Again, I must start off by claiming political ignorance. I really don’t care, and I don’t care to know about most political issues, parties, legislation, etc. I’m still happy to spout off opinions based on nothing but life experiences and what I glance at online (like most of America).
I, like a lot of other people, predicted this. I’ve never seen so many tee shirts, bobble heads, calendars, mugs, ash trays, posters, buttons, stickers, plates, canvas bags and other ridiculous paraphernalia associated with any other president before Barack Obama began his campaign. At the same time, I’ve never seen the paparazzi, the media, or Americans in general, take such an almost obsessive interest in a politician’s personal life before this election either. What does the President like on his hamburgers and what does that say about his leadership skills? What does the First Lady’s skirt length say about her parenting skills? What does Obama’s graying hair say about the deficit?
What does our obsession over President Obama’s personal life say about our values as Americans and who’s to blame for this change in focus?
I remember when we were informed that President Clinton smoked pot. Oh my gosh! How dare the media release such private information about a President? From that moment on, we were scrutinizing the President’s choice of dog, his wife’s clothes, his kid’s school choice. But we weren’t giving nearly as much attention to legislature, policy making and how the administration was making changes that would impact us for years.
Now we have President Obama, a man who I’m still 25% sure was elected just because a lot of people really liked him. Not because he was a great politician or leader, but because he’s handsome, different, Black, and nice. I’m sorry, but when did those traits become qualifiers for a great leader?
All of that aside, I’m glad that we’re now giving ignorant people like myself who don’t know the first thing about politics but still love to have an opinion about everything something to weigh in on politics about, but what does that do to a presidency when you have someone in office who’s basically become an overnight celebrity on some Snooki-Jersey-Shore-type madness?
Seriously, why not just turn the Presidency into a reality TV show? Can’t be for security reasons, since anyone in America can go online and find out where Obama, his family and his dog are vacationing, visiting, speaking or using the bathroom.
Wait. Wait. I’ve been ranting all this time without qualifying my cynicism with a reason. Let’s go back.
This week, Obama is going to be interviewed by the Charlie’s Angels of daytime TV, the ladies of The View…again. Not a big deal, true, but the President is seriously becoming an almost uncomfortable presence on shows like Ellen, SNL, Leno, David Letterman, and even WWE? The Super Bowl à Obama appearance. Live WWE taping à Obama video. Was Obama consulted about how he felt about Lebron’s choice to go to Miami? Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Don’t get me wrong. Seeing Obama on TV is like watching Steve Jobs do a keynote speech for a new product, or at least it should be, right? No one asks what brand of turtleneck Steve Jobs wears when he does appearances. No one asks Steve what he thinks about the cast of The Hills, or if he approves of Miley Cyrus or Lady Gaga. Steve Jobs is taken way more seriously in the media that the POTUS. Isn’t that odd? Why is that?
Theory – the people who love you define how other people see you.
Apple fanatics love Steve Jobs. Love him. They say things like, “Steve Jobs makes products for us, because he knows what we want.” They respect him and see him a technological god. And that’s how they expect everyone to see him. It’s not about his car, his family, his home. To them, all they care about is him and what he does for them. And that’s how he’s portrayed – as an extension of the products that he makes for his consumers.
People love Obama. To them, he’s change. He’s the future. He’s progress. He’s also “one of us”, although he really isn’t. He’s the President. So we should start looking at him like that. He’s not a celebrity that we vote for like on American Idol. He’s the leader of our country. But the people who love him and voted for him want to see him as a person, which can sometimes get in the way of seeing him as a politician.
When the iPhone4 failed a little, Apple fans were frustrated, not with Steve, but with the product. When Obama fails to do something about unemployment, America doesn’t fail. “Our Obama” fails. Not fair at all. Not to President Obama. Not to the democratic party. And not to America.
So what’s the point? First off, none of this is the POTUS’s fault. I don’t think that he spends his days calling Ellen begging for another interview. It’s his media team, who are trying to clothe a politician in rock star clothing when he has better things to worry about. It’s the media, a pack of rabid hyenas ready to pounce and report on anything as long as it’s negative, sensational or just dirty. And it’s our fault, America, for wanting a president who was supposed to save Black people, charm the pants off every other country that hates us or we owe money to, and rebuild the United States as some utopia of open thought and prosperity, all with a smile, a twinkle and some charisma.
Let’s just let the President do his job and learn from the Apple addicts and MacHeads what true leader adoration really is.