Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Where's Mrs. Bush?

Laura and Jenna Bush
The current answer - picking vegetables in Africa (just a side note here - not a color to really pick veggies in!). Mrs. Bush has been speaking about the African Education Initative and touring an AIDS hospital. From her remarks en route to Senegal, you can see some of what she has planned for this trip.

Now why'd I post this - apart from that's it is kind of cool? Well, one of the major functions of modern first ladies are their work with charities and "mercy" missions like this. I give tours at the National First Ladies Library in Canton, OH, and one of the questions that just about every tours asks when we get to our gallery for First Ladies is what will we do if a woman is elected president? They are trying to be cute about the name, etc., most of the time. But there is a deeper question here and I always bring out a little of it. Would a man be willing to do the UNPAID duties of a First Lady? Would the good that most First Ladies do be lost? The Office of the First Lady now takes over the entire East Wing - it is a major part of our executive branch. First Ladies now even work for legislation. State entertaining may sound overblown at times, but it is is a major part of international diplomacy. It is required for events like the visit of the Queen of England or the President of Vietnam. Presidents without wives have appointed women to stand in - these hostesses include Harriet Lane (for James Buchanan), Angelica Van Buren, Betty Taylor Bliss, Priscilla Tyler Cooper just to name a few - to fill this role. If a woman is elected (and one will probably be eventually), would her husband be willing to do the job? Or would she appoint a stand in? Just something to think about today!

No comments: