Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Prefix - ation

The prefix “super” is derived from the Latin for “above” and “beyond.” We Americans love anything that is super. We love to use the prefix “super.” It might be a collective fixation.

This weekend we loved the Super Bowl. Record numbers watched and enjoyed two of our most storied NFL franchises play in our biggest game.. The game lived up to its hype.

This weekend we also gave tribute to our Super President. Ronald Reagan would have been 100 on Sunday. Both conservatives and liberals paid homage to the memory of our cheerleading president. We shared super memories.

But there is more.

We love our Super Heroes, Super Smash Brothers, Super-sized meals and our Super Mario.

We have supermarkets with supervisors using supercomputers. We superimpose, supersede and superscript. Things are superficial, superfine and supercritical.

The prefix “super” is superior.

Obama hoped for super results as president. Barack Obama ran a super campaign. Yet his presidency has been dominated by super problems. He certainly had made plans for a long legacy of superlatives. Obama had counted on the prefix “super” to best characterize his transformational presidency.

The super problems, however, have made this superpower worry more about leaking supertankers. Our superintendent-in-chief rose to power in supersonic ways but now all too often appears on the world stage as a supernumerary.

Four years ago this month Obama announced his candidacy for president on the steps where Lincoln stood. On a super cold day a super cool narrative began.

Soon Obama will be asked to announce that he is running again. Shortly Obama will have to make if official that he is seeking a second term. To be successful this time the prefix “super” might sound superfluous.

If President Obama expects to go above and beyond this time he best start thinking about using the right suffix. If that suffix does not contain jobs no prefix will be noticed anyway.


  1. A Superb article, although I'm going to support Obama for this one. He may not have had a fantastic presidency, but only Superman would be able to perfectly handle every problem he faced. Egypt, the Economy, Obamacare, the BP oil spill, and a republican house are just some of the issues he's had to deal with and I think while he might not have done a super job, he certainly could have done way worse.

  2. SUPERcool video Mr.Larsen and Mr. Coneen! This is true, Obama has a bunch on his plate right now. Although, it has been two years since he's been in office I think I do not see as much change as I anticipated while he was campaigning. Obama should start with the fixable problems, as you mentioned there could be much more jobs! This will benefit us greatly! Totally agree with you guys! again SUPER job :)

  3. It wont let me watch the video but the article is super great. It is so true that today Americans except SUPER results in everything we do. And obviously being president is one of the hardest jobs their is. Obama has been faced with some ridiculously challenging problems and has handled them alright. Although I believe some things could have been handled differently his intentions are super. I do think that he too expected way more out of himself and has let a lot of promises slip under the rug. However, even if he hasn't found the results he wanted yet I'm sure if given more time, like a 2nd term, he will begin to get them.

    Lindsey Hahn 1st period

  4. With all of the talk during Obama's election campaign of how he could truly change America, I think that an important idea was lost in the mix: that there were (and still are) more problems in the U.S. than anyone, including our President, could deal with in four years. I believe that some progress has been made socially, as the push for equal rights for gays has been put at the forefront of the news recently by the news. However, Mr. Conneen and Mr. Larsen, you are both right in asserting that unless Obama can successfully give proof that he has had a hand in lowering the unemployment rate, everything else won't really matter that much.

    Zack Lubelfeld, 3rd Period Comparative

  5. I think a lot of people discount the fact that in America we still have one of the highest standards of living overall in the world. We all talk about how the economy is slow in recovering, how the debt will cripple our children, and how certain aspects of our current governance are unsustainable, and when we discuss all these things, plus the fact that a very radical global faction hates us, we think that our country is in permanent decline. However, while America is certainly no longer the SUPERpower it once was, it is still the most influential country in the world. Now the goal is to keep it that way.
    In my opinion, a truly SUPER leader will be the one who does what has to be done to ensure that the debt does not collapse our economy, that we begin to live sustainably, and that we can rise above political differences to help our country "rise again." We saw this type of cooperation in Britain during the Collectivist years, so we know it can be done given the right circumstances and the right leader. The fact is, we have identified the current problems in our society. There will always be problems, but if a society can identify them, they can be fixed. We simply refuse to take the steps necessary to cut excess spending, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and assert our presence worldwide. If we must grab the Third Rail to do this, we must grab the Third Rail. The goal of a country is not just to do well, but to do well in the long term future, and many Americans seem to have lost sight of that.

  6. I agree that Obama does face a super challenge in trying to restore the economy in the country while also trying to bring back jobs. I think America has expected too much from him since he is the first Black president, and I think it is ridiculous to assume that Obama will be our superhero in restoring the vitality to the US economy. I think people need to think about what Obama was faced with, and consider whether any other president could have done any better than he did. For the time being, we need to lower our super expectations of Obama and consider that whatever he can get done will be super and whatever he can't will be solved a future president to come.

  7. To be honest it hasn't even felt like Obama has been in office for two years already, maybe that is because i havent been paying attention to politics latelly, but i really think its because i havent seen much change. Obama's campaign was all about change and now that he is president, how much of that has he really changed? In my perspective, not a whole lot. He needs to pull some super hero powers in the next two years to really start to change things.

    jenna przybyla

  8. I agree, to citizens now anytime we hear "super" we assume that it's going to knock our socks off and we all gather to share the commonality of something "super". However, anytime those expectations don't meet ours (i.e Obama's change campaign and which team went to the "SUPER"bowl)we end up being angered for something we chose for. perhaps the superbowl wasn't in our hands, yet millions of viewers still sat around sunday night to watch the big game, one that many views were unpleased with from the start. Maybe it's because we enjoy being a part of something "above and beyond"? especially those that make history.

  9. Since when is the government responsible for creating jobs? President Obama's suffix should really be more about maintenance. Maintain our security. Maintain our infastructure. Maintain our morale. Perhaps these things are more easily said than done; but if they can be done, people may remember President Obama positively rather than President Carter 3.0 (President Clinton being version 2.0).

    If he is to be re-elected, President Obama certainly needs a new buzzword for his campaign. I suggest three: Primum Non Nocere.

  10. Because everyone is America is so fixated on everything being "super", we have much higher expectations. Everything must be great or no ones happy. With these super high expections comes super problems, like you said Obama has been experiencing. I think are unrealistic need for everything to be super has caused a lot of problems for Obama and his approval from the American people. Hopefully people can give him a break and no hold him to our super standards.

    Allison Thomsen

  11. Clever article Mr. Coneen!

    Although I do not follow International/World relations nor do I pay attention to American politics, I do believe that with the so called "lack of change" too much was expected from President Obama. With his previous presidential campaign promising "change", he won over the election allowing citizens all over the country to expect something dramatic, something Super. Since a number of Americans believe there has been little change many need to realize the crisis and the state at which our country is in. With this in mind, President Obama indeed needs to find a new slogan, something even more promising if he is expecting another 4 years in office.

    Elliott Moy

  12. In 2009, President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Many people were confused by this because ever since he stepped into office, not much happened despite all the problems that our country is currently facing. In his state of the union address, Obama spoke of a lot of the changes he is going to make so it will be interesting to see what will happen before the next election

  13. Rather than it being the government's responsibility to create jobs, I believe that it is much more important to create an atmosphere in which the jobs may be created themselves. That is, I believe that Obama must not directly change (there's a word we've heard before...) the availability of jobs but instead foster a competitive environment where job opportunities can be opened. It's important to be realistic when it comes to large scale economic overhauls, so there won't be any magical "super" solution to the economy. It will require small, yet calculated, changes over a long period of time. Yeah, America is a country of dreams, but dreams aren't something that come true overnight.

    Mike Wilner
    Per. 7 Conneen AP Gov

  14. I strongly believe that it is not the US's responcibility to govern over other nations. Obama would be furious if someone tried to take over his job. The only reason we have to be invloved in Egypt is the oil resources however were close to changing to need for that substance anyways. I thought we learned our lesson not to interfere in other countries with Bush.

    Lauren Ditallo Conneen Ap Gov p.1

  15. I understand that America is all about being "super"-the best at everything, bigger the better, etc. Of course we want our economy to thrive again and these super problems to be resolved. However, hoping that President Obama himself will solve all these is unrealistic. We can't just blame him for every problem that we have. I do agree that with some of the others that he hasn't done much change considering that was his slogan. The best thing to do is keep supporting him and at least try to resolve stuff. It doesn't help that democrats and republicans are always arguing which slows down policy making. In order to actually be productive, I think we simply need to get along better. (that sounds a little cliche but I think it's true)

    Mallory Rasky

  16. What I have to say is pretty similar to many other comments here. I believe that America is big on wanting things 'super'. So, we expect Obama to do things that are beyond his control. Since, he is the first African American President,I think many people are just waiting for him to mess up and lose credibility. People have too high expectations of the President because many of the issues that Obama is dealing with are like double-edged swords. So, no matter what side he takes, there will always be people who oppose his decisions. He will always offend SOMEBODY. The accumulation of the many problems in this country and beyond makes it even more difficult to completely focus on one issue. So, some issues are undoubtedly left behind or forgotten. However, I do think that Obama has not taken any big actions since he became a President. He was trying to be idle in his presidency so that he would not be dominantly be labeled as a bad president. He wanted to in a sense please many people by not taking any strong stances but now he has to with the decision of Egypt. That I think is his biggest flaw.

  17. I agree with Nikki's comment. The fact that expectations were set so high for Obama's presidency made the way things have turned out seem so much worse because we do tend to rally around a great idea; something inspiring. I think that Mallory made a good point as well, It is has become rare for a president to have the support of the majority of the nation at the end of the term. Instead of bashing our leader, we should be grateful that we had the freedom to vote for him. All we can do is voice our concerns and peacefully try to institute change as a united public.

  18. I've always known that our country has tried to outdo everyone. However, I never realized to what extent. Everything is bigger in America than other countries. And bigger is a synonym for super. We have the fattest people, biggest food portions, but also the most freedom. We feel like we have to be the best of the best and the only way to achieve this is to enlarge it. Obama has followed this policy, but in a different way. He has increased our national debt so that it's bigger than any other country. He has proposed a new healthcare that is super expensive. Being super is not always a good thing and Obama is certainly not bringing change by keeping up this mentality.

  19. mr. conneen, words can not describe. a man of superior knowledge and the power to give super extra credit for those who speak super highly of his royalties. but in all honesty, obama was hyped up as was the superbowl of 2012. he struggled in situations but carried out his tasks to the best he could. i feel as if obama is not only americas president but americas scapegoat... think about it.

    brian m. kim
    period 1