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200712_obama.jpgThe feeling was mutual, when it came to getting fired up.
By Leslie Minora / New York
NYU Livewire
Sunday, December 2, 2007

Leslie Minora checks out Barack Obama’s MySpace page. (Erica Sullivan)


Barack Obama has come too close for comfort. I went to his rally for just one reason: to shoot an assignment for my photojournalism class. But when I saw him, my imagination began to take hold. I was struck by his sharp jawline and enrapturing white smile; I was smitten by his charming baby face and charismatic air.

As he looked out at the crowd, I swear our eyes met for a second. I told myself I was just imagining this momentous connection. But I know what I felt was real. I left the rally blinded by my own infatuation and knowing my feelings for him would likely go unrequited.

Then the following day there was an email from him in my inbox. It began: “I’m just leaving New York, and you’ve got me fired up.”

I thought I was the one getting fired up, but apparently the feeling was mutual. I saved his email in my inbox, but did not respond. I did not want him to think that I was that easy or to immediately set myself up for heartbreak. I resolved to play hard to get, so he would not lose interest.

A few days later he sent another email. This one addressed me by name and told me about his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The email also asked me to donate $25 to his campaign. This was a little off-putting; we had not even officially met, and he was already asking me for money? But I tried to ignore my initial frustration and reminded myself that, after only a brief encounter, I had already received two emails from Barack! Not even men I’ve dated have been this straightforward. I was charmed by his frankness, his apparent distaste for dating games. Flattered, I kept my emotions in check — and again did not respond.

But I secretly searched for him on MySpace. I sifted through a bunch of impersonators until I found his official profile. But instead of finding common interests in sports and music, as I had expected, I found: “Status: Married” and “Of all my life experiences, I am most proud of my wife Michelle and my daughters Malia and Sasha.”

Married? How could he do this to me? I felt as though someone had torn out my heart and thrown it against a wall. I’d dreamt of our dinners together in the White House and of knocking on the Oval Office door to see how his day has been. How could he be so heartless as to string me along like this?

I went for a long walk to clear my mind. When I came back, I looked at my computer again, hoping for answers. And there it was — yet another email from Barack. He addressed me as “Dear Leslie.” He still remembered my name!

This time he asked for $100, because he did not have as much money as Hillary Clinton.

“The bum!” I thought. “How could he be so brazen to call me his ‘dear’ and hit me up for money again?”

I was fired up all right, but this time with anger, thinking of his poor wife and kids, and how they would feel if they knew about his emails to me. Then I got an email from Kristina from Kansas, a regular voter like me, reinforcing Barack’s request for money. It was then that it struck me. Barack was not emailing only me; thousands of people must be feeling my same heartache. Our personal connections to Barack were all feigned. We were all prey of a heartless campaign monster.

This new revolution of campaign propaganda is getting much too close for comfort. The personal space between public figures and private business is closing way too fast, and the media we depend upon for personal communication are being invaded. We’re letting candidates move more deeply into our lives — and falsely into our hearts — than they should ever be allowed to come.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, December 4, 2007 )
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He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence. —William Blake, British poet
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