Creating hype is, after all, what we do now as a nation. We don't make cars very well, or anything useful; we do make everything superfluous, dated-seeming and ultimately disposable, even when it clearly isn't. We do this by relentlessly blathering on in the electronic media until it seems there is nothing left to say, even when there clearly is.
If newspapers are fading away, as some commentators keep crowing, then this is another reason to mourn the decline of print media. By its nature, it takes time to produce time to think a bit before speaking. It also requires a staff that, in the best cases, is far more experienced than the average talking head or blogger, and more on the line and dedicated to getting the story right.
Barack Obama cannot, repeat cannot live up to the juvenile gushing the media is endlessly shoveling well beyond the wealth of genuine excitement and enthusiasm of most Americans. Far better it would be if he, like Abraham Lincoln, had slipped into Washington on a train with his friends in fear for his life as he passed secessionist areas of Maryland, the nation on the verge of splitting in two.
Better, in some ways, if Mr. Obama faced the relentless cold depression March that Franklin Roosevelt encountered as he took the oath of office. Those long ago eras seem more concrete than our own, having occurred before the media was capable of creating simultaneous, parallel worlds of make believe.
The truth beneath the hype is that we are in very serious straits, a moment in which the United States could fall into permanent decline as a world power without a swift, sure righting of the ship of state.
And despite any warm thoughts anyone might conjure this week about a "coming together again" as a people, we have never been a harmonious people, but a clash of many interests. That has been our strength, but also a font of vicious infighting, distrust and, often enough as every African American knows irrational hatred and injustice.
We have, though, united on rare occasions to overcome whatever great challenge we then faced as a nation, and this may be another of those times. If Barack Obama, like FDR, Mr. Lincoln and George Washington, can make that happen, he will have pretty much lived up to all the insane hype he is getting this week.