An international incident was touched off yesterday in Johannesburg, South Africa, when a goodwill appearance by President Obama was interrupted by an impromptu funeral.
Mr. Obama was generously posing for souvenir pictures of himself with fawning admirers at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City), when security people rolled in Nelson Mandela’s casket and demanded to have a memorial service. When questioned as to why they were disrupting Mr. Obama’s appearance, the security men offered no explanation aside from “we reserved the stadium last week for this.”
“This kind of thing is a constant problem for Mr. Obama” said one of his staff. “Everyone wants to bask in his sunshine, even the deceased.”
“Then again, it’s not surprising that the life-challenged are attracted to him as he was a fierce advocate for voting rights for the dead when he lived in Chicago.”
Other staff members told us that similar “crashing” incidents have become such an annoyance for the president, he has ordered his staff to avoid having him appear anywhere where there could possibly be a memorial service of a minor political figure going on.
“He was all set to go to London last June when we found out that whats-her-name Thatcher had died,” said a White House travel planner. “We just knew her people would be rolling her casket into the camera shot while Mr. Obama was signing autographs. After all, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. What did she ever do besides running a drug store?”
Reluctantly, the president agreed to cancel the trip. “It was hard to deny London the privilege of being with Barack, but what could he do? Suppose one of those idiots ran over his foot with the hearse; he could’ve been out of action for weeks!”
Despite his staff’s efforts, such episodes are likely to increase as Mr. Obama’s presidency comes to a close with the success of his crowning achievement – universal health care – even as more anonymous, relatively unimportant people continue to die.
Ironically then, Barack Obama finds himself a victim of his own success; but in a racist society like this one, how could it be any other way?
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Peoples Cube.