As President Obama’s reign in office is almost over, the mainstream media is taking an even more critical look at his family members – specifically at his daughter Malia Obama. Before starting her first semester at Harvard next year, she decided to take a few months to experience life as a normal teenager.
The media has been sure to capture every candid moment of the 18-year-old. Things began to spiral out of control when Malia was seen smoking pot at Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago last month. Adding fuel to the media fire last week, a photo surfaced of Malia standing near a bong.
You might not think an 18-year-old smoking a controlled substance is a big deal, but the press thought differently of the first daughter’s actions. Even before the video surfaced, Malia has been put on an unrealistic pedestal as the president’s daughter. The reality is that she is a teenager who has always been the poster child of grace and class. Let’s not forgot to mention she’s been accepted into an Ivy League school.
She should not be criticized for how she chooses to live her life because of her father’s status as a public figure. In 2001, Jenna and Barbara Bush, daughters of newly-elected president George W. Bush, were caught trying to buy alcohol with a fake I.D. The Bush twins have had more than one brush with controversy, and the incidents made some people wonder if it would hurt their father’s image while in the Oval Office. Obviously it didn’t with most voters, as Bush was re- elected in 2004.
Not every teenager should be punished for doing what typical teenagers do in their spare time. There are far greater issues at stake across the country than whether Malia “inhaled” at a music concert. The real question should be, “Why does anyone care?”
No doubt people in the public eye are held to a higher standard, but in this case, Malia seems to have been targeted unnecessarily and unfairly. After all, she wasn’t elected by voters; her father was. The real focus should be on the president and his policies, not his teenage daughter who has had to deal with the spotlight for eight years.
Some might ask if Malia’s actions reflect badly on her parents, and they might, depending on how involved the Obamas are in Malia’s life. Certainly, serving as the Commander in Chief is a full- time job. But do the voters who twice elected President Obama really want to know everything his daughter is doing? Most voters probably wouldn’t be aware of it if not for the 24-hour news cycle.
The real concern seems to be whether Malia’s apparent lack of judgment reflects on the president’s ability to do his job, but despite what talking heads on TV may tell you, the two don’t go hand-in-hand.