Tag Archives: Washington

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 She created controversy by eliminating outdated social customs such as the refusal to receive pregnant women at the White House, and by inviting all Congressional wives, including the wife of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.

 

Worldwide Women March, the Beginning

Here’s a message I just received on facebook. Name not important. I don’t know why she sent this to me, I don’t know her. And she clearly, clearly does not know me.

To Me: 

I am not a “disgrace to women” because I don’t support the women’s march. I do not feel I am a “second class citizen” because I am a woman. I do not feel my voice is “not heard” because I am a woman. I do not feel I am not provided opportunities in this life or in America because I am a woman. I do not feel that I “don’t have control of my body or choices” because I am a woman. I do not feel like I am ” not respected or undermined” because I am a woman. I AM a woman. I can make my own choices. I can speak and be heard. I can VOTE. I can work if I want. I control my body. I can defend myself. I can defend my family. There is nothing stopping me to do anything in this world but MYSELF. I do not blame my circumstances or problems on anything other than my own choices or even that sometimes in life, we don’t always get what we want. I take responsibility for myself. I am a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend. I am not held back in life but only by the walls I choose to not go over which is a personal choice. Quit blaming. Take responsibility. If you want to speak, do so. But do not expect for me, a woman, to take you seriously wearing a pink va-jay-jay hat on your head and screaming profanities and bashing men. If you have beliefs, and speak to me in a kind matter, I will listen. But do not expect for me to change my beliefs to suit yours. Respect goes both ways. If you want to impress me, especially in regards to women, then speak on the real injustices and tragedies that affect women in foreign countries that do not that the opportunity or means to have their voices heard. Saudi Arabia, women can’t drive, no rights and must always be covered. China and India, infantcide of baby girls. Afghanistan, unequal education rights. Democratic Republic of Congo, where rapes are brutal and women are left to die, or HIV infected and left to care for children alone. Mali, where women can not escape the torture of genital mutilation. Pakistan, in tribal areas where women are gang raped to pay for men’s crime. Guatemala, the impoverished female underclass of Guatemala faces domestic violence, rape and the second-highest rate of HIV/AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa. An epidemic of gruesome unsolved murders has left hundreds of women dead, some of their bodies left with hate messages. And that’s just a few examples. So when women get together in AMERICA and whine they don’t have equal rights and march in their clean clothes, after eating a hearty breakfast, and it’s like a vacation away that they have paid for to get there… This WOMAN does not support it.”

My Answer:

Wow, I never use this term because I rarely encounter it, but finally, a dictionary definition of “White Privilege”. Here, it’s actually “Rich White Privilege”. How wonderful you are so secure standing in your own Bruno Maglis that you cannot even see past to women who aren’t you. My friends and I indeed remember the coat hanger desperate abortions of the ’60’s and ’70’s, the horrible conditions for poor women seeking medical help without much money even after Roe V Wade became law. We remember there were no such things as “rape kits”, and the first questions asked by police if you were brave enough to try to report rape was, “What were you wearing? What were you doing there? Are you sure this wasn’t just a fight with your boyfriend?” If you got as far as a courtroom and on the stand, the other side could reduce you to a sexually promiscuous whore who was asking for it. These things changed because women fought and marched.

Even though Roe v Wade is still the law of the land, over 30 states now make abortion impossible, so again you need to be rich to travel, wait out the waiting periods (though not for a gun), and hope your husband (or your stepfather who impregnated you, or your mother’s boyfriend who impregnated you) doesn’t try to stop you. In many states, you will need their written permission to terminate. Good luck getting that, as it would then implicate them in your molestation. Some states have “paternal rights” laws, meaning your rapist has visitation rights to your child for eighteen years, if you carry the rapists’ child to term and keep it. By the way, public taxpayer money has never been used for abortions, and so-called “Christian” companies like Hobby Lobby can refuse to pay for birth control in their employees’ health care plans. Yet all cover the cost of Viagra. Planned Parenthood is the primary care center for millions of women in America. They use no taxpayer money for abortions. Nevertheless, your new vice president, Mike Pence, cut their funding in 2011, causing the worst HIV outbreak in Indiana state history.  It also caused breast cancer rates to skyrocket as women lost their affordable access to cancer screening. His number one goal in office now is to completely shut them down, as he has tried with six previous bills.

You’ve clearly never tried to make your way up the ladder of what was thought to be only a “man’s profession”. Even now, our female athletes, even when better than our men’s soccer team, are woefully behind in salary and winning purses. Women, not for lack of trying, hard work and competency, are in very few boardrooms of major companies. Women in the US still make less than men for the same work, a travesty when you consider how many women are the breadwinners for their families. White women make 80 cents to the dollar earned by white males.  African-American women are paid 60 cents for every dollar white men earn, while Hispanic women make only 55 cents. Title IX, signed into law in 1972 to give female students access to sports and equal opportunity in schools, barely survived the GOP grand effort to repeal it under President Obama. Without it, there would have been no Olympic Gold in 2016 for Women’s Gymnastics; no Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman. It survived because women rallied and actively held our representatives to task.

So we march. We march because the republicans now rule the house, senate and executive branch. We march to let them know we are here, we are watching, we are not going backwards and we are active. We will drown you in phone calls, emails, articles, petitions and most importantly, WE WILL VOTE YOU OUT. You work for us. You do not rule us. You will not set us back to when we had to “let boys win”. You have won your last, we are here now and we are watching you. We are committed and we are angry. A sexual predator, who bragged about it, is the president of the United States, not Saudi Arabia and not Guatemala. He, and his supporters, are creating a very dangerous climate for women. This comes at a time when our rights to control our own bodies are one vote away from being overturned. When health insurance for women and families is being overturned and will leave us out in the cold. We have a vice president who actually coined the term “forcible rape”. “Forcible” rape. As opposed to.. the 1950’s courtroom version? While you whined about a fake war on Christmas we suffered under an actual War on Women. And we know what’s coming, from the tiny- minded, petty, self-serving, ignorant, narcissistic, archaic, hubristic, hateful, homophobic, mysogynistic boys club up on lobbyists hill. We know and we are ready. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Now let me ask you a question, dear letter writer: (and when you say you “can vote”, you know it’s because women marched, were beaten, arrested, taunted, jailed, for DECADES, to get you that right, right?) You mention your concern for women brutalized, and more deserving of a march, in countries like Mali, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Africa. In how many of those countries in which you voiced extreme concern for women have you marched, advocated, helped, supported, or done anything for women or people in need? The new republican playbook is “false equivalency”, trying to throw the spotlight off the real issues affecting us by pointing out something shiny!!! elsewhere!!! Look!!! They treat women badly ten thousand miles away, so why are you protesting in America??!! That game doesn’t work here. It’s a specious argument at best and an ignorant one at worst. “Hey, people in South Africa don’t have clean water, so why are you protesting about Flint, huh?? Huh??” The Huckabee talking points are wearing thin, thin enough to be totally transparent.

Women yesterday weren’t “blaming” or “whining”. We were marching. Marching IS taking responsibility. We are responsible for our freedoms and our rights, and we are going to make sure we keep them. I am happy you have a wonderful life. I am happy my generation’s marching and fighting gave you the right to be anything you wanted, even oblivious if that’s your choice. If everyone else who had a wonderful life didn’t care about anybody else’s life, we’d never have gotten the vote. Continued carefree success to you.