For the last eight years, we’ve had a president for whom “celebrity-in-chief” was a more fitting moniker than “commander-in-chief.” While many of President Obama’s initial campaign promises have gone unfulfilled and his few actions in the Oval Office have led to disaster, he has enjoyed talking up his music playlists on TV shows such as “The View” and making late-night appearances where he can read mean tweets and slow-jam the news. He’s been the president of the elites — not a president of the people.
To celebrate the end of his two terms in office, Obama will be throwing one final party at the White House on Friday. The fancy affair will be packed with the coastal celebrity guests Obama loves to rub shoulders with — likely dressed in tux and tails or other formal attire, while children, veterans and out-of-work Americans go hungry, face crime, or struggle to find health insurance that meets their needs.
Potential guests at the big White House bash include Oprah Winfrey, Bradley Cooper, Jay Z, Usher, Stevie Wonder, George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, and many others. The president told People Magazine in August, “We are going to have a big party before we leave office.” He went on to describe it as a “grown-up party.”
“Grown-up” to the president means ignoring pressing national issues — many of which he has refused to address or made worse. But hey, he’s been working on creating that Hollywood persona that will help him in his post-presidential career, so the people can wait (and have waited all these years).
It’s ironic and speaks volumes about Obama that “celebrity-in-chief” has been such a fitting title — even Entertainment Weekly and Ebony have used it to describe him. This is true especially when you consider he is being replaced by a very real celebrity who hosted a show with the word “celebrity” in the title — someone who first earned the limelight by building a world-class business empire that employed thousands upon thousands of people.
Hillary Clinton took a page from her own president’s playbook and thought flashing celebrities in swing states and making smug late-night appearances would snag the White House. But Trump saw an under-representation by the elites and those in power of the millions of Americans who needed someone to stand for them.
Trump, no matter one’s opinion of him, had a platform that focused almost solely on the middle class and those affected negatively by eight years of Obama’s policies. When the current president in the White House throws taxpayer-funded parties attended by millionaire celebrities instead of working hard to fix the negative impacts of two wars or his disastrous health care policies, no wonder there is a disconnect felt by the American people and a hunger for someone who knows how to do more than pat celebs on the back and smile for selfies.
Obama has never changed his thinking or actions, though — so why should we expect him to now? All throughout his presidency, he’s spent more time appearing on lightweight television shows and hosting parties — the last one was his birthday in August, which included guests such as Ellen DeGeneres and John Legend — than appropriately addressing the very real issues before the nation.
Trump, meanwhile, continues to focus on the people who were forgotten during the last eight years. “The so-called ‘A’ list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!” Trump tweeted about his upcoming inauguration on Jan. 20.
Obama is bound to have a good time at his A-list bash. And there are surely many more to come in the Hollywood-beloved politician’s future. So as he celebrates his status the same way he always has, let’s bid adieu to the celebrity-in-chief before welcoming a new administration that will work for the people. This celebrity party seems a fitting moment for both the people and the president to bid farewell.