By now, the cyberworld knows that Elizabeth Lauten, a staffer for Rep. Stephen Fincher, “resigned” over this Facebook post after apologizing and withdrawing it, and causing a media firestorm around the “White House kids are off limits” meme.
At first, the thought “why are you apologizing for your opinion” pops into one’s head. Â And then the comments come up, “Well, the kids are just a reflection of their parents.” Â There is something to that. Â However, in the US, there is the tradition of leaving the children of politicians alone, which is selectively maintained depending on who the politician is. Â (See the children of George and Laura Bush and Todd and Sarah Palin for examples. Â Remember, George and Laura sent their girls to Grandma Barbara for a summer after they got into trouble one too many times.) Â Many of us are not enamored of the Obamas, but to be honest, the daughters are not that known other than by hearsay. Â There’s a reason why.
So far, across the board, the Obama girls have been left pretty much alone. Â They also have pretty much been out of sight other than heading off for vacation. Â That changed last week, to an extent, when they were present for the annual White House turkey pardoning ceremony before Thanksgiving, a pretty easy, no-brainer appearance for public figures. Â It’s relaxed and laid back and all in good fun. Â Pretty easy to fake having a good time, actually.
But that’s for adults who are either used to the spotlight or crave it. Â For teenagers who are not trained in how to act like wallpaper and be graceful about it, it was probably torture. Â In the photograph on the post, the body language speaks volumes. Â So do the clothes. Â It reflects that communications office didn’t think through the girls’ appearance. Â Or their mother didn’t. Â Or their grandmother. Â Whoever is in charge of teaching the young ladies how to dress and act. Â (First daughters aside, fashion at this time in history for teenagers is pretty abysmal. Â A little guidance is a good thing.)
Expressing that thought brings on a while new issue: Â Any and all kids living in the White House are off limits, regardless of who is guiding them. Â In the course of their every day activities, agreed. Â When they are used as props for Dad’s political appearances, there is room for discussion depending on one’s expectations and tastes, and the decorum of the occasion. Â Most of all, though, behave and dress for the treatment you desire. Â If one wants to be treated like a lady, dress and act like one. Â That goes for all young women, not just the two living in the White House.
There is also a lesson in the entire episode if one cares to look for it. Â Your actions, no matter how small, can severely impact someone else’s life. Â Your behavior is a reflection on you and those you love, deserved or not. Â And when it comes to how the children in the White House behave and dress, no one is allowed to have an opinion.
Elizabeth Lauten found that out the hard way.