I’m not the type to say, “I told you so.” Besides, I don’t really have to because events eventually end up doing it for me. If you’ve been reading this column, you know by now that I called the Obama presidency in April of 2007 — and was the first writer in America to do so. Hillary Clinton was still “inevitable” back then and the country wasn’t ready to elect a fresh, green, black president — or so “they” said. I also correctly called the Obama inauguration as the “cultural, social, and political event of a generation; like Woodstock meets the march on Washington” in April of 2008, before the rest of the talking heads and elite opinion makers had even called the Democratic primary. If your friendly neighborhood columnist was the kind of guy who patted himself on the back, my elbows would be dislocated by now.
This year, I’m not waiting until April to make my Official Groundbreaking Prediction. My OGP of 2009 is that starting this fall, America will experience a baby boom the likes of which the country hasn’t seen since the years following World War II, with the most popular baby names being Barack, Michelle, and Obama, or some variation of the three.
I make this statement with the same confidence with which I made my OGP’s in 2007 and 2008 because, luckily for me, I was there on the National Mall for the Obama inauguration. I also got there a few days early and stayed in Washington, D.C. for the rest of the week; walking, talking, eating, drinking (and drinking, and drinking), and being on the ground among the people — though I never made it to Southeast.
So I can tell you the feeling that we’re all in this together, which kept two million people warm as we stood outside in the bitter cold for the better part of six hours, didn’t dissipate when the ceremony and the balls were relegated to memory and YouTube (by the way, I challenge anyone to watch the video of Kanye doing “Love Lockdown” at the Youth Ball and tell me with a straight face that he should be trying to sing — seriously).
The best way to describe the feeling we all felt leading up to, during, and after the event is love. Nothing else does it justice. We really loved each other and, from what I hear, it could be felt from D.C. all the way out to Santa Monica. With love in the air from coast-to-coast and a bitter cold gripping large parts of the country (where it isn’t 70 degrees and sunny every day like it is here) and keeping people indoors, what do you think grown men and grown women are going to be doing? I’d draw you a picture, but I only have so much space to work with.
As I walked the streets of our nation’s capital last week, I couldn’t help but notice how much Obama merchandise was available for sale. And when I passed the “Everything Obama” store on U Street (which has a 310 area code for some strange reason), it hit me: if the president would just copyright his name and image and license it for sale, he could single-handedly end this Great Recession. If a couple of cents of each dollar spent on Obama stickers, posters, buttons, hats, ties, pins, water bottles, bags, jackets, sweatshirts, watches, bracelets, throw blankets, puzzles, calendars, and even action figures could go into the U.S. Treasury, we’d be in the black (no pun intended) in no time.
Even if he doesn’t, he’s still going to get us out of this financial pickle — whether the Republicans in Congress go along with his stimulus package or not — because of the impending baby boom. The people are going to stimulate their own packages (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and consumer spending, the Great White Whale of economics will pick up significantly when all the Barack Obama Smiths and Baracka Michelle Stevensons start being born in late September. Because any parent will tell you that children (with their incessant need to eat, sleep indoors in comfortable beds, wear clothing and shoes, and carry the latest “Iron Man,” “Hello Kitty,” or “High School Musical” backpack to school) are expensive. Not to mention the cost of sending them somewhere while Mommy and Daddy go off to work to earn the money to pay for all that stuff.
That magical animal, “growth,” that every business depends on for survival and that our ailing economy needs just to get back to zero isn’t going to come from an act of government; it’s going to come from an act of love. And it’s that love, in the form of beautiful American babies, that will get us out of the hole we’ve dug for ourselves.
Remember where you read it first.
Kenny Mack is a multi-platform content provider living in Santa Monica who is shopping his book, “Word In Edgewise: The Collected Opinions of America’s Smartest Columnist” to forward-thinking publishers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org