We can be so harsh on the First Lady. My goodness, we complain about her fashion choices, her words, her actions, everything! For instance, this actually made the morning news here in the DC Area:
Michelle Obama orders 1,700-calorie meal at Shake Shack
Update:We made a mistake in our original calculations. The calorie-count for the first lady’s order was actually 1,700, not the 1,556 we originally reported. Our apologies.
First lady Michelle Obama ordered a whopper of a meal at the newly opened Washington diner Shake Shack during lunch on Monday.
A Washington Post journalist on the scene confirmed the first lady, who’s made a cause out of child nutrition, ordered a ShackBurger, fries, chocolate shake and a Diet Coke while the street and sidewalk in front of the usually-packed Shake Shack were closed by security during her visit.
According to nutritional information on Shake Shack’s Web site, the meal amounted to 1,700 calories.
Obama, who launched the “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity last year, has previously admitted to having an “obsession with french fries,” which she says are fine to indulge in occasionally. “It’s all about moderation,” Obama told reporters.
Read more at PostPolitics
Of course, stories like this have peppered the media reports ever since the first family came to DC, and the usual conservative reaction is exasperation, disgust, and a fair helping and irritability. Those of more leftward inclinations seem to believe that this is because we horrible conservatives (and danged Tea Partiers) hate Michelle Obama, because we hate all strong women, and strong black women especially.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. I, for one, really want to like Michelle. There have been a few images where, once in a while, her innate beauty shines through, and we see the warm, radiant — and yes— strong woman she can be. But too often, we are treated to scowls, frowns, sneers, and general looks of entitled petulance. Moreover, we’re constantly barraged with her getting in our business, telling us how to live, and then seeing her not only not setting a good example, but indulging more often in greater amounts than any of us can in all the things she forbids us to partake.
This sets up a great deal of resentment, which is only inflated by
thefact that First Spouses are not elected– they ride in on the coattails of the one elected. So, for the sake of reference, I would like to propose a set of rules for First Spouses (Ladies and, please God soon!, Dudes) to be aware of while living in the White House.
1) You were not elected to the position you now hold. This is the most important thing to remember. It is not you whom the American People chose, it was your spouse. As supportive as you may be, as far as we are concerned, you have done nothing to earn your current place of status and luxury. You are a very visible freeloader, and have not been entrusted with anything, save your duties toward your spouse and children.
2) You are now a representation of the American People to the world, despite the fact that you have been elected to nothing. Ambassadors and other dignitaries are representatives of the American Government, but you represent those of us who are not elected to anything. Everything you say and do reflects upon us. Therefore, when you visit other countries, or welcome foreign friends
to our shores, you must treat them all, but most especially our allies, with the utmost respect and courtesy. This applies not just to manners, but to dress as well. Dress like your parents did when they went to church, or when they had a big meeting at work. Wear nothing that creates horizontal wrinkles, or is fitted such that anything beneath the clothing can be seen through it. To do these things is disrespectful to those you interact with, and is an insult those those whom you represent, for you are telling by your dress that American’s are vain, irrational people with no sense of moderation.
3) Policy is not yours, but causes are. Of course, with your status, it only makes sense to have one or two causes that you visibly support, to bring attention to those matters. And we love that about our First Ladies (so far!) — whether it’s breast cancer, addictions,
AIDS, literacy, the plight of the poor. . . we begrudge none of this, and love when our Ladies visit the children, the sick, and all those in need. What we resent with a firey passion, however, is when the First Lady crosses from advocacy into policy making. This is where Hillary Clinton when wrong– when she wrote a Health Care Plan and then tried to push it into law. She was resented, because she was not elected, but she was riding her husband’s coattails into power and trying to do the job of an elected official. Now that she has been a Senator, the resentment has died a fair bit, because now, she has been chosen. She has been elected. Well, now she’s an appointee but the point remains. Champion causes, but leave the politicking to those elected to do so.
4) Do not harangue us. You may be the First Spouse, but you are neither our preacher or our parents. You have no place to chastise us, certainly not in public.
5) Do not then proceed to act in the very way you publically chastise us for doing. If you are always telling others to eat veggies intead of fries, if you are supporting laws that outlaw transfats or salts. . . then by gum, never eat a fry in public. Berating the people you represent for an action and then doing that very thing is a shortcut to resentment.
6) Do not publically put-down the First Children. Holy God, peeps. Yeah, every parent has a duty to occasionally embarrass the kids, and there are quota minimums for doing so in public. But insulting them– especially commenting about the size or weight of a preteen girl– is way, way beyond the pale. No parent who loves their child would ever, ever disparage their young daughter’s pre-teen huskiness in front of strangers. And certainly, not for political reasons. I don’t care if the point was to “make a connection” with their everyday problems. Don’t publically humiliate your children by attacking what is probably a very sensitive point in public. Your job as First Spouse is secondary to your job as First Parent. Keep the kids out of it.
7) When in doubt, choose:
Silence over blather,
smiles (even if stiff) over anything else (unless at a funeral or disaster area),
Being too polite over being too familiar,
charity over chastisement,
grace over “being real”,
Classic over “latest fashion”,
humbleness over pride,
compassion over “making a point.”
8 ) Finally, do not forget to pray. The position of First Spouse has long been important spiritually. Just as the First Spouse is a representative of America to the world, so too they are an important intercessor an behalf of America before God. For the First Spouse prays not just for The President, to whom God has united them, but for the entire country. Aside from not embarrasing the rest of us, this prayer is the most important duty of the First Spouse. I have no doubt that America has been spared so much since 9/11 due to the unfailing prayers of her First Ladies, especially Nancy, Barbara and Laura. The First Spouse shoulders the emotional drain and brokenness of the entire nation, and has no where to lay it down but before God. To fail to accept this important role is to place our nation in a place of grave, grave danger.
If a first spouse follows these simple rules (The Eightfold Path of First Spouses?), they will find that all rational Americans will love them, no matter who they voted for.
I would ask that further suggestions for Rules for First Spouses be added in the comments below.