Indeed, the president and his administration don’t seem to have much use for that space at all. Even the family, which naturally stands between the individual and the community, is not essential. In May, the Obama campaign produced a Web slideshow called “The Life of Julia,” which follows a woman through the different stages of life and shows the many ways in which she benefits from public policies that the president advocates. It was an extraordinarily revealing work of propaganda, and what it revealed was just what the president showed us in Roanoke: a vision of society consisting entirely of the individual and the state. Julia’s life is the product of her individual choices enabled by public policies. She has an exceptional amount of direct contact with the federal government, yet we never meet her family. At the age of 31, we are told, “Julia decides to have a child” and “benefits from maternal checkups, prenatal care, and free screenings under health care reform.” She later benefits from all manner of educational, economic, and social programs, and seems to require and depend upon no one but the president.
A similarly creepy lack of boundaries can be found in a surprising number of the Obama campaign’s appeals to voters. On June 21, the campaign sent supporters an e-mail purportedly from Michelle Obama, which read in part:
For the first 10 years of our marriage, Barack and I lived in an apartment in my hometown of Chicago. The winters there can be pretty harsh, but no matter how snowy or icy it got, Barack would head out into the cold — shovel in hand — to dig my car out before I went to work. In all our years of marriage, he’s always looked out for me. Now, I see that same commitment every day to you and to this country. The only way we’ll win this election is if we can rely on one another like that, all the way to November 6th.
The nation is thus seen as one big woman married to the president. The family is nothing that the government cannot be.