Thursday, April 16, 2009

Presidential Bobble Head Released Too Soon

American politics is often more colourful than our Canadian-home grown variety. Just compare our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to American President Barak Obama, and you’ll see quite a contrast in character, and popularity.

They even have action figures and bobble heads of the recently sworn-in American leader. While doing some window shopping the other day, I happened to see a sight which I’m still not sure how to react too.

I saw the President Barak Obama bobble head. It is a dignified – or at least as dignified as you can get in a bobble head – miniature of the man, in a sleek and stylish tux, with his face forming the trademark over-sized head.

The back of the box for this toy tells the story of how President Obama grew up, to become the first black president of the United States. Very patriotic, and if it wasn’t for the silliness of the whole thing, emphasized by the constant swaying of the giant head, I’d be impressed.

I can imagine kids waking up for Christmas, ripping open their presents, and jumping for joy at their own President Obama bobble head. Now they can all pretend to be the 44th president of the United States of America.

Today, action figures were released of President Obama, and his wife, the first-lady Michelle Obama. They even have a special effect built-in, you can pump up their muscles, by pressing a button which fills them with air.

Maybe I don’t venture into toy stores enough these days, but I don’t remember ever seeing Canadian prime minister bobble heads, or action figures.

I guess Prime Minister Brian Mulroney – despite doing an Irish jig with then U.S. President Ronald Regan in the 1980’s – just wasn’t bobble head material? And maybe Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau just was too direct for a kid’s toy, he did tell reporters to go f**** themselves on more than several occasions.

Though I don’t know why our current prime minister isn’t an action figure, he’s already managed to lead by misleading his way through not one, but two prematurely called federal elections with exactly the same results. Surely that calls for some sort of toy in his image? If not a bobble head, or action figure, maybe a Pez dispenser – though with all the dirty words flung around Parliament Hill these days, it probably wouldn’t be Pez which came out.

The real irony in seeing all these cool toys come out based on the American president is that although President Obama promises many wonderful things to come, he’s still too new in his job to have delivered on any of those promises.

Yes, he’s passed his economic recovery plan, begun the long and painful process of closing Guantanamo Bay, and has pledged to help various industries and sectors – most famously the auto industry – with government seed money to make it through the economic depression.

However, all of these – and many more of his programs – are still in the infancy of just getting started. We won’t know the results, good or bad, for some time.
Should we really be making President Obama into an action figure, before we even know if he’s one of the good guys – like G.I. Joe, or one of the bad guys – like the evil Scorpio?

President Obama’s leadership is historical, in the sense that he’s the first non-white leader of the States. This shows a much needed progression away from racism, bigotry and other forms of prejudice in that country.

But the real measure of any great leader isn’t by his or her victory at achieving the leader’s role, it is measured in the end, by what he or she did while running the show.

I think I’ll hold off getting my President Obama bobble head doll until I know a little more about how good, or bad, his leadership was for the States, for Canada, and for the world overall.

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