On sixth avenue today, I passed a street vendor who offered the standard wares - statuettes of nyc scenes, the statue of liberty, the empire state building, photos of Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Mother Theresa, Barack Obama and even one of the entire Obama family. I stopped to ask him why (and to also express my displeasure) and he explained that he offered them because they sell. Every day. In fact, they're some of the first photos to go.
I voiced my displeasure despite my political support of Barack Obama as a candidate because I find this dangerous, on so many levels. First, Obama hasn't yet fulfilled even a fraction of what the others pictured accomplished in their lifetimes. I hope he does and even exceeds the expectations being set, though as those expectations continue to rise, in part as a result of such displays, that becomes a more and more distant possibility. Second, and even more importantly, several of the others pictured met unfortunate fates, taken from us before their times, largely because they were fighting for wholesale change against the establishement. Grouping Obama in the same camp concerns me because it fuels the ire of those most resistant to his candidacy and what an Obama administration may represent. Selling photos of a senator and presidential candidate on the street rubs the possibility of his leadership in their faces, almost daring them to do something about it. I can't think of a single example where excessive pride or hubris ever helped a cause. More often than not, it's a cause of downfall. In this case, let those of us supporting his cause display a quiet pride and a quiet excitement for what may come. Let's avoid rubbing it in others' faces. Doing so does nothing towards advancing our own efforts, but rather puts them further at risk.