The road to the White House is paved with tote bags. Also champagne flutes, baby onesies, toddler tees, grown-up tees and a blue-and-gold golf divot tool, retailing for the entirely manageable price of $15.
America, it is time to commemorate. On Thursday, the Presidential Inaugural Committee launched the 57th Presidential Inauguration Commemorative Collection, which is the official online retail outlet for Barack Obama’s second inauguration. A brick-and-mortar will follow later this month in D.C. But for now, the merchandise (all made in the USA) can be perused online (https://store.2013pic.org).
A $25 motorcade mug? Click. Some $15 Obama tube socks? Click. A $7,500 medallion set? Maybe not, although the medallions are “official," come in gold, silver and bronze, and include a decorative display box.
A news release explains it all. “The memorabilia will reflect the PIC’s official theme for the 57th Presidential Inauguration: ‘Our People. Our Future,’ which expresses the belief that this inauguration is not just a celebration of a president, it’s a celebration of the American people."
America loves commemoration, almost as much as it loves nostalgia. Politically speaking, we have loved commemorations ever since George Washington’s inauguration, when 26 known varieties of buttons were produced for public purchasing, and since 1893, when Grover Cleveland’s bust topped a silver inauguration spoon, and since 1981 and ’85, when people celebrated Ronald Reagan’s inauguration with key chains and swizzle sticks.
The official Commemorative Collection is only the beginning of the ways in which citizens will memorialize with memorabilia. Soon the street vendors will start up, down on the National Mall.
The proceeds of the PIC’s sales support a weekend’s worth of inaugural events. Inauguration Day is Jan. 21 this year.