Following the example of thousands of concerned families around the country, the Obamas are preparing for the worst-case outcome of complete social collapse by starting a garden on the White House lawn. In past eras presidents have put in swimming pools and bowling alleys, but times are grimmer and their choice of lifestyle enhancements represents an awareness that for many survival and keeping food on the table have become bigger concerns than entertainment or exercise.
The Obamas' victory garden is going to be 1100 square feet and visible from the street, like a beacon to the homeless and hungry who congregate in Lafayette Park in ever-growing numbers. It follows in the tradition of presidential vegetable gardens maintained by Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt, but with a more modern and fashionable selection of vegetables, including a healthy selection of soul food greens and trendy peppers and leaf vegetables. They hope to turn out enough vegetables to provide for family meals and lay some organically grown pride on the table for visiting dignitaries.
Of course, the rest of us who may be following the Obamas' example by necessity, rather than as a hobby or symbolic gesture, might want to focus on more practcal food sources than arugula and exotic herbs. For us, it's likely to be potatoes for the high carb content and chickens for the eggs and occasional bit of meat protein. Add in winter cabbage, onions and summer tomatoes and you've got a viable peasant diet. Since the current goal of our government appears to reduce us all to living like peasants, being prepared with low-cost, high volume garden items is essential.
If the Obamas are setting an example by planting a garden to feed their family they are also sending a message, and maybe not the one they intend. They're telling us we'd better learn to be self-reliant, because while there are many things which government may take from us, we really can't count on it to take care of us, to feed our families or provide us with any real security. It's a little hint of the truth which Obama can't admit to the followers for whom he promised to create an all-encompassing nanny state — the truth that if times get really hard there's a limit to what the government can do and when it gets as bad as his policies are going to make it, we'll be on our own and relying on our little gardens.