Four questions regarding yesterday’s inaugural hoopla. One is serious, and other three are a little lighter.
1. Much has been made of the idea that Obama is our “first African-American President,” and that America is finally not judging a leader by the color of his skin. Isn’t calling Barack Obama “African-American” an act of clearly judging him based on the color of his skin? I ask that question not because it uses the term “African-American;” instead, I ask it because he is not African-American. Shouldn’t we be saying “Obama is our first Black President?” And before anyone protests my use of the word “Black,” let me preemptively say that Black is the politically correct term for this particular race (the US Census Burea via the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs designate the official ‘politically correct’ terminology at any given time).
“African-American” is a term used to designate a citizen of the United States who has ancestral origins in Africa, most likely because those ancestors were brought here for slavery. Much attention has been give to the fact that Obama’s mother is white and his father is Kenyan, which means he was not brought to America for slavery. Black people in Kenya, and almost every other country in the world, are refered to as “Black” because that is their skin color; they are not called “African-American.” In fact, the US Census, which as I pointed about above, recognizes that your race can be “Black” or “African-American.”
Obama has a Caucasian mother and a Black father. He is an American with an African father, but he is not African-American. He is just as much Caucasian as he is Black, so calling him “African-American” means he is being judged entirely on the color of his skin. That, my friends, is a true examply of irony!
2. Obama was attending inaugural balls and celebrating until 3am last night. He then woke up early today to begin his first full day as President. He has a full schedule of meeting with aides, dignitaries, and visitors (citizens who won a contest through his website), signing proclamations and decrees, and doing the other things a president does on day 1. As a result, several news outlets made a big deal about the President starting Day One very early after a late night.
My question is this: how does the President wake up in the morning? Does he use his own alarm clock that he bought for $20 at Target because it provides the option of waking up to buzzer, radio, or mp3? Or does he have the world’s greatest alarm clock, engineered just for him by top scientists, and capable of triggering the exact right brain waves to wake him? Or does an intern have the job of coming in each morning and gently nudging his presidential foot until he wakes up?
3. Finally, Barack and Michelle were out last night. So who looked after daughters Malia and Sasha? Did the Obamas look through Craigslist for an available babysitter? Did some unlucky Secret Service agent get stuck playing tea party and watching High School Musical 3 with the girls? Did the First Mother-in-Law spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom? Did they ask George W. Bush if he had any recommendations?
[Update: I have since been informed that Mrs. Robinson, the First Mother-in-Law, lives in the White House and babysat Malia and Sasha on Tuesday night. They did, in fact, watch “High School Musical 3” — which I suggested in jest!]
4. What do you think W did last night? I bet he did the same thing I did: he turned on ABC at 9pm to watch Scrubs, only to find out it wasn’t on because ABC was broadcasting the Inaugural Ball all night. I bet he screamed and cursed just as loud as me, too. As The Todd would say: “Ex-President Five!”