Obama Smokes Cigarettes
Even if you are completely apathetic about anything and everything concerning politics, you've probably heard that our president, Barack Obama, is a smoker. The commander in chief recently had a physical exam, and the *New York Times* reported that our leader's health was top notch. One thing his doctor suggested, though, is that he quit smoking.
Every smoker's been there. And I like picturing the president shuffling his feet in the doctor's office and glancing sideways as he sighs and says, “Yeah, I know I should...” He's just like me! It makes him kindred with any and every American smoker—more relatable and human, because he shares with us the guilt and embarrassment that comes with having a socially unacceptable vice.
I think it's great that the president smokes cigarettes. It's become clear in recent years that politicians cannot control themselves. Some are compulsive risk-takers, some are power-hungry sex addicts, and some are secretly violent. This type of behavior usually results in public shaming and firing. But then again, everybody has to have a release from the pressures of a high-profile job. I, for one, would rather our president's release be cigarettes. Not only is it a release I can relate to, having smoked since I was 17, it's one that he can be transparent about, and it won't scandalize the nation for years to come.
They're just cigarettes.
I don't know how it happened that, culturally, to roll up some dried leaves in paper and set them aflame, then inhale, began to be perceived as cool (and more recently as evil), but it did. It's not Obama's fault that it did, and it wasn't James Dean's fault either. Many presidents have used tobacco products. Kennedy was a secret smoker and Andrew Jackson used chewing tobacco. Back in the day everyone understood what it meant for a classy, dignified, well-dressed man in power to light up a cigarette. Sure, maybe they didn't know the health risks, but they knew it meant that the man in question was taking a moment for himself in the midst of life's unflinching chaos and discord.
President Obama, to be sure, deals with chaos, discord, and a long list of other terrifying realities by the minute. If he needs a stress release, who am I to judge him for strolling onto a White House balcony, feeling a slight breeze blow as twilight descends around him, looking upward as he drags on a Marlboro and takes a respite from his duties to the American people to simply enjoy a moment for himself? I do it, and compared to him I've got nothing to worry about.