“Campaign behavior for wives: Always be on time. Do as little talking as humanly possible. Lean back in the parade car so everybody can see the president.”
Sure, that might be the case on the way to the Oval Office, but once she got there, Eleanor was mover and shaker. First Ladies of the White House have had some great causes throughout history. Just in the last 60 years, we’ve had First Ladies express their passions from the most powerful office of the nation:
- Lady Bird Johnson, wife of Lyndon B Johnson, worked on environmental issues and was the first to start the Highway Beautification Act.
- Rosalynn Carter, wife of Jimmy Carter, focused her attention on the mental health of Americans and used her power to develop and improve mental health facilities.
- Nancy Reagan, wife of Ronald Reagan, found drug use an important battle to fire. It didn’t exactly work out for the best, but she did get everyone to say, “Just Say No.”
- Laura Bush, wife of George W. Bush, a former librarian, wanted children of America to read more. She started the “Ready to Read, Ready to Learn.
And now, there’s Michelle Obama!
In 2009, Michelle and scores of local D.C. students broke ground at the White House and began planting veggies. No one had done that since FDR was in office. Back then, we were in a war that meant American had to be more subtenant. Eleanor Roosevelt was the first to encourage Americans to grow their own food to prepare for possible food shortages. Today, Michelle wants us to maintain our own gardens because it’s healthier. America is in no danger of a food shortage any time soon, but nutritious food isn’t available to all citizens. Therein lies our obesity problem.
Are you obsessed with Michelle’s arms like I am? Yeah, it’s weird as hell, but without objectifying her further, I have to say she’s a pretty damn fit First Lady. How does she get toned? (I’ve found it’s not sitting at her computer smoking and eating Cheez-its while she blogs.) She moves her body and she’s encouraging the rest of America to do so as well. Kids, especially, are getting hit with heart disease, diabetes and unprecedented weight-gain. Getting kids out of the house into games, sports, or dancing makes sense to me. She’s teamed up with R&B singer Beyonce to get kids dancing. Our children’s health has got to be on the front burner right about now and I’m excited to see this kind of enthusiasm from the First Lady.
Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden have been working together to support our nation’s military and their families. It’s a tall order, but a very important one. There are thousands of different troops in America, belonging to different military branches, but they share one huge purpose. They serve and protect our country and make huge sacrifices to do so. So do their families. The spouses and children of soldiers must work hard to keep up a home and adjust to constant changes in their lives, all while worrying about their loved ones who are fighting abroad. Michelle and Jill are making sure that businesses hire more veterans and military spouses. These citizens might be getting paid by the government, but they are by no means rich people, so secure jobs are a must. Joining Forces also works to support troops by making mental health a priority. All to often, soldiers come back without any mental health support in the form of therapy. Whatever your opinions are on the present wars we’re fighting, I hope that it’s agreed that we take care of those on the front lines.
It’s nice to know that while the President is taking care of the economy and our wars, the First Lady is there to take care of humanity. Today we have Michelle Obama and her passionate causes moving the nation towards a healthier future. This is part of the reason I hope Barack can get his four more years in office. I feel like Michelle still has a lot to offer the country.