Obama & Company: Headlines

January 4, 2009

I just switched over to BBC News and saw yet another headline involving Barack Obama. Not surprising, I realize. Yet in this one and the others like it lining the papers and websites now the new President is tangential. The story to be found on your front page today concerns the Obama family, particularly Michelle and the couple’s 2 daughters. The headline reads “Obama family moves to Washington” and goes on to detail the family’s move into the Hay-Adams Hotel before they will make their more permanent move to the White House.

Obama Family

Obama Family

The attention being paid to this story, which seems otherwise irrelevant with such issues as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the economic catastrophe, suggests to me an important social shift that will redistribute the political weight of the country. As occurred with the oft-compared presidency of John F. Kennedy, the Kennedy family unit took precedence. They set trends, became members of each American’s extended family, and became components of the Camelot ideal. I think with Barack Obama and his family, this is their future. Michelle Obama has already been called a style icon (maybe maverick), wearing classical looks by the best fashion houses, as well as more manageable pieces from retail-giant Target. The kids, whil avoiding the spot light, are continually used in pieces about getting ice cream with their famous father, all of which contributes to a softened image for the new President.

This could be what this country needs, a family unit to rally behind. To break the divide that seems to break the country in half every two years, we need something to soften harsh, blind politics. This could do it. And while these stories are irrelevant, I see the purpose in them. It worries me that the administration has this much control over the media or that the media is so biased. But to get that family image out there is good in the end, I suppose.


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