Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Between You and Me

Between you and me, I’ve had it with the Obamas.

It’s not their politics that gets me excited and excitable. Rather, it’s their lack of savoir-faire, their poor role modeling. They may appear elegant, sophisticated, urbane on the surface, but they disappoint upon deeper presentation.

You may recall back on September 21, 2009, I chastised the president for showing off his shins while sitting for an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News (http://nosocksneededanymore.blogspot.com/2009/09/presidential-shin.html). Presidents may reveal national security secrets if they so choose, but socks are intended to cover up, not expose skin.

Proper sock length for a president extends well beyond the ankle; in this area I found Obama to be lacking in leadership. He appeared to make it acceptable for all future interviewees (and interviewers) of the male gender to flaunt their skinny or flabby ankles. It gives me the willies just to think about this presidential no-no. Since that fateful miscue, Obama has refrained from compounding his fashion faux pas, at least to my discerning eye. Thank heaven for that.

But his wife has taken up the cudgel in insidious fashion to undermine the integrity of the English language. She has perpetuated the casual dismantling of a centuries-old rule of grammar, that the object of a preposition cannot be “I”, it must be “me”, whereas the subject of a sentence can be “I” but never “me”.

For those who might have missed television coverage of Michelle Obama’s surprise visit yesterday with Jill Biden to earthquake–ravaged Haiti, here’s a clip from CBS:
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6393134n&tag=contentMain;contentBody. You’ll notice early in the footage the first lady speaking at a microphone saying, “...a deeply moving day for Jill and I.”

Ouch! This Princeton University and Harvard Law School educated woman flaunts the rules of grammar. “For” is a preposition—she should have said, “a deeply moving day for Jill and ME.” Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s a link that provides more perspective: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/between-you-and-me.aspx.

You may say lots of people make this mistake. They do. But that doesn’t make it acceptable or correct. I expect more from the First Couple. I want leadership in more than just universal health care, nuclear disarmament, banking regulation, deficit reduction, education reform, equal opportunities for all, climate control, energy initiatives, foreign affairs, nutrition enhancement and a whole host of other presidential concerns. I want the Obamas to look and speak presidential.

We are, after all, living in an age when a pin-up ex-governor and an ex-pin-up model are the darlings of the Republican Party and its Tea Party cohorts. Will the American public reject thoughtful politicians in favor of those willing to pander to their plebian interests? I hope not. But 10 and six years ago we chose a president based on our belief that he’d be a good person to share a beer with, forgetting that he was on the wagon. So anything’s possible, between you and me.

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