How To Lose Friends And Alienate People: The Barack Obama Birthday Edition
Imagine you received an invitation to a birthday party where the invitation read “In order to potentially attend this celebration, please bring $3 and you might be selected!” Not only would you feel pretty insignificant, you’d likely be offended and scoff at the idea of an entrance fee to a birthday party.
Well, that’s exactly how our down-to-earth President is celebrating his birthday, only he doesn’t send out one invitation with a request for cash: he sends out multiple invitations. If I received multiple birthday “invitations” in the mail hounding me for my hard-earned money… I might actually feel harassed.
The Obama reelection campaign has sent out email after email to supporters with lines such as “Last call: The President is heading home to Chicago for his birthday — and you could join him for the celebration. Pitch in $3 or whatever you can…” It causes me to pause and wonder, “If I treated my friends like this, would I even have any friends left by the time my birthday rolled around?”
In sifting through my Trash folder Inbox, I counted no less than four different emails (since July 17) about the president’s birthday, three of which contain pleas for $3 or more to attend a birthday celebration with the President of the United States. (If my friends received four separate reminders over a 2.5 week period about my birthday, they’d likely roll their eyes and reconsider our friendship… or at least pray that my ego deflated before my party.) Sure, one only has to contribute $3 and if selected, would have airfare paid for and that attendee would likely enjoy a very nice evening. That’s a pretty good return on that $3 investment.
But say you are not selected to attend this exclusive birthday bash – what have you gained? Nothing. You have simply donated some of your income to the president’s reelection campaign. And in this weak economy (which, I might add, the president presides over) most Americans aren’t willing to gamble with even a dollar of their own money.
On one hand, the capitalist in me applauds him – he has figured out how to capitalize monetarily on his own birthday. Heck, I’d love it if my friends gave me money and celebrated my birthday.
But my friends have integrity and like knowing that there aren’t cash strings attached to my friendship and loyalty. The fact that the president has turned his own birthday into a fundraiser is frankly, pathetic and a little bit disturbing. Nothing says “desperate” like “I’m the leader of the free world and I just don’t have quite enough friends willing to attend a birthday in my honor – would you give $3 to maybe show up and make me feel good? Thanks.”
In all honesty, I wish the president a happy and healthy 51st birthday. Bottoms up, Barack – I’ll keep my $3, thanks.
In case you’re curious, here’s an example of what one of the email invitations looks like: