Being in the public eye can bring about public scrutiny that can be overwhelming and often unfair. I read this article yesterday that President Obama has already played more rounds of golf (24) in 9 months than President Bush played in 3 years. My first reaction was a little bit of frustration. I mean come on Pres. Obama we have thousands of people without a job, a war going on that is growing bigger by the minute, and a health care reform that seems to need some work, and you are playing golf? This could have been your reaction as well.
I do not hate President Obama. I just wanted to make sure that was clear right away. I support our President and am going to follow his leadership. This does not mean that I am not allowed to have an opinion though. Most ways to voice this opinion is to get a talk radio show, blog about it, or just complain to friends. If only I could do all three at once. But as I sat there and read the article I started to look at the scrutiny that we put on people in the public eye.
When you are in the public eye every move you make seems to be a losing campaign. I remember as a kid my parents were looking to buy a mini van (ya, my Dad is still pretty ashamed, it was purple none the less) they struggled with this purchase because they wanted to get a nice van that would last. I remember the first Sunday we drove to church in that mini van. I was a proud young feller driving in a new mini van and I wanted to make sure that I told everyone about our new purchase. I remember getting out of the van and telling anyone that was around that this was our new van. My mom did the whole snap her fingers to get my attention and then gave me the eye. I was use to this look and so I just assumed that in getting out of the car I did something wrong (this was the usual case anyway). I continued to tell people at church about our van. Telling them about how my dad purchased it and all the features, sliding double doors, bucket seats in the back, holds 8 people, you know all that cool van stuff. Not until church started did my mom tell me that I couldn’t tell people that we got a new van. I was pretty confused, why couldn’t we tell others that we had this awesome new barney looking mini van? “Because people will look at the van and then look at us and ask themselves if that was the wisest decision for us to be making with their money” my mom said. I could not understand what the issue was here. As I grew up I started to get a little bit of a better grip on the fact that if you work for a church every purchase you make is made with a lot of scrutiny.
In some way I think the same thing goes for the President. Every decision he makes, every mini van he purchases, and how he spends his free time is under so much scrutiny that he cannot win for losing. Everyone has a problem with something. As I read the story about how much Obama played golf I flashed back to the times of hearing about ministers afraid to buy a nicer house that had more room for their 4 kids because of people in the church would be upset that had that nice of a house. Or the minister that was more concerned about the impression he made on the church members than on his family. I know that the President and church staff is different. But I wonder how many times we put our expectations on someone unrealistically? Who cares about how much time President Obama plays golf, who cares about those purple mini vans that ministers buy so all of their family can ride together to church. Sure there needs to be some accountability, but what is the line that we draw? And when we draw that line, do we live by the same standards?