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President Barack Obama has not accepted the ice bucket challenge. A number of celebrities, including Justin Bieber, nominated the President of the United States to have a bucket of ice water tipped over his head, but he had decided to “chicken out.” However, he has stated that he will donate money to the cause.
It makes sense for the president to decide not to do it. While it has all been some fun and people would like to see him get involved, it takes away some of the professionalism from him. Would anybody be able to look at the man in the same way after watching him having a bucket of ice water thrown over his head?
The same could have been said for the likes of Bill Gates, who many people probably did not expect to see him take up the ice bucket challenge. However, Gates does not have the same position that commands so much respect from so many people. He does not have a whole country watching his every single move to determine whether he should be kicked out of office before the end of his term.
Some will argue that former president George W. Bush took part in the challenge. However, a former president is not under as much scrutiny as a current one. Bush does not need to command as much respect from his people like President Obama.
It was not likely all out of choice, though. President Obama was not allowed to accept the ice bucket challenge after a telegram went out to all officials banning them from taking part. None of the U.S. ambassadors are allowed to take part, although one did before the ban was implemented. U.S. Ambassador for Israel Daniel Shapiro took the challenge and nominated U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power.
The memo was not about taking away from the fun. It was due to policies that prevent officials from using their positions for private gains. It seems there are thoughts that those who choose to accept the challenge will become more popular than those who do not, and it will be unfair.
President Obama is not the only highly public figure to turn down the ice bucket challenge. Charlie Sheen spectacularly chose not to take part by throwing $10,000 over his head. While some believe he ruined the fun, he did point out that the whole point was to raise money and that $10,000 would go to the ALS charity.
The U.S. president has stated that he is donating to the cause. The same appears for all other officials who have been nominated. There is nothing wrong with them giving to charity and it is certainly a good cause.
Bush did seem to support the president’s decision not to have the water thrown over his head. In the former president’s video, he accepted that it was not presidential and that may be why he nominated is predecessor, Bill Clinton, rather than his successor.
It has all been fun but there is a charity to remember. President Obama had decided not to accept the ice bucket challenge but he is donating to the charity to show his support for the cause.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham