If you support President Barack Obama and need a boost ahead of tonight’s debate, I suggest you take a stroll down the 400 block of S. 43rd Street. Look for a porch about a block up from Baltimore Avenue on the west side of the street. Trust me, you can’t miss it. That’s the “Obama Shrine.”
Jacqui Bowman and her daughter Ella Serpell have carried on a tradition they started during the 2008 election. Their porch shelters a growing collection of pro-Obama Barbie dolls, action figures, trinkets and signs (see the photo gallery below). People often stop and look and sometimes they even add things.
“It was kind of fun because you could tell everyone in the community really liked Obama and everyone was adding stuff to it,” said Serpell, who has grown up in the neighborhood.
Most importantly for Bowman and Serpell it’s a way to be involved in the election because they can’t vote. Bowman, who is from England, is not a citizen and Serpell, a high school student, is still a couple of years away from being eligible.
“My feeling is that if I can get one person to vote who wouldn’t have otherwise voted, then I’ve had my vote,” said Bowman, who has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years.
Obama Shrine even has its own Twitter feed, @obamashrine. The feed’s tagline is: “A non-citizen ObamaMama’s shameless attempt to influence the 2012 vote. It worked in 2008 and it is going to work in 2012! A doll a day keeps the Romney away!”
Bowman says she worries that people may be taking Obama’s re-election for granted.
“I think the trouble this time around is that there is a slight sense that there’s not as much enthusiasm so I just want to make it clear that there are many people out there who are as enthusiastic,” she said.
And Bowman says people should feel free to add things to the shrine. If it’s a Barbie, even better.
“If anyone has Barbies, please donate,” she said.