The Role of the First Lady: Who cares what Michelle thinks!
I’ve always found the First Lady to be interesting. Not this particular First Lady but the idea of the First Lady. I think about this as I read an article explaining Michelle Obama’s ‘call for united effort to fight child hood obesity’ and aÃ‚Â separateÃ‚Â article where she calls for Health Care reform. I just can’t, for the life of me figure out why the media reports on the First Lady or why she gets to spend government funds on a staff to help her work on her ‘Pet project’. No one voted for Michelle Obama. No one asked her to spend our tax dollars on her childhood obesity program. No one voted to give money to the First Lady to pay her public relations people or her chief of staff. Sadly, however, here we are; Listening to someone we didn’t vote for engaging in a job she isn’t qualified for.
First Lady’s Official Role
Originally, the role of the First Lady was to act as the hostess for the White House. This wasn’t an official office and there was no title for the First Lady. The name ‘First Lady’ wasn’t coined until after the death of Dolley Madison and then it still took a number of years to really catch on. For the most part, the early First Ladies, Dolley Madison in particular, defined the role of the First Lady through their actions. The First Lady acted a the hostess of the White House and was a bit of a trend setting celebrity.
Eleanor in the White House
This remained the case for the next approx. 130 years following Dolley Madison’s death. In 1933 FDR and his wife Eleanor Roosevelt entered the White House and everything changed. During Eleanor’s time as the First Lady she bucked many of the existing trends in and expectations of behavior of a First Lady. and his administration. She was an outspoken proponent of the African American Civil Rights Movement. She even played a vital role in the appointment of Mary McLeod Bethune to be head of the Division of Negro Affairs.
In many ways she represents all of the good things about the feminist movement. She represents strong women with their own ideas, women who have their own careers. I’m certainly happy to have had her support for the Civil Rights Movement, but I worry about the precedent she set.
The First Lady in the Post-Eleanor Era
I believe that Eleanor Roosevelt really set the stage for the First Lady-ship the way we know it now. We can look at the First Ladies since then and see all of their pet projects. You can see the speeches they gave, the tax dollars they influenced, the policies they pushed through and supported of their own accord.
Nancy Regan founded a Just Say No anti-drug campaign, a program that proved to be extremely costly and definitely exceeds what I think the job of the Federal Government is. Hilary Clinton championed sweeping health care reform. Thankfully, this program never got off the ground so the only money this cost the U.S. tax payers were the salaries used to pay the staff of people that assisted Hilary. Now, we have Michelle Obama’s new campaign against childhood obesity.
I’m a big guy, I’m definitely against childhood obesity - but is it the government’s job to spend my tax dollars persuading kids to go outside and play? More importantly should a pseudo government official that isn’t elected into their post and has no official power be able to divert money into programs like this? Should the First Lady have the power to cajole Congressmen into voting for her pet project? I’m tired of seeing First Ladies on T.V. telling me about their grand new idea. Id rather we let the President do his job and have the First Lady, or First Gentleman whenever that becomes the case, stop influencing public policy.