Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
October 20, 2008

Family Matters

Obama Hawaii Mom

What strikes me as most significant about this photo (which I just dug up from the newswire) is that I somehow never saw it before today.  It was taken during Obama’s vacation to Hawaii in August and shows him tossing a lei into the sea where his mother’s ashes were scattered.

Obama has consistently proved himself in the presidential contest as the candidate with the greater humility and deeper character.  In contrast to the opposition, Obama has strived to maintained a healthy boundary between his family, his personal life, and the campaign.

I like how this image is simultaneously personal and public, emotional and distant.  If  Obama becomes president, I’m eager to see how he straddles these poles at the head of the national table.  After eight years of supposed leadership from someone almost completely devoid of emotional intelligence, I believe Obama — with a high quotient — will not just protect his family, but will also pursue an active interest in developing a more personal relationship with the nation.

By the way, just like I wasn’t surprised to see McCain break a no-campaign promise and trade on the sanctity surrounding 9/11, I don’t expect the McCain campaign to exhibit any deference at all to Obama for his timeout, at this critical juncture, to be with his ailing grandmother. 



(image: Alex Brandon/AP.  Honolulu, Hawaii, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008)

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