It's Not You, It's Me
Letter from a young, hip, cynical former Obamamaniac.
I know it's kind of lame to break up with you on Valentine's Day. And on the Internet to boot. But it's also kind of ironic. And that's what I need to tell you. As an ironic, contrarian, so-hip-it-hurts Gen X-er, I just can't love you anymore. I can't like you because … because, well, everyone else does. And suddenly supporting you just seems soooo last week.
Last week, my hip friends were all thronging stadiums and manning phone banks for you. Now they're all blogging against you and downing water and Tylenol like they've just done 12 Obama shooters in 20 minutes and then barfed in the cloakroom.
I know this is going to sound strange, but it's not you, Barack, it's me. Really it always was me, but now it's really, really about me. I don't know when we started to feel weird supporting you, but: My friend Hanna thinks it started with that "Yes We Can," video. I mean, last week I was totally crying watching it. Now just thinking about how choked up I got gives me the creeps. I think I felt something at the time, but even if I did, I'm pretty sure I don't want to feel it anymore. Feeling inspired is soooo early-February.
Or maybe it started when everyone began madly posting last week about how you are not the Messiah. And that got me thinking. Then, when commentators started accusing me of being a venomous drone in a "cult of personality," I just needed to get out. I mean cults are soooo 1970s. And cults of personality? So totally first century.
Cult or no cult, this week I just started getting really confused about you. I mean, when people start to say that your strengths are actually weaknesses? That just makes sense, if you really think about it. I mean, what's the point of being such an inspirational speaker if all you can do is give inspirational speeches? Do better, Barack. I mean, do worse!
So I've been thinking a lot about our time together, Barack. Supporting you wholeheartedly was the best damn 14 days of my life. I liked you before liking you was cool. But now it is, so it's not. Know what I mean? At least now I can go back to being flip and cynical and edgy again. I bet you wish you could, too.
But don't be sad! My friend has a Web site: IlikedObamabeforehewascool.com. It's not much of a site, but it sure is funny. As for me, well, I just can't be comfortable liking you now that liking you is like liking an iPhone. Maybe if you can be more of a jerk or play hard to get or something? Maybe you could uninspire some of your fans? Maybe then I could believe in you again. I'm hopeful. Or at least just hopeful enough to still be cool.
Me, I'm going to roll up my sleeves and start working for the Dennis Kucinich 2012 campaign. Edgy, no? And if things start really truly going south for you, I want you to know that you can count on my future fleeting and conditional support in the months and years ahead. Yes, you can.
Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate.
Photograph of Barack Obama by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.