Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Change and Hope in Union Station

Last week, a colleague walked into my office excited about a NoBama button (similar to this one) [See correction in the next post.] that she'd just bought at a kiosk in Union Station. What's remarkable is not that she was excited or had bought an anti-Obama button, but that she could buy it in Union Station. Since well before the inauguration, Union Station has offered a wide variety of Obama paraphernalia, with anything that might offend the Obama faithful banished from sight. The Obama worship climaxed during inauguration with numerous kiosks selling a nauseating assortment of Obama t-shirts, buttons, key chains, and other merchandise.

In recent months, most of the Obama kiosks have disappeared, but an Obama store/shrine opened just outside one of the main entrances to the Metro (subway) system—presumably one of the prime retail spots in Union Station. Fortunately, this is not the entrance that I frequent.

My colleague's NoBama button sparked my curiosity, so I took a break and walked over to Union Station to see what other subversive material was available. Much to my surprise, almost half of the items at a kiosk near the front entrance were now anti-Obama, including two of the four t-shirts prominently displayed: “NoBama. Keep the Change” and "Don't Blame Me. I Voted for McCain-Palin." Until recently, this kiosk had sold only pro-Obama items, so I have tried to ignore it when walking by.

I asked the attendant about the anti-Obama items, and she said that they had been carrying them for about a month and helpfully added that they had sparked a lot of interest and had been selling rather well. The next day, armed with my camera, I tried to take a picture of the kiosk, but the attendant (a different one) told me I couldn’t take a picture. I doubt she could have made it stick legally--it is a public area--but I didn’t want to make a scene so I complied. Instead, I took a picture of the Obama shrine (see above), where the attendants were less vigilant. Perhaps they thought I was one of the faithful.

If nothing else, this is a return to normalcy with opposition viewpoints again displayed in Union Station. (The opposition was always well represented during the Bush Administration.) Apparently, the anti-Obama forces have strengthened to the point that at least one merchant dared to break the monopoly of Obama paraphernalia to make an honest dollar--a small victory for capitalism in the nation's capital and a sign of hope.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I know I posted this several days after tomorrow. Life beyond the blog intervened.



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