President Barack Obama and family added one additional member to the family last month, a Portuguese water dog named Bo. I am a bit annoyed at this turn of events. Here’s a long explanation:

I have been an Obama-follower for several years now. I first heard of Barack Obama when I was sitting on the barstool at Wrigleyville’s Full Shilling while drinking a Budweiser, eating a dollar burger smothered with blue cheese, and reading the 2004 election-year political candidate platforms in an independent newspaper. (Yes, I used to eat burgers, drink Bud, and even drink booze while reading…I still do read independent newspapers.) On that foggy, winter afternoon, I was taken by Barack’s candidacy platform. And I was excited when he won the Democratic primary. Months later he became a national figure when he appeared in front of the national television audience at the Democratic Convention. That speech he gave in late-July, 2004 only endeared him to me more. So, I took up the ballot in November and helped vote him to the Senate as a representative of Illinois.

 Several years later and early in the presidential primaries, my wife and I had a conversation with a couple of politically-savvy folks. Partly out of state loyalty, in part due to political intuition, I suggested that I thought Obama just might win the Democratic race. They didn’t buy it. Then, later that night back at home, my wife and I returned to the topic of that earlier discussion. No longer out of loyalty or intuition, but purely due to stubbornness, I insisted that Barack was the real deal. I’m sure I even ignored strong criticisms she raised against such a prediction. Certainly, I was zealous over his potential. From that night on, she labeled me a Barack-ophile. It seemed as though all of my family members started doing the same. As the painfully long election months wore on, I continued to cheer on and praise all things Obama.But Obama has won the election and I no longer feel the need to be so enthusiastic anymore. Now, I just want to be a regular observer of the President. But it’s not that simple. Other people recall my enthusiasm, my cheers for the candidate. My father-in-law still likes to criticize Obama every time I stop by the house simply because he thinks I’m all too nutty-for-Obama. If I bring up his name around most of my siblings, they prepare themselves to hear some sort of idolizing chatter. I had an intense argument with another family member that ended with Obama-insults directed toward me! For all these reasons I decided that I must try to minimize praise and heighten critical assessment of the President so as not to come across as an Obama-maniac. I must stop buying the magazines and not worry about defending him from all criticisms. In short, despite my feelings, I must present an image that is anything but Barack-ophile.

So now you ask, why am I annoyed that Obama has a dog? Well, it’s not that he has a dog; it’s that he’s named the dog Bo. My childhood hero was Bo Jackson–the dual-sport, superstar, professional athlete. And though Bo’s real name is Vincent, when I was 8 years old I had planned to use his nickname for a future son of mine. I quickly learned that the odds were low that I’d find a woman that would let me do such a thing. Eventually I decided that Bo would make a great name for a dog. Now, my wife and I are toying around with the idea of getting our own family dog. But with the President’s move, I just can’t name a dog of mine Bo. I’d never be able to explain the name to anyone. They wouldn’t believe me. I’d be accused, once again, of being nothing less than a blind follower of Barack Obama. Some people would probably even judge me. Hmm…maybe I should just be honest with myself. Darling, can we name the dog Barack?


Bo Jackson.

“Obama Family” image taken from:,,20272595,00.html.
“The Greatest Athlete” image take from:  





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