Women of Oprah country unite! There is a sister down! I repeat, Sister down! It’s being reported that Michelle Obama won’t be getting paid for being First Lady. I guess since she’s the First Lady and the First African American Lady, I’d like to see her paid for her work. None of the First Ladies have ever been paid, but in my humble opinion, that’s a male chauvinist rule that should die. That way of thinking is from a time when the Presidential wives were identified mainly as hostess. The job of the First Lady has historically been consistent with her husband’s administration and the needs of the period. With the economic plight of the U.S., Michelle Obama could be wearing many hats in a country riddled with economic hardship, war, rising poverty and homelessness.
According to the White House, Sara Polk was a confidante to her husband James Polk and regularly, but “privately” helped with advisement and speeches. Abigail Adams was so politically active, she was often referred to as “Mrs. President.” Rosallyn Carter was also active by attending Cabinet meetings, major briefings and at some ceremonies representing her husband in his absence. She also “served as the President’s personal emissary to Latin American countries.”
Laura Bush is about the only first wife in recent administrations that had not held a job just before entering the White House. You’ll be surprised to learn that Michelle was bringing home more of the bacon before her husband got the job that made her the First Lady. According to the report from Politico, she was bringing home “316,000” as opposed to Barack’s measly “$165,000” as senator and of course his little book deal with undisclosed amounts of money, but we’re not talking about that right now. We’re talking about the gifted Michelle Obama whose intellect and superior legal sense makes her a shoe-in for the first First Lady to receive compensation for what is sure to be an unparallelled contribution to the focus of our new administration.
Venus joined with Billie Jean King and a federation of women tennis players to get equal compensation and/or winnings for their tournaments and after many years of fighting, they’ve won. We can do the same for Michelle! Abigail Adams was a true sister at heart. She was First Lady to the second President, John Adams, and mother of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams. She, in her active role in politics as well as in her home was an enemy of slavery and fought for women’s interests. Her poignant words on the issue of women’s rights in a letter to her husband and the Continental Congress is a perfect note to begin our crusade:
“…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”
Read this report while you take off your earrings, put on your sneakers and grab your Vaseline. We have butt to kick and names to take.