The Making of a First Woman President
Young ladies started attending charm school in the fifties; before charm school it was known as finishing school.
If you could afford it, this was a way of preparing your daughter, niece, or any young lady whom you were the guardian of – for the real world. Today we would think twice if those schools prepared them for anything. I would agree. They learned how to remain graciously better looking as the years passed, and earlier on, how to find a ‘rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, and Indian chief.’ Yes, I recall the old game with the paper fingers.
Although I heard many tales about young men who attended prep school on their father’s checking account – back in the day, no one heard of a credit card. Some of our most influential men in history managed to improve their behavior outside of campus living. A few were sent out of the states to straighten up – managed to pass, and brag about having a degree from one of the elite colleges – it was a family thing.
Having an education at the best college and mingling with the best students – a must – and money was all it took to allow the average student inside those walls. We all heard stories, some of the top players in our country squeaked through on daddies check book.
So while the men were pushed, women were decorated like a cake to find the best husband.
Back to the ladies who were fortunate and wealthy enough to be shipped off to “Finishing School.” At that time those women were not dreaming of becoming the First American President who was a woman – or were they? I am sure we had many intelligent women in those days that had a dream but knew it could never be. Few women were pushed into college until the sixties. Those who had the dream of becoming President of these United States, knew it – felt it, and proceeded with a thought of running this country one day. More women are entering the field of politics at the national level – and in my opinion – way overdue.
Women in the thirties, forties, and fifties who attended those fancy finishing schools managed to be excellent wives to great men – if they could keep a good hold onto them. If not – they ended up the secretary to another executive – so the woman began to wise up – the wife and mother began to give good advice to the daughters of the future. As the generations struggled, it would be fine to be a working mother, fine to find a man home with the children, a man shopping. Now it’s time more men follow their wife on the campaign trail. Is it being an American; those old time values that are wedged in our minds?
It’s time we forget about the gender of the individual and go for it – girls! We have strong opinions, great ideas, experienced as much as any man and heard debates everywhere; from the kitchen table to the school yard – to the town hall to our own back yard. We have been battling issues all of our life, and can we fight back when we need to! It is time we show the power of a woman in a way that we are no different when it comes to a seat on the school board to a position in the White House. Think about it. When men get together, they are still in those college dorms, fighting over some sports team. Today they are still propped in front of the TV watching the championship game. A woman has spent the same amount of time being the champion of her world, but no one noticed – it’s so normal.
This isn’t to say women are better or less than a man – I believe we are equal – the sooner we get on the same platform, the better this world will be. Far too much time is spent on words like the ones I am writing in this article, explaining the faults of this country concerning – why – instead of – yes – it’s high time things switch.
One perfect series concerning men but actually – women – ‘ Mad Men’ – You could feel the tension between the men and women. It is written exactly like it was lived during the years portrayed. So enough said – watch the series.
The First Woman President – should have happened moons ago – if there happened to be enough women ready for the position. Now we are growing and in leaps and bounds. Women know it isn’t shameful, embarrassing or awkward to have a woman in the White House. But, what about the men – are men ready to endorse a woman? Okay, I will give the men a break here – another hang up with a woman in the White House – could it be other women?
Remember those days in school when they picked and choose who was perfect for their sorority, and some were on the black list; girls are picky when it comes to another girl. Men are not picky of the women, they have thoughts – but usually concerning they ability to take on a job – work with all men or all women, so on and so forth. Men do not pick on women but women pick on women, a huge point when it comes to women running for office. And why women carry this luggage from childhood into adulthood – some continue to think – if they attempt to run for office the women who snubbed them, the list will grow by the thousands.
Guess what? The candidate is right. Think about how you present yourself to the opposite sex. It’s the opposite sex who does the double take, voting on your good looks, (a no- no- ) but it happens; especially with the voter who knows nothing about the issues. Plop a sign with your picture in front of a house on every block in the city. And if you are attractive enough, you’ve got that voter’s vote – those uneducated when it comes to facts.
Now take the woman running for office; she maybe too good looking; that takes some of her women votes away from the uneducated factor. The educated women, could care less as long as she has all that they need to get the job done. Then, she will pick up the man’s vote. The story continues.
This same thing does not happen with a man – unless you happen to be extremely good looking, and you get away with everything – then the women come out in droves. They vote alright. We do have proof of that one. No names mentioned.
Usually, men are not compared; they are a candidate – the voter will vote on the issues, the party, or both. These days the voter crosses lines, because the issues are the important factor to more voters, knowing that what happens in Washington D.C. happens. There isn’t one thing he or she can do about it. The voter hopes if the candidate of choice is leaning toward his issue – more will get done in D.C. Those old time politics are going down the Mississippi River…
The big challenge isn’t will you vote but would you vote for a woman? Will America ever change; look around at other countries, they are ruled by women. We say we are the most progressive country in the world – well we were – but we aren’t when it comes to the game of politics. They think it’s the big boy’s game – well move over guys it’s time for the girls to play ball. We aren’t the laid back kind of woman who fetch your slippers, attend finishing schools, or forget the news – we are the news! Women take the world seriously – take life seriously – family values – and most of all, I believe they take the voter – seriously. I believe the women of sixties helped the world – taking a long hard look at the process – helping each other, knowing things had to change. I knew many women from the forties and fifties who were smart enough to do whatever they wanted, one specifically wanted to be a lawyer – and never had the opportunities. Today – women do.
Today is different, even different from the sixties, if you worked hard in school, or outside of school, proved yourself to others – that dream you once had could be a reality. All women had a first, ‘I want to be when I grow up,’ and I recall wanting to be an astronaut, my first love, outer space. People who heard me thought I was out of my head – but I was curious even then – but like all children, you drop your first love or want to be. Then a few others are tacked on, until you still aren’t too sure. Remember, I grew up in the sixties – and I loved the arts – it was perfect timing for me. My sibling, a young man – knew what he wanted early on – went on and did it – and kept it up until he retired. Unusual, but lucky to know, do, and achieve.
This is why we must give to women the same chance – to know, live, and realize their dreams.
The women from finishing schools had no long lines to stand in hoping they would be one of the chosen for a Reality Show; knowing the right people in their time brought them to the back lot. When Hollywood was young the amount of men or women interested in a career, unequal to how many positions – few – to become great stars. Today regardless of your achievements, a woman is not turned away because of their gender.
I have to say, it is still old school when it comes to politics, women in politics have a difficult time with the old Prep. School Boys. Today as a candidate, you have to be you, finishing school is out. If you have the right stuff – show it.
Let us take a quick look into the past – First Lady Jackie Kennedy, a finishing school graduate. She knew about the short white gloves, how to master her voice, walk with a particular bounce, and smile not only with her lips but with her eyes. She had the support of a wealthy family, and connections – took a newspaper job in D.C. as the wandering photographer, reporting on people in the streets. Although she always had her eyes set on those with influence. Jackie also had natural beauty, her influential upbringing, a demanding mother, but knew enough to rope in a young Congressman who came from money.
Instead of a stock broker she fell for a politically minded family and knew her life would be heading in the right direction, at least she had a long time dream for that to happen. Even after the death of JFK she would marry the richest man in the world. What did she do for the people? She redecorated the White House and brought the arts into view. This was her accomplishment during her very short time in the White House. In this day and age, Jackie would have focused on more – since the times have changed, and in some cases, so did the First Ladies – but not all. Jackie was not material for the First Woman President – she was focused on the Art’s for her lifetime – although, she did not want her son to focus in that direction. She too was caught up in the forties and thirties.
Then we had Lady Bird – her name alone gave you the right to say she probably ran a finishing school. She came from the south where women were to be kindly and gentle to everyone they met – extending their hand, bowing their head, just slightly. She brought up her daughter’s to be exactly like her, proper in every respect – knowing she too would keep the families in good standing. She too – never would have been a candidate for President.
Patricia Nixon started taking a step away from the finishing school line of women, and took a back seat rather quietly, as if she were in some classroom and did not want anything to do with the subject matter. She was not involved as the others with the people, she kept a home the best she could with all the turmoil that hit the nation during those first Nixon years. She kept at her husband’s side come hell or high water, and left with her chin held high. She remained refrained from politics and the political scene, making her grand appearances coming down the stairs of the White House, linked with President Nixon, probably pinching his arm, for moral support. I can’t imagine what she may have wanted – perhaps she could have been a great lawyer.
The times began to change as we move on to First Lady Betty Ford. She appeared, in all due respect, to be an excellent First Lady; fooling the public – she was quiet and left alone. She began abusing alcohol and drugs – she was diagnosed with breast cancer. On the outside – she appeared as strong willed as Jackie “O, but she was lonely and weak. No one would have guessed her mark as First Lady would be a strong mark for the entire country. For those who were facing similar issues, leaving her name engraved on the rehab center known now as the Betty Ford Clinic. If Mrs. Ford took lessons, her esteem was pulled down when she discovered cancer, underwent a mastectomy that was devastating to her, and she turned to substances, either legal or not. Yet this was her form of help – she was alone, but she left her mark. Her life could have been different.
Nancy Reagan was the boss of the White House and I am sure, on the second floor. She controlled how something was said, and probably what Ronald wore – it was proper in her day and age to do just that, and they loved one another. This, to Mrs. Reagan was her biggest achievement, to make her husband stand out – not that he needed her coaching. She protected him, in her eyes, she told off newsmen and women.
She did act like her former self, an actress and we would learn later on, during his last year in office; she may have had a darn good reason. Nancy, the protector, although the country had no idea near the end of her husband’s term in office, he was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. She did, and she was there, at his side like they were both playing roles in a motion picture, she was the staring lady – the support behind the man.
President Reagan was loved by many, but Mrs. Reagan became the witch in the White House. Feelings about her changed when the truth came out; she turned into a hero of sorts. People often wondered how much of what he said that last year was acting – or what Nancy told him – could she have been Mrs. President…
The sixties – power to women – yes we will have a woman in the White House – and it is now 2015 and still, no woman has taken the oath of office… only stood near her man.
Hillary Clinton has that sixties attitude – along with several new political figures, but a few older ones carried a bit of the fifties with them. These women from the sixties have battles they have won, such as Health Care for Children, especially those with long-term care needs. This one I was involved with – on the spot. A battle won – another for those with chronic care, people ignore groups of people who suffer in this country like they ignore a person in a wheelchair. They never went to finishing school. It is true you know…
You see, politics should listen to the women of the world – work with them, place them in the same category as the men, and face the issues. Women are quite strong when fighting for an issue, they don’t give in… they are specific, and they know it’s essential to living. I have been on both sides looking over and across, and I still say it’s who placed you in your seat that matters. So you fight for them, that’s the real issue – the people. If the women of this country could focus on each and every voter and not the face – (those without a clue what issues are coming up) and this goes for men too. If they listen clearly, give the donkey and elephant a chance, and who cares if it is a male or female – we would have a world not divided, a congress working.
When Laura Bush took office you could tell she chased the attention from herself to her husband, yet he was President. But from a long line of politicians back to the Victorian era – and the Bush Women had to go by old fashion rules, and stand strong behind their man. She looked, acted, and was a Librarian. She never said a word, but smiled with her mouth closed. She never came out strong enough for education nor reading – where her strengths were – but she never could take one step in front of her husband. Most of the time she was walking alone to the helicopter while President Bush had to be the front runner. She seemed pleasant to the voters, quiet and understanding. They did try to keep their twin daughters out of the press as much as possible, but one was like George and the other like Laura. She would leave gently from the White House, and never be heard from again.
Our present First Lady is a mixture of these women of the sixties, but too young to go through what those women did, fighting for women rights, pay, etc. She sometimes comes across like she is the leading lady, not of the government but a television show. She tries hard to be perfect, going back to the finishing school, charm school era. She dresses perfect, stands tall, but still has her own thoughts on issues like childhood obesity. I feel her approach on the subject was at first too direct, and too dull. Perhaps those in D.C. made pamphlets but as fall as a national success, well, it wasn’t something to write home about.
Her point is taken well, as we want healthy children, healthy adults, and less cost in the long run for health care, and it all fits perfectly into a plan. What bothers me about the plan by the First Lady, some children are afflicted with diseases, and all the hype only makes it more difficult for them in a school environment. You can’t stop children from being cruel to one another at times; no matter how hard you try. If our First Lady went about the situation in a different manner, she could have taken a larger role and perhaps made more of an impact. I believe she knew all about what she could do for the country, prepared to take on her cause, but did not go deep enough.
Where does this story lead us? The Future – we deserve a woman in the White House – she is a she, and will be fabulous – I’ll see a woman President, even if I never did become an astronaut.