Jim Lindgren, on receiving an e-mail invitation from Michelle Obama to sign a birthday card for President Obama:
I find it hard to say precisely why I find this email a bit creepy. At one level this seems innocuous enough–and it is definitely not a big thing.Hmmmm.
At another level, asking millions of Americans to sign a birthday card for the President suggests a tone-deafness about the cult of personality. If we lived in a dictatorship, getting millions of subjects to celebrate the Dear Leader’s birthday would be routine, but in a free republic this appeal to get millions of citizens to celebrate a current president’s birthday strikes a discordant note to my ear.
No, I am not saying we are in a dictatorship; I am saying that because we are not, we should not be emulating the trappings characteristic of that fundamentally different sort of regime. Nor do I think this is particularly ominous, just a very small step in the wrong direction.
Last, it seems strange for Michelle Obama to be trying to get us to sign Barack’s birthday card when she is scheduled to be in Spain with [at least one of] her daughters during the President’s birthday.