Michelle Obama has declared that one of her major issues as first lady is to help military families. She's started an initiative to help with that, she's done some events to promote it, and she's talked about it at length. Overall, though, it seems like her involvement hasn't been too costly to herself -- let's face it, appearing on a popular TV show is a fun way to get your message out.
Helping military families is incredibly, incredibly important, and it's a worthy initiative for a first lady. After what happened to the Navy SEALs in Afghanistan over the weekend, I've personally been touched and wishing there was something I could do to help these families who have been willing to sacrifice what was most dear to them so that people who they've never met -- like me -- can enjoy freedom.
That's why I was startled to read this piece of news about the first lady today: "First Lady Michelle Obama Slipped out of Washington unnoticed Monday for a secret trip to visit her brother, Oregon State University men’s basketball coach Craig Robinson, at his home on Corvallis, Ore. .... President Obama remains on his own in Washington, where today he is headed over to Dover Air Force Base to honor the fallen soldiers who died in a Taliban attack on their chopper Saturday."
Now, I'm sorry, but with the most devastating single loss for U.S. troops in Afghanistan happening over the weekend, you'd think that such a champion of military families would be with her husband supporting the grieving and paying respects. Maybe she did and the White House didn't publicize it (though I find that unlikely). Maybe she had a family emergency -- which, if so, then she made the right decision. But the lack of Mrs. Obama's presence on this news and her unwillingness to cancel plans to be there makes it seem as though her professed concern for military families only comes when it's convenient (especially politically) for her.
Now, I'm not from a military family, and I don't know the proper protocol during some of these events, but I do know that as a citizen of the United States and as someone who follows politics and the first lady's actions for a job, the impression she's giving off in this circumstance is far from flattering. I've seen others tweet about supporting the Navy SEALs foundations to help the families. As of today (Tuesday -- two days removed), I haven't even seen a release from the first lady's office on the matter.
That strikes me as AWOL, like it really isn't that high of a priority for her. I do not want to use the military as a political pawn, and I don't think it's right for others to, either. I'd be saying the same thing if this were a GOP first lady who didn't seem as dedicated to a cause as she professed.
I called the White House to see if perhaps the first lady had reached out to the families unknown to the public. I was put through to the first lady's press office, where I was greeted with ... a voicemail and no alternate number except the one I had initially called. I will update the post if they respond.