Indiana Daily Student

Obama tries to maintain middle-class connection

President Barack Obama grew up experiencing the hardships of poverty and divorced parents. He is no stranger to the struggles of a middle-class family, whether during economic downturn or emotional turmoil.

In 1988, he entered Harvard Law School and became a Harvard Law Review editor. He served as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School for 12 years, becoming engaged in community service and civil rights law. 

His background is rooted in middle-class America. So why do “everyday Americans” claim to see him as detached from their concerns, as an elitist?

President Obama’s transformation from teacher to senator  to president is perhaps symbolic, representing the transformation those involved in America’s political process undergo.

Far from losing the public’s trust or respect, President Obama is trying to hold on to his connection with the average American — the understanding that he has been there and shares in the hardships of the people.

At times it appears he is required to empathize rather than sympathize with America’s plight due to the recent recession, which adversely affected millions of families across the nation.

As Obama became a part of our nation’s political system, perceptions about him changed. By many, he is seen as an “insider” working for or with the system rather than an “everyday American” striving to instigate reform.

To combat this, President Obama has visited factories, small towns and schools, taking on tough questions in an effort to prove that he is trying to change Washington for the better rather than become a part it in its current state. 

The problem lies in perception, however, when the president, arriving by helicopter or an armored car escort, goes to a small town to talk about his connection with the middle class.

Surrounded by police, secret service agents and other security personnel, unable to walk freely among the people or around the town, Obama does not exactly present a friendly image of an “everyday American.”

People forget that as the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth, the president cannot be both an extraordinary individual and a “common man.”

With the recent passage of the president’s budget to Congress, the atmosphere in Washington is heated as members of both the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats, try to balance their interests against the president’s goals. 

This is the crucial moment for his agenda, because it will be ineffective without funding. This is also the moment when Obama is most connected with the concerns of his constituents — the middle class — because his agenda is centered on revitalizing and increasing the size of the middle class, the “everyday Americans.”

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 Indiana Daily Student