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Thursday Thought, sleep deprived though it may be

January 28, 2010

The other day, while nursing and surfing, I came across a live feed of First Lady Michelle Obama’s address to the Joint Armed Forces Officers’ Wives** Luncheon ,where she eloquently spoke and announced budgetary and policy changes for the coming year.

After Mrs. Obama’s speech, a Coastie Wife stood to thank her for speaking. Granted she was nervous. Very nervous. “We are all in awe of you.” she said to the First Lady.

Huh?

Don’t get me wrong. I love me some Mrs. Obama. She is fantastic. She is tall. Really tall. I remember this because I got to meet her at one of the Obama campaign’s military family events, one of a handful of milspouses in the 200ish audience. The rest of the crowd  was made up of local officials and big donors and at the end of her speech, I was shoved out of the way by two adoring fans. It pretty much sucked, to be honest, but it was politics. It is always politics.

Whenever I see milspouses fawning over the Frist Lady and her interest in military families, I’m a little jaded. We are in awe of her? We shouldn’t be. Of course she may have a genuine interest in military families, but let’s not forget, it’s politics. Let’s behave politically. We should tell her to stop it with the photo-ops and endless studies and ask her to keep getting it done. We shouldn’t back away from the brutal truth and stories from these deployments – all too often I see and hear milspouses demure when the Presidential light shines. “It’s really bad,” we say, with a smile on our face. We are in awe of you.

I don’t mean to sound cynical, though I understand that I may. Laura Bush, let alone Shrub, didn’t do jack for military families while they were in office. But being awe-struck gets you an autograph, not policy oomph and muscle. Always, always, we need to keep the pressure on, to keep pushing for our real voices to be heard.

**Officers Wives? Wives?! I can not wait for DADT to fall. I will be among the first to welcome spouses, gay and straight, at one of these events. I want to be at that table.

Update: Oops…I’m supposed to have a question to throw out there for these Thursday Thoughts…I’m not looking for a “Michelle Obama, love her or hate her” debate, I’m looking for some honest feedback on whether her “focus on military families” is actually effective. It has had zero effect on my military experience – what about you?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. kimba permalink
    January 28, 2010 12:04 pm

    This is one officer’s wife who’s tired of clubs for officer’s wives. I’ve never joined one, and until they’re inclusive – enlisted spouses, officers’ husbands, and as you mentioned, gay and straight partners and spouses – I won’t.

    As for Obama (both of ’em) it’s time to shit or get off the pot. For real.

    Great post.

  2. kimba permalink
    January 28, 2010 12:06 pm

    This is one officer’s wife who’s tired of clubs for officer’s wives. I’ve never joined one, and until they’re inclusive – enlisted spouses, officers’ husbands, and as you mentioned, gay and straight partners and spouses – I won’t.

    As for Obama (both of ’em) it’s time to shit or get off the pot. For real.

    Great post.

  3. LAW permalink
    January 28, 2010 12:33 pm

    I’m still waiting for something other than speeches and photo ops. Yes, I think she’s a wonderful woman, has a lot more to say than she’s being allowed to say, but “in awe”? not really. Would I be nervous to meet her, probably. I save my awe for Jane Goodall and the Dalai Lama. Now that we’ve tried this bi-partisan, let’s all work together stuff and yeah… that’s really not working so well, can we just realize we still have a majority and get some stuff DONE!!!

    As for Officers’ wives clubs… no. no way in hell. around here, for one thing, they are mostly retiree spouses, or SAHMs, everything is done around luncheons. for those of us in the outside work force, it’s not exactly welcoming.

    Nice to see you back, LM.

  4. January 29, 2010 11:48 am

    As much as I hate to say this, I think it’s too soon to decide if this focus on military families is effective or not. I do wish that she would follow through on more of her promises, but I also know that a LOT of money has been proposed to help military and their families. I think it will be interesting to see next year how this money (if approved) is used, and what good it actually does.

    I want change as much as the next person, but realistically, we all know that change doesn’t happen over night. It takes time and it takes effort. And I do wish that she would put just a *tad* more effort into it. But, we will see.

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