Best Friends at the Fraternity

imagesI was at a fraternity party. Barack was the president of the fraternity and it was very apparent to me and him that he would soon be president of the USA. He and I were best friends around that time and I wanted to call, write, and email everybody I knew from past decades of my life to tell them that I was best friends of the future President of the USA. Also, as a way of helping him win the election, I worked with his dog and small children to explain that the camera was always on them so they needed to watch what they say and do (even though he didn’t have a dog and small children). As I was leaving the fraternity for a few weeks and I knew I wouldn’t see Barack for a while, I went up to give him a hug… but we decided to do a regular handshake instead. And, to show a bit of distance between us, we didn’t even use the secret fraternity handshake… we just did a normal one. This was my fourth dream of Barack Obama. In each one, he and I are best friends.

From a 62-year old software developer in Arizona, January 10, 2010

The dreamer said when he awoke “I was surprised that I was not, in fact, Barack’s best friend.” 

Many dreams of Obama have a vivid, highly realistic quality that can make it temporarily difficult to distinguish waking and dreaming.  The carry-over effects of such dreams add to their memorability and impact on people’s thoughts and behavior.

The dreamer here, a liberal Democrat, says the experience corresponds to his waking views of Obama: “I always liked him (once I heard his comments on the Beatitudes).”

The reference may be to Obama’s comments on March 2, 2008,  an Ohio church in which he said, regarding religious concerns about same-sex marriage, that his religious faith puts more emphasis on the moral inclusiveness of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (best expressed in the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-10) than on some “obscure” anti-homosexuality verses in Romans (1:26-32). 

Although the dream came nearly a year into Obama’s administration, it portrays an earlier time in political and perhaps personal life, when the dreamer was of an age to attend fraternity parties.  Yet he is apparently aware of his current age, too, as he thinks about people to call “from past decades of my life.”

Twice in the dream he shows a sensitivity to appearances and self-disclosure, first in teaching media relations 101 to the small children and dog (!), second in refraining from saying goodbye to Obama in a way that expresses the depths of their intimacy.

The move toward some degree of distance and psychological separation from Obama may be a healthy thing for his supporters and his political movement, even if it translates into temporarily softening poll numbers.   Extreme idealization of a politician too often leads to angry disillusionment.  Better in the long term to dial back the reverence, abstain from frat bro hugs, and take comfort in the human touch of a regular handshake.