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President Obama's Selfie at Nelson Mandela Service--'Being Human' or Disrespectful?

President Obama took a selfie at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, sparking criticism from all around the world.
President Obama
Image by www.eonline.com

President Obama wants to be cool. He wants to be hip and he wants young Americans to like him. He prides himself on being fairly tech savvy and enjoys his Blackberry like most people in America. Lately, he has suffered a bit of a downturn in ratings and the folks who used to think he was cool are not quite so enamored with him. And after his little stunt at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, it is no wonder why. He probably has a really good excuse for disrespecting the man. Or it wasn’t him. Or maybe he didn’t realize he was sitting in a memorial service when he decided to take a selfie.

Yes, the President of the United States did something that is typically reserved for teens who want to show off. Now, taking a selfie from time to time is completely acceptable. It is very trendy and hip and we know Obama is hip. Unfortunately, most people follow a certain etiquette when taking selfies. But apparently those rules of conduct do not apply to the man who sits in the oval office. The picture of him taking a picture of himself with Prime Ministers David Cameron of Britain and Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark has sparked an international incident. What in the hell was he thinking?

In the picture, Obama and his pals are smiling big and looking as happy as clams as they sit in the service meant to honor a man who did more in his life than the 3 of these guys will ever do put together. Yet, they made light of the situation. It isn’t just a bunch of grumpy bloggers who took issue with the selfie. First Lady Michelle Obama was obviously not pleased by her husband’s antics. Clearly she got the memo on decorum at a memorial service.

In fact, Barack probably got an earful once the two were behind closed doors. In the picture that has gone viral, Michelle is seen staring straight ahead with her lips pursed. If ever there was a pissed off woman, Michelle Obama is it. It wasn’t just the posed picture that has sparked ire all around the world. The trio of political figures was spotted giggling and joking around as well. While some are defending the president’s actions and saying it shows his more human side, others are calling his behavior completely repulsive. It is disrespectful to act that way at any funeral or memorial. That isn’t breaking news. Most people understand the solemn nature of a memorial service and save the joking for the wake.

However, the service wasn’t exactly the typical funeral. Nelson Mandela was being celebrated by those who respected him. The photographer who took the picture says, “It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid.” While that does change things a little, it just seems so un-president like to engage in such behavior at such a public event. Have some dignity and save the selfies for home with the kids. And although Michelle Obama wasn’t exactly quite as giddy as her husband, a video does show she did crack a smile a time or two.

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