Please do not get me wrong. I truly admire the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama. She has a lot of class and a lot of character. In the world of politics she is by far my favorite person. I know she’s not a politician so people can spare me any attempt at trying to correct my perspective. She helped sell her husband to the world as being the best choice to be our new President and did an admirable job of being the wing beneath his wings. That firmly qualifies her as a participant in politics without being a politician. She appeared to be down to earth and a people person and a lot of people accepted her as such.
When the conservatives attacked Barack Obama by attacking his wife, I was livid. I remember seeing conservative pundits referring to Ms. Obama as Obama’s Baby’s Mama and labeling her as nothing more than an angry black woman for saying that for the first time in her life she’s proud to be an American. Even Cindy McCain, the wife of Mr. Obama’s conservative opponent John McCain, didn’t waste an opportunity to jump all over Ms. Obama with the not even remotely subtle announcement that the McCain’s have always been proud to be Americans, that little quip from Mr. McCain who said that he didn’t love America until he was imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton not withstanding. And I detested all the Photoshopped images of Ms. Obama designed to make her look physically ugly and unappealing.
Now that the Obamas can claim 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as their home address, Ms. Obama is falling into her support role new role as the First Lady. She remains a reflection of her husband and dutifully maintains her role as the first mother of Sasha and Malia. I’m sure the Obamas, like most people who win the White House and go there to live with their children in tow, walk a fine line to make sure their children remain grounded and not assume some highfalutin attitude thinking they’re some kind of royalty entitled to special treatment. At least, that’s what I used to think.
Just when most Americans were preparing to take advantage of our annual tax free holiday weekend to save a little money when buying back to school supplies and clothing for our children, Ms. Obama and her two girls was being treated like royalty in Paris, France. French President Nicolas Sarkozy himself made a few calls in order to open a branch of one of the Bonpoint stores, a high class children’s boutique usually closed by French law on Sundays, so that Ms. Obama and her two daughters could peruse racks of two hundred dollar summer dresses and one hundred dollar sweaters. French clothing stores don’t even open on Sundays for the French people. It really pays to be in high places with friends who are just as highly placed.
For their soiree through France’s capital city, America’s first family had a thirty car motorcade that included their brand new one of a kind Cadillac super tank. And where ever their entourage went, parts of the city were closed down for their exclusive use. Even Oprah Winfrey’s renowned celebrity couldn’t buy her such recognition. Ms. Winfrey came back from France suspecting that she had been treated like a commoner and kept out of stores after closing hours because she was black. And that was on a regular weekday. Poor Ms. Winfrey would not have had any chance to do any real shopping on a Sunday. What’s a billionaire to do?
Before his presidential inauguration, Mr. Obama published an article directed to his daughters describing what he wanted for them and for every child growing up in America. He wanted his children to grow up in a world without limits on dreams and no achievements beyond their reach. Mr. Obama said that he wanted his daughters to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. But treating those girls like they’re young versions of Paris Hilton entitled to privilege will do little to help build such character. Being treated like royalty will no doubt lead them to believe that they can achieve their own hopes and dreams, but the compassion to help assure that others do the same might not be so nurtured.
No doubt while living in their home back in Chicago, the Obama girls kept busy schedules of sports, dance, drama, music, and gymnastics. They used to do the kind of things that a lot of kids in America did. But life in the White House will change these two in ways very few people can imagine. I would think that someone of Ms. Obama’s character would be sensitive to such things. She’s still my most favorite person in the world of politics. Her star simply doesn’t shine as bright in my eyes as it once did. But with friends like Mr. Sarkozy who can open high end stores with just a few phone calls, I doubt if she’d care a flying flip what I thought.