I’ve been saying it for years now.
Armageddon and the demise of Western Civilization is just around the proverbial corner, and now I have concrete proof. (For this week, anyway. Every week there’s something new to throw onto the list. Let us not forget Anna Nicole, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Brangelina, global warming and wars, natural disasters and pestilence. This, my friends, is a bonfire of epic proportions.) The entire Detroit area (and possibly the rest of the world) is abuzz with recent events involving presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
You almost have to feel sorry for the poor guy. When he’s not fighting off the reverse race baiting and wacky conspiracy theory comments by his former pastor, Reverend Wright, he’s attempting to neutralize his association with confessed former domestic terrorist, William Ayers. Mr. O has been taken to task for lifting parts of his speeches from other politicians, for not wearing a flag pin on his lapel, and for his now-unfortunate middle name. The media has been relentless in dogging this candidate. Of course, the media is quick to snap at the heels of anything that smells like a news story, even if the event is a non-story. Barack Obama is only the latest pork chop on the agenda.
The new fallout deals with a recent trip to a local Chrysler plant. Peggy Agar, reporting for local television station WXYZ, asked the candidate a simple question. It wasn’t a hard question, but never have ten words loosely strung together and their quick answer caused so much mayhem. The question? “Senator, how are you going to help the American autoworkers?” The answer? “Hold on one second, sweetie,” and then Mr. Obama promised to get back to her, which, of course, being a politician, he didn’t.
Later the same day, Mr. Obama left a two-fold apologetic voicemail to Ms. Agar. First he apologized for not answering her question, and then he apologized for calling the reporter “sweetie.” (Note to country: he still didn’t answer the question.)
I felt minor annoyance when I learned about the brouhaha. Everyone and their uncle is talking about the “sweetie” incident. Tongues are wagging all over the state. On my way to an appointment this morning, I heard a couple of radio pundits dissecting the “sweetie” exchange with as much gusto as when the Twin Towers fell. Since when is being called “sweetie” a bad thing? When did tossing about meaningless terms of endearment automatically lower a person’s standing to axe murderer or lecherous lout? I mean, for God's sake, he didn't call her the C* word, the T* word, the S* word or the L* word. All of this over “sweetie” is going way over the top.
Personally speaking, I wouldn’t mind it if Barack Obama called me “sweetie.” In fact, if candidates Clinton and McCain wanted to hand me the “sweetie” moniker, I’d not only welcome it, I’d cherish it. I’d revel in it. I’d post the sound bite on my MySpace page and invite all my peeps to experience the wonderment. Someone, anyone calling me “sweetie” would be a damn good reason to break out the champagne and have a party.
You see, in my business, I’m on the phone all day long, and have long suffered a deluge of name calling from many a faceless customer. Also, I’ve been alive a long time; I’ve been called plenty of things, many of which are not acceptable in mixed company. There was a time when I might be irritated at being “Ma’am”ed by people, but I’ve since mellowed out. Believe me, I could be, and have been, called much worse.
My advice to Peggy Agar is simple. Smile. You’re in the news biz, but this is your fifteen minutes of fame. Maybe you can parlay the attention into a book deal. You know, "I Was Sweetied by Barack." Anyway, it turns out you’re not so special. It appears that Barack Obama calls everyone “sweetie.”