First Ladies: Then & Now

PolitiChicks.comOn one of my company’s flights from Jamaica I had the privilege of meeting the Prime Minister of Jamaica Simpson Miller. She came off the aircraft dressed in a manner fitting for a female diplomat. She held her head high, walked gracefully to my co-workers and myself and politely greeted us as we welcomed her. She was without a doubt a classy lady who represented her position well.

Now you might be asking yourself, why is this conservative blogger writing about another nation’s leader and where is she going with this? For decades, many of the first ladies of the White House, who are extensions of their husbands’ political successes, have held a certain class, dignity, and grace. As the Obama’s moved into the White House, those qualities are reminisces of First Ladies past.

PolitiChicks.comThe women I remember holding the shining light of being a First Lady were Laura Bush, PolitiChicks.comNancy Reagan, and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. They were dignitaries in their own right by the patriotism they showed for their country, by being fashionably appropriate to their station, and holding themselves in a dignified manner on every occasion.

PolitiChicks.comAs these women are discussed in further detail, I hope you ask yourselves, ‘has the bar been lowered for future First Ladies by allowing the behavior of Michelle Obama to go without scrutiny?’ And if so how can we as Americans rebuild the image of the American woman after having been tarnished by Michelle Obama the last five and a half years?

Jackie Kennedy Onassis was the wife of John F. Kennedy during his presidency. She remains to many an American fashion icon and a class act. Staying with her husband through many alleged affairs, she held herself up in a way that would make American women proud.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 8.01.02 AMUnlike Michelle Obama, Jackie never glared at President Kennedy in photos or caused a scene in public. And again unlike Mrs. Obama, Jackie was always pictured coming off Air Craft One in a classic dress and would never dream of being seen in boy shorts and a casual shirt. Some people classify Michelle as being “real” or “down to Earth” but when the world is looking at you from the outside in, it is seen as tasteless and lacking decorum and in my opinion, this is not how the American woman should be viewed by other nations.

PolitiChicks.comIn many pictures we have seen time and again the blatant disrespect shown by the Obama family during the National Anthem, salutes, and the Pledge of Allegiance. The seemingly open distaste that Mrs. Obama displays during tributes to our country brings a glaring contrast to my next example, the beloved Nancy Reagan.

PolitiChicks.comNancy Reagan loved her country. She showed pride in picture after picture in front of the American flag. She held her hand to her heart with the love every patriotic American shared and it showed. She showed women in the U.S. what it meant to have two loves: her country and her husband. Today woman do not have the same patriotic example and it is reflected by the feminine response in mainstream politics. When we elect a man to run the country we are in essence electing his wife to give the women of mainstream politics a voice and a standard in which we want to be represented by. The lack of patriotism shown by the Obamas is currently being reflected in our country.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 7.57.15 AMIn more recent years, we were graced with Laura Bush as our first lady.

Laura Bush, as the wife of George W., had the responsibility of being First Lady to a president the left loathed. Just like her husband stood by his political decisions, Laura held her ground and stood by her husband. She is seen in pictures as poised, dignified, and gracious. She is also seen at sporting events with her husband, keeping her decorum and keeping her sense of classic style.Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 7.54.24 AM

PolitiChicks.comIn contrast with former First Ladies, Michelle Obama has been seen to be slouching at national functions and exhibiting obnoxious behavior at sporting events in clothing inappropriate to her status. All of this is unbecoming of a lady and even more so from a lady who shares the political limelight with her husband.

PolitiChicks.comSo again I have to ask, has the bar been lowered? Has the standard for the American PolitiChicks.comwoman who is classic in dress, dignified in poise, and patriotic in nature been brought down by a woman who does not practice public decorum at public events, wears attire inappropriate to her station, and does not give the respect for her country when it comes to national patriotic events? From the late Margaret Thatcher in England, to Simpson Miller of Jamaica, and to our own First Ladies, women have had many classic strong ladies to look up to in the political world. As we move forward with this administration and with politics in general, I can only hope that Michelle Obama serves as the exception and does not become the rule when it comes to ladies in politics and how we are viewed by other nations.

Nicola Vandiver

Nicola Vandiver resides in South Florida where she works for an airline full time, travels, and practices photography.

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