Tag Archives: politics

Real First Ladies

Real First Ladies

America has been privileged through the centuries to have had so many First Ladies who made a true difference to the betterment of our country. By fighting racism and sexism, going to war, influencing their husbands to see women as equals, they helped bring about progressive legislation and human rights. We have had so many intelligent, evolved women for young people to look up to and model themselves after. These woman moved the country forward. Of course, some First Ladies do absolutely nothing, wasting the most valuable opportunity imaginable to make positive change in a world that needs it. What a shame. We don’t need First Stepfords when a true original can change the world.

There were so many women in the White House who were our best faces forward. First to come to mind is of course Eleanor Roosevelt, but so many more as well contributed to the betterment of people and country. They did so with their bravery, brains and moral courage. Here are some real women to admire:

Martha Washington (First Lady 1789-1797)
She remained beloved by Revolutionary War veterans, and was publicly known to provide financial support or to intercede on behalf of those among them in need.

Dolly Madison (First Lady 1809-1813)
A patriot in action, not rhetoric. In the hours preceding the burning of Washington by British troops during the War of 1812, she famously refused to leave the White House before being assured that the large portrait of George Washington was removed from the walls and taken safely away from potential destruction by the encroaching enemy.

Sarah Polk (First Lady 1845-1849)
She outlived her husband by about forty years. She had been such a beloved First Lady that during the Civil War, both sides respected her neutrality, and she entertained officers from both armies.

Lucy Hayes said in 1876, “Woman’s mind is as strong as man’s…equal in all things and is superior in some.” After the Civil War started, Lucy wished she could take up arms for her country. She spent a substantial amount of time with her husband in camp with the 23rd Ohio, earning the nickname “Mother of the Regiment”.

Lou Hoover (First Lady 1929-1933) said, “It is very possible to have both a home and a career in this modern age”. She created controversy by eliminating outdated social customs such as the refusal to receive pregnant women at the White House, and by inviting all Congressional wives, including the wife of African-American Congressman Oscar DePriest from Chicago, to the White House. For that she was highly criticized, but never regretted her decision.

Mamie Eisenhower in 1953 strongly campaigned to invite African-American opera singer Marian Anderson to perform at the inauguration. She also made sure her African American staff had accomodations in still segregated Washington, and were welcomed at all the Inaugural events.

Lady Bird Johnson’s accomplishments read more like a successful presidents tenure in office. She toiled for integration, campaigning without her husband through the south, where she was spit on by segregationist protesters and hit with a picket sign, and she never flagged in her dedication to equality. She raised the profile of women in education, politics and public life. She raised the President’s consciousness on the equal competence of women in public service and influenced his efforts to advance women. She said, “If you achieve the precious balance between a woman’s domestic and civic life, you can do more for zest and sanity in our society than by any other achievement…” She got project Head Start off the ground. She introduced “Beautification,” an umbrella title for a wide variety of efforts, legislation and public campaigns that were a combination of rural and urban environmentalism, national parks conservation, anti-pollution measures, water and air reclamation, landscaping and urban renewal.

Jackie Kennedy showed the world America had a brilliant, educated and thoughtful First Lady, back when education was valued instead of derided by people who think wallowing in ignorance makes them patriotic, and calling people who like to think and learn “elites”. She traveled abroad and spoke to leaders in their own languages. She campaigned abroad for American textiles and industry. She brought the fine arts to Washington, and made culture accessible and available. She restored the White House. Knowing she couldn’t ask congress for the restoration money it would take, she looked at how many people toured the White House every day, designed a little booklet of White House information and history, and put a dollar price tag on it. With this simple idea, she raised millions to restore the White House and its historical artifacts.

Hillary Clinton was a beacon of intelligence and modern ideas. Her health care plan was brilliant, just ahead of its time. Yet she did manage to get the Children’s Health Insurance Program passed, covering more than eight million children. She championed the Violence Against Women act, the Adoption and Safe Families act, the Foster Care Independence act, and so much more. You can’t be controversial if you aren’t rocking the boat, working for change, shaking up the old ideas and trying to bring the world forward. As First Lady she was a great ambassador to the world, showing what American women were made of and what we could achieve. She raised a brilliant and successful daughter in the White House, a feat in itself. She made America proud.

Michelle Obama, the first African American First Lady, was a paragon of grace under pressure, and composure in the face of racism and ignorance. She was the Jackie Robinson of First Ladies, and despite the pressures on her every day, she carved out a magnificent legacy. With two Ivy League degrees, she launched Let’s Move! to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity. She got congress to pass the School Lunch Program, making sure children didn’t go hungry, and putting healthier foods in schools while also educating parents. She worked with the US Tennis Association to build/refurbish more than 6,200 junior tennis courts and sign up 250,000 kids to complete their PALAs, and train 12,000 coaches to help kids learn the sport of tennis. She worked tirelessly to make America better for all. She also raised two lovely daughters in a loving marriage, a role model indeed.

Right now the First Lady role is a vacuum. What a sad waste. Here’s hoping our next First Lady, whoever she may be, or our First Gentleman for that matter, values messages over massages, actions over infractions, “we first” over “me first”,  paving the way over wasting the day. You’re  not supposed to drop the mic until after you’ve said something.

 

Hillary Clinton – America Catches Up to the World

It boggles my mind how long this took; a female candidate, Hillary Clinton, for president of the United States. Yes, we made history in America today, but it was only American history.
While we’re deciding if we want to have a beer with the candidate, the rest of the world is waayy ahead of us.

Seventy six years ago in 1940, Khertek Anchimaa-Toka was the Head of State of Tannu Tuva, which then joined the Soviet Union in 1944. She continued in various government positions until 1972. No word on how many people wanted to have a vodka with her.

In 2007, a record 13 countries had elected female Presidents or Prime Ministers; Ireland, New Zealand, Latvia, Finland, The Philippines, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Iberia, Chile, Jamaica, South Korea, Switzerland, and a Chancellor in Germany. None have ever asked neighboring countries if their maps make them look fat. All play some kick-ass soccer.

In 2002, the list was also at a record 13, with Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Panama, Senegal, and Sao Tome and Principe replacing some of the above, with only one of them being flooded by God.

Add to those, these countries, which elected female Presidents as far back as 1980; Iceland, Malta, Nicaragua, and Guyana. American tv shows debuting in 1980 included “Bosom Buddies”, where two men played women, “bosom”, get it? And “It’s a Living”, about spunky waitresses with a surprising amount of cleavage for a non-Hooters hotel dining room.

Countries with female Prime Ministers, some as far back as 1960, included; Sri Lanka, India, Israel, Central African Republic, United Kingdom, Dominica, Norway, Yugoslavia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Poland, and Turkey. The only power available to American women in the 1960s was Flower Power.

Countries with interim female Presidents as far back as 1953 include; Bolivia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, East Germany, Liberia, Ecuador, Georgia, and Mongolia (Chairman). In America in 1953, some of the top movies were; “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, “How to Marry a Millionaire”, and “The Farmer Takes a Wife”.

 

Many of these women were also re-elected, for example in Norway, where the female Prime Minister served from 1981-86, 1989, and 1990-96. For three years running, the United Nations has ranked Norway the number one place in the world to live (based on standard of living, life expectancy, education, democracy, public health). Norway’s economy is based on oil and gas, mining, shipbuilding, fishing, paper products. No men were forced to sell Mary Kay Cosmetics.

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was the first woman to head the government of an Islamic state. She served from 1988-90, and 1993-96. Before being elected, she spent almost six years in prison or under detention for her political activism. She was ousted twice in corruption scandals, which may or may not have been political witch-hunts, but hey, that’s as good as the men. Too bad Muslims don’t drink, I’d have liked to have an Arak with her.

These countries have had acting or interim female Prime Ministers as far back as 1979; Portugal, Lithuania, France, Burundi, Canada, Rwanda, Bulgaria, Guyana, Mongolia, Finland, Peru, Macedonia, and Ukraine. In America in 1979, Bo Derek was elected the country’s number one sex symbol for her role in the movie “Ten”.

As to those polls claiming Hillary Clinton is “unlikable”, I can only marvel. I believe if most of the people who call her “unlikable” had her money and position, they wouldn’t give a damn about your college debt or your health care, or whether you had a job or your kid got a head start in education or a hot breakfast. They’d be living at a resort in the Caribbean, having daiquiris at the swim up bar and most probably under-tipping the over-worked waitstaff. Everything about her is likable to me, from the fact that she can take it, that she doesn’t give up, that she really wants to do good in the world, that she actually cares way beyond personal gain, that she’s so strong, that she isn’t a saint but rather knows how it works and can make it work to the good of all. I like her laugh and her flat no-nonsense midwestern tone. And oh yes, she’s a genius. The absolutely smartest person in the room, with the demeanor to reason, to command respect, and to lead. Did I mention she’s brilliant? We need someone to stand up against the obstructionist, misogynistic, myopic members of congress stuck in the 1950’s and trying to keep the country, women, immigrants, people of color, and anyone not exactly like them, back there. There is no denying George W. Bush was very, very likable, and the death toll in his misguided wake will reach into the millions, with the destruction of entire regions of the world. We need someone who understands the world. I think the world will see her coming and say, “The Americans finally grew up”.