In 2008, the President Obama “Hope” t-shirts and posters were everywhere, so popular that the image became iconic. You don’t see the image much anymore, with President Obama’s approval ratings sinking in the direction of the 40 percent level, according to the Real Clear Politics average. However, the “Hope” t-shirts are still being sold at a souvenir stand at Reagan National Airport for $12.99 apiece — although they don’t command nearly as much shelf space as brightly colored, generic “Washington D.C.” hoodies.
Yesterday morning in Washington, D.C., I walked past Ford’s Theater. A small, quaint red brick building among the modern concrete structures of downtown Washington, the theater looks as it did 150 years ago, on that terrible night when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.
It’s wonderful that Ford’s Theate still exists; so much of American history has been erased in our never-ending quest for bigger and better that it’s gratifying to see a place that played such an important part in our history has been preserved. So, too, has the house across the street where our greatest President died, and Edwin Stanton aptly said “Now he belongs to the ages.”
America being what it is, however, you won’t be surprised to learn that, among these sober living memorials to a dark chapter is a cheesy souvenir shop called Honest Abe Souvenir, which was having it’s grand opening as we walked by. Because, after witnessing the place where American history took a grim turn and a great man breathed his last, who wouldn’t want to buy an Honest Abe mug or T-shirt?
Today we celebrated Christmas by taking a long walk up the Champs Elysees, then veering over to the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as it has been during past visits, but the place was still packed — and the vendors still hawked rings of Eiffel Tower figurines, large and small. If the Eiffel Tower had not been created by Gustave Eiffel way back when, it would have to have been invented by souvenir peddlers.