Friday, March 20, 2009
The Other Sides of the Bubble
On his Leno visit to the Tonight Show last Friday, President Obama recounted how funny it is that the Secret Service won't let him walk 750 yards over an open field. Was he amused by their paranoia or ambivalent to the possibility that someone, somewhere, might be aiming at least a shoe in his direction?
Understanding life on the other side of the bubble is clearly a work in progress. To us, on the convex side, he is gigantic in all things, and so is our like and our dislike of him. He, on the other side, risks seeing his reflection as smaller than it truly is.
We must strive to see him as a regular man: energized by his accomplishment and the goodwill it has largely inspired and almost brazen in his confidence at turning right (or rather, left) angles from his predecessor's style and substance; yet, a man, at times so comfortable in his own skin that he forgets the suit that covers it.
Last week he temporarily forgot himself when he referred to his lame bowling attempt as "something like the Special Olympics," in response to Jay's derision. Many of us have or would have made that or a similar joke. One thing I hope he learns quicker than President Bush is what things the President can and cannot say (one can only hope he need not learn the same hard way what he can and cannot pronounce).
He must not forget that he is the President, even as he temporarily unwraps the bubble from his comfortable ego. He is no longer the hip Senator.
At the same time, we must not forget that he is a man, and that we will hold him accountable as a man because he asked us to do so.
On the plus side, he has potentially created the greatest fundraising opportunity the Special Olympics has ever seen. They need only ask him to appear and bowl at their next national event.