Super Sky High Expectations.
It’s presidential inauguration week and lots of folks are very excited, their hopes sky high, perhaps too high.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore patriotic things, like the Fourth of July’s celebration of the Declaration of Independence, with which I annually torture my three children by reading portions aloud. I’m fond of channeling my inner Mr. Smith Goes to Washington by talking politics at the dinner table and waxing on at length about the beauty and responsibility of voting. So when Barack Obama raises his hand to take the oath of office as the nation’s 44th president, I will be glued to a TV screen eager to be inspired by the fact that I’m witnessing our nation’s peaceful transfer of power and then enjoying sterling speechifying.
But here’s the thing. I’m concerned that too many people have their heads in the clouds and are projecting so many of their dreams and aspirations onto the shoulders of Obama and his family that the collective weight of those desires will be too much. In the past few weeks leading up to the inauguration, I’ve seen people portray Barack Obama in the following ways:
- Super-Feminist. His image graces the cover of Ms. Magazine showing him ripping open his suit to reveal a black T-shirt underneath that says, “This is what a feminist looks like.” With a high-achieving working mom like Michelle by his side (a real work-life balance spokeswoman who’s curiously NOT on the cover), Barack has been likened to a superhero, the Superman of the feminist movement.
- Super-Dad. He recently wrote a letter to his daughters that was published in Parade in which he tried to explain why he ran for president. After becoming a father, he said that he realized his life was about more than just him. “. . .[T]he two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day,” he wrote. Obama concluded: “I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace and humor as we prepare our new together in the White House. Love Dad.”
- Super-Son-in-Law. Remember that photo of Barack holding hands with his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, as the presidential election returns came in? Well now that son-in-law is going to be president and is welcoming his outspoken mother-in-law into the White House, despite the fact that this living arrangement is on-going fodder for the late night comedy shows.