughed ? Are you laughing? Don’t be. It’s where we are at. Please think and consider where you stand. Our country needs you.