By Angel Eggerson, Contributor
Somehow, talking about being at the forefront of technology and begging young Americans to become teachers just does not draw as much attention as firing your entire cabinet amid riots in the streets.
In the grand scheme of 24-hour news cycles, President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 25, fell kind of flat amid the “We Are the World” setting on Capitol Hill, where good little Democrats and Republicans sat next to each other listening to every word the president said. Republicans listened for discrepancies, while Democrats waited to give the expected “Right on, Mr. President!”
While American politicians were giving interviews on what they thought about the President’s spiel on education, technology and spending freezes, something bigger simmered in North Africa. With little Tunisia leading the way, the “Arab street” organized and overturned its oppressive government. President Obama was impressed enough to give them a shout out in his address.
Tuesday, America was still at the top of the news cycle with speeches, counter-speeches, White House officials resigning and a severely-injured politician. Even with a small country overturning its government, the U.S. of A. was still front and center, until Friday, when all hell broke loose in Egypt.
Seemingly energized by their tiny neighbor, Egypt’s citizens took to the streets to voice their disdain for the country’s sham of a democracy and, specifically, President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled since 1981. While Cairo burned and tanks rolled through the streets, Egypt’s president was nowhere to be seen.
When he did appear, Mubarak did not disappoint. It was mid-afternoon when, finally, his government released a statement that he would have a “very important” announcement for his less-than-adoring public. That was all that was needed to send Al-Jazeera, CNN, BBC and all other news outlets into a frenzy.
What would he say? Would he give the statement himself, or would one of his cronies? Everyone, including me, wanted to know.
Mubarak appeared to address the unrest in the streets. I didn’t even understand what he was saying and had to be fed his message through an interpreter. But already he had my interest piqued more than my own president did. “We do big things” was great, but a dictator sweating bullets was a little more interesting.
Then, he announced he would be firing his whole cabinet! Of course, little did we know, he planned to hire most of them back the next day to serve the government in some capacity. They want to get rid of you, so you get rid of everyone except you.
In order to be king of the 24-hour news cycle, you must start with a great supporting cast, namely poor citizens who are tired of being victimized and overlooked by government. Then, you must be crazy enough to think that people will still want you around if you pretend to care. Now, Syria looks like it’s trying to take the crown from Egypt. Even Yemen is starting to rumble a little… but my bet will be on Syria to take the next 24-hour news cycle crown. I would not rule out our own president making a comeback, as a Florida court has just ruled his health care bill unconstitutional. Viva la televised revolution!