An underrated part of Barack Obama’s success as a public figure is that he is, by every indication there is, an outstanding husband, father and family man, a president who has often eschewed fundraising and Washington schmoozing to have dinner with his family multiple nights each week. Obama has been married all along to his first wife, with not a hint of any scandal, and it’s pretty fair to say that if the first black president, like Donald Trump, had fathered five children by three different women while openly bragging about his infidelities, he never would have gotten near the White House.
By every indication, despite growing up in the fishbowl of the White House with an ever-present Secret Service detail, the president’s daughters appear to be lovely, honorable young women who are headed for professional success after their father leaves the White House. But now, sadly, there’s an odious, disgusting effort to paint the president’s older daughter, Malia, as a “wild child” who is “out of control.”
The Lollapalooza “Scandal”
First, it was reported that Malia Obama had “skipped” the Democratic National Convention to attend the #Lollapalooza movie festival, as though it’s customary for the children of convention speakers who aren’t the party’s nominee to attend the DNC (and that the first day of the festival, July 28, was the last of the DNC, so it wasn't an either/or.)
In the days afterward came “scandalous” photos, from garbage tabloid outlets Radar Online and the Trump-bootlicking National Enquirer. Malia “twerked," the photos showed, while wearing a suggestive outfit. And, in a video obtained by Radar, Malia was “caught on camera,” smoking “pot” (there’s no way to prove it’s actually marijuana, hence the scare quotes.) Radar Online describes the alleged puff, following the earlier twerking, as “a new low.”
So, #Malia Obama danced at a music festival, and may have taken a puff on a joint. You know who else has done that? Just about everyone who’s ever been to Lollapalooza, or any other music festival in the U.S.
Leave aside that marijuana use isn’t nearly as scandalous as it used to be, or that Malia has not been accused of doing anything that hurt anyone in any way. Or the implication about the Obamas’ parenting skills being undercut by Malia being 18-years-old and therefore legally an adult.
What did you do when you were 18? Did you smoke any joints, go to any music festivals? Did you dance suggestively? How would your 18-year-old self have looked under spiteful tabloid scrutiny? Because I don’t feel like most people in America would pass that test. Nor should they ever have to.
The party of hating black teenagers
It’s pretty clear that the more unscrupulous political opponents of Barack Obama have been chomping at the bit, for years, to go after the president’s kids. After all, there’s no one today's right wing has more contempt for than black teenagers -- see the 2013 smear campaign against Trayvon Martin, which implied that as 17-year-old who has smoked marijuana, he pretty much deserves a violent death. Or the “outrage,” today, that Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas neglected to place her hand on her heart during the National Anthem after winning the Olympic gold medal. (Which is a more likely explanation -- that Douglas secretly hates America? Or that, after two hours of intense athletic competition that led to a gold medal for her country, she forgot to put her hand up?) And now there's Malia Obama's completely innocuous Lollapalooza adventure.
Seven and a half years into the Obama presidency, this is literally all they’ve come up with -- that the president’s 18-year-old daughter, instead of attending a political convention she had no reason to be at, went to a music festival, danced, and may or may not have taken a puff from a joint. Even by tabloid standards, this is disgusting. And if taking one drag on a joint is a “new low,” I can imagine much worse lows. #Tabloidtrash