The Right to Privacy Should be Extended to the President’s Family

James Cantu

November 29th, 2017

President Obama is joined by Michelle and Malia after his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Children should not suffer the brunt of trying to live up to their parent’s successes or bare the weight of their failures. They should be judged by their own merit, in relation to their age and socioeconomic influences. After all, a well-off 12 year old performing at a 10th grade level is impressive, but not unheard of since his or her family would have the means to provide for books, tutors, and the like from an early age.

Respecting the autonomy of an individual that is separate from his or her parents has no age limit. As long as they’re susceptible to living under their parents shadow, the message is still the same: they’re not their parents, and their actions–to an extent– should not be a reflection of their parents.

The violation of a child’s privacy along with passing undo judgement could be seen in the media’s handling of President Trump’s youngest child, Barron Trump, and in former President Barack Obama’s eldest child, Malia Obama.

Although the Trumps and the Obamas are on opposite sides of the political aisle, both republicans and democrats, alike, came to the defense of both Barron and Malia.

11-year-old Barron Trump has been criticized by The Daily Caller on his wardrobe by entertainment reporter Ford Springer which made the rounds on the internet. Springer’s article received criticism by many, including Chelsea Clinton, who knows the pressures of being the child of a president, firsthand.

Chelsea Clinton reached out on twitter to defend Barron, a move that garnered respect by Barron’s mother, Melania Trump.

“It’s high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves,” Clinton tweeted.

A photo has been circulating around the internet of Malia Obama kissing a young man along with a video of Malia blowing smoke rings. The recreational use of cannabis is legal in Massachusetts as of December 15, 2016.

Ivanka Trump, also knowing firsthand the pressures of being the child of the president, along with Chelsea Clinton, came to Malia’s defense online.

“Malia Obama should be allowed the same privacy as her school-aged peers,”  Trump tweeted, “She is a young adult and private citizen, and should be OFF limits.”

“Malia Obama’s private life, as a young woman, a college student, a private citizen, should not be your clickbait,” Clinton tweeted, “Be better.”

Be still my beating heart, I guess there is something that Ivanka and I can agree on– no one should have their private life used as fodder for the masses, no matter who your parent is.

Although there are laws in place in certain states that protects children of celebrities from harassment by paparazzi, the right to privacy is only alluded in the constitution rather than explicitly stated. After all, the founding fathers never had to worry about unsavory photos or videos popping up on the front page of CNN or FOX News.

Respecting a person’s privacy and upholding those values through laws opens up a can of worms regarding free speech and censorship.

So, instead of focusing solely on preventing media from capitalizing on the private life of children and young adults, creating a culture that denounces the invasion of privacy of others for profit, or otherwise, would be more productive. After all, what benefit would a would-be journalist get from taking invasive photos or writing condescending clickbait articles if there was no market for it?

James Cantu

Opinions Editor

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