Friday, August 6, 2010

Don't Flaunt It, Mrs. Obama!

I was reading this article about Michelle Obama and her "lavish" vacation in Spain.  Here is another article that really blasts Mrs Obama:

But while most of the country is pinching pennies and downsizing summer sojourns-or forgoing them altogether--the Obamas don't seem to be heeding their own advice.   
The author seems to think the Obamas should be cutting back like the rest of us especially since Mrs. Obama is taking this vacation on the taxpayers dime.  She labels Mrs. Obama a "material girl" and a modern-day Marie Antoinette.  Articles like this always make me roll my eyes.  

Mrs. Obama was wealthy before she became the first lady.  She had been able to afford this standard of living long before Barack Obama made it to the White House.  The only difference before was that she was not as high profile.  I personally don't feel like she has to change her life completely for anyone's benefit.  And we as taxpayers are paying Barack Obama's salary and benefits.  That doesn't mean we have the right to dictate how they decide to spend money that is earmarked for their personal use.   And it is not their fault that they need to travel troops of Secret Service.  That's the world we live in.  Furthermore, we pay the Secret Service their salaries to do a job, i.e. protect the First Family.  They would need to do this job whether Mrs. Obama decided to vacation in Chicago, Spain or on the moon. 

I get it.  Times are hard.  The economy is doing terribly.  Folks have never experienced such difficulty.  But even Christ acknowledged that there will always be haves and have nots.  It's how the world has been set up.  Why begrudge anyone for their good fortune?  It's not as if Mrs. Obama doesn't do her fair share of community oriented work.  But she's still a high status and very wealthy woman.  Why shouldn't she enjoy it?  I know I would. 

Human nature dictates that people sacrifice when they have to.  The Obamas don't have to.  It would be a nice gesture to take more frugal vacations but honestly and truly, we all know that there is nothing the Obamas will do that won't draw criticism.  If she vacations in Virginia, folks will whine about how she bought (gasp) $15 drinks at the bar.  If she decides not to take a vacation at all, folks will question her motives and accuse her of being a martyr.  Please. 

And it's absurd to compare Mrs. Obama to Marie Antoinette.  Yes, the country is going through rigors right now and everybody is taking it really easy.  But just like in the first Great Depression, not everyone will suffer.  Some will be just fine.  Some will stand to make a whole lot of money because of the whole thing.  It is not Mrs. Obama's responsibility to soothe folks and make them feel better about the mess that we have put ourselves in.  We are all complicit in this economic ditch we find ourselves in and sooner or later, everyone will feel it in some way or the other.  Just some more than others. 

Mrs. Obama shouldn't dim her light for the benefit of anyone else--shouldn't dumb herself down so others don't feel intimidated by her intelligence or scale back her vacations so others aren't reminded about how much they are struggling. She's not flaunting it.  We would have never have known about this vacation without the media taking pictures and creating a buzz.   She shouldn't hide how wealthy she is.  She's worked hard and she should enjoy it.  And she is not doing anything that previous First Wives have not done.  She is the wife of the President of the United States.  Why not act like it?

I'm saying all this as someone who took her last vacation three or four years ago to Ghana.  And it's still up in the air as to whether that was a vacation at all.  

My advice to all those offended by Mrs. Obama's trip?  Focus on yourself.   I know it's hard to see others enjoying when you're struggling but don't begrudge anybody their wealth.   That doesn't attract wealth or fortune. Work on building (or conserving) your own spiritual, emotional, social and financial wealth. To me, that is energy far better spent.  

Plus the outfit Mrs. Obama was wearing was flyy.  Haters are always going to hate. 


Jennie said...

Hear hear!!
And of course she's a woman, so how dare she have wealth and vacation time, she should be home, in the kitchen, preferably barefoot. :-P

Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

Nicely put.

Folks act like the Obamas are a step away from welfare and ought to be happy that their room and board is already paid. Get over it people.

Carolina said...

Loved this! Totally agree with you.

bazza said...

Hi. I agree with your analysis. And the whatever the first couple do they are representing the United States to the world.
She got lots of positive press here in the UK.

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