This morning in my morning buzz was news of the latest of the First Family, vacation in Spain. The Buzz on Yahoo, WashPost, ABCNews and a few others are talking about the First Lady, a “glitzy” vacation, the price of her hotel, the resort, a President celebrating his birthday in the company of a talk show host and friend, rather than his wife and youngest. Most of the articles complain that there is a level of insensitivity to the plight of a recession recovering nation and that many people are struggling to make ends meet.
But after participating in a little royal watching of my own, I began to wonder to myself, “How is this vacation, media treatment and associated lifestyle any different than any other royal family?” Yes, we call it a presidency, not a monarchy, but it appears to me that there are some remarkable similarities. The high profile vacations, visits to highlight spectacular and noteworthy programs, and leading a luxe, enviable lifestyle are some of the perks and traps of leading an affluent lifestyle.
Some of the articles seem vaguely motivated by jealously, political ideology, and outrage at the audacity the lifestyle Mrs. Obama and her family enjoy. Some, such as Andrea Tantaros for the NY Daily News, are are going as far as to proclaim her the “American Marie“, as in Marie Antoinette.
Personally, I think that bit of criticism is excessive. After all, Marie Antoinette was beheaded; let’s not participate in that unfortunate activity, even in the press. Firstly, all First Ladies take vacations, the Clintons and Bushs alike. Mrs. Obama knows that she is in public eye. She is a walking billboard for America. It’s a powerful statement, job and responsibility. I’m not sure that I would want it. What I do appreciate is that she is paying her own expenses; though it should be noted that American taxpayers will be picking up the bill for security and transport.
Ann Cooper of ABC News notes, in the video linked above, that “it is really not just vacation”. Nothing with a First Family is just anything, everything will be analyzed and critiqued until those proverbial cows come home.
I choose to see that they are spreading the pride of being an American, celebrating American lifestyle, partaking and building goodwill with their choices and at least for the Obama children, serving like America’s youngest ambassadors (and for all accounts taking the Spanish by storm).
I, for one, want a First Lady that has the strength to live a life that she is proud of and thoroughly enjoys. For now, Mrs. Obama fits the bill.