September 23, 2010

A Matter of Life and Death

If the photo above — the one that popped up in so many “picture of the day” galleries yesterday — is the money shot, I think the one below is just as interesting.

Why? Because of the way Obama’s embrace of this women with cancer is juxtaposed with such an impersonal angle on Health Secretary Sebellius.

It’s all well and good for Obama to descend on America’s middle class backyards in an attempt to look less distant, aloof, cerebral, etc. What the “cancer woman” photo does, however (beyond offering a President who is warmer and more “in touch,” this being of limited value as an all-too-obvious piece of PR) is show a visceral connection between Obama, the public and the health care legislation he invested so much political capital in (and yes, scored such a major victory with). Sure, it’s only one picture, but in embracing this woman, Obama actually and finally interjects a show of heart into an issue that is, after all, a matter of life-and-death, and also, forgawdsakes, offers up some rebuttal to the incessant GOP drone that it’s “Obamacare” that is ailing America.

(image 2: Jim Young/Reuters. U.S. President Barack Obama (L) speaks to Gail O’Brien (C) who attended a town hall meeting in the yard of a residential house as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius leaves the event in Falls Church, Virginia, September 22, 2010.)

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Michael Shaw
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