Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Inauguration IS On TV, Right?

Maybe it's just a reaction coming from a guy who's had to keep a fairly close eye on his spending in recent months, but when I read this article in this morning's Washington Post, I pretty much wanted to hurl.

It turns out there are a lot of perfectly middle-class people who are willing to go considerably into debt in order to have the opportunity to attend the inauguration... Not just to travel to Washington, DC, but to go all out and do the whole Inaugural ball and rent a limo thing, as though this was some sort of senior prom. The Post article features a woman who is flying here from Oakland with her boyfriend and their three daughters, ages 13, 3 and 1, and is planning to put a minimum of 11,000 dollars on her credit card to do it.

Maya Dillard-Smith tells the Post, "When you say the amount, it sounds crazy, but this is history. I remember my mother taking me to see Nelson Mandela at the Oakland Coliseum, meeting Jesse Jackson and being there when Desmond Tutu came when I was a child. Because of the historic nature of this election, I want my daughters to be there to see this in the environment where it is happening."

That all sounds well and good, but when those things happened, Mom took her daughter down the street, not across the country. I do not want to diminish the significance of Obama's historic inauguration, but to me, this woman's rational for dragging her kids across the country for an event that the two youngest children will not even remember is not only foolish but irresponsible at a time when the nation is in recession.

Dillard-Smith works for the Oakland city government, and her boyfriend owns a small construction company. Those don't sound like the type of careers that will allow them to pay off an 11-thousand dollar credit card debt (and that assumes this is their ONLY credit card debt) in just a month of two. And what happens to their memorable and historic trip if one of the babies comes down with the flu or snow puts a damper on their plans?

Our country is in the shape it's in right now because we, the people, have been foolish enough to trade our good credit for stupid and irresponsible things like 11,000 dollar inauguration vacations. I don't see how anything this family is doing jives in any way with Barack Obama's call for change in America.

Sadly, it smacks of "same old, same old" America. Enjoy your trip.

No comments: