A lovely couple

Barack and Michelle: tall, stylish, confident, brave. Who can do other than rejoice and wish them well?

Yet at the risk of seeming to strike a curmudgeonly note (and that’s not in my nature, as you well know), I have always had a question about the description ‘First Lady’. It does not denote a public office, and nobody can cast any votes for Michelle, or Jackie, or Lady Bird or Laura. The President’s wife (and so far, it has always been a wife) can have enormous influence, but to whom is she accountable?

Another thing: the phrase is eloquent of the fact that people expect the President and his consort to be a symbol of the traditional nuclear family, which is fine as far as it goes. But while we celebrate the progress which has brought a person of mixed parentage to the White House, let’s also look for the day when the President will be one or more of:

non-white
single
female
gay
atheist

or any other category you want to mention.

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2 responses to “A lovely couple

  1. Anthony Rodgers

    I long for the day when none of the above matters – when the President of the United States is a courageous leader in the best interest of the people of what is, on paper, the greatest democracy on Earth, regardless of his or her physical attributes.

    Has anyone else noticed how the color of Obama’s skin matters more in his becoming President, not less?

  2. Yes, indeed. Half-black is still black, in some people’s book.

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