“You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!”

kennedysIn January of 1961, President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, moved their young family into the White House.  Instead of a lavish mansion, the new First Lady was horrified to find that once beautiful artifacts were worn or broken, furnishings were badly in need of repair, and that the Truman administration had used modern fabrics and commissioned cheaply made knock-offs!  Believing that the appearance of class, elegance and grandeur at the White House must be restored immediately, Mrs. Kennedy made it her top priority.  She would have extremely limited funds, but was sure that her upbringing, fine arts education and social ties would make that a minor obstacle.  In her mind it was paramount that the White House be restored as authentically as possible so that once again the White House would be seen:

  1. Befitting the residence of the sitting President of the United States of America
  2. Honoring Past Presidents of the United States
  3. As an ever evolving, living, breathing testimony of American history

Mrs. Kennedy used her wits and wiles to retrieve era appropriate artifacts and raise the needed funds to restore the White House as she set out to, and did it in record time.  She brought glamour into evenings at the White House and helped move protocol out of the stoic 1940’s style and into the modern times.  The White House became a place that intellectuals, artists, entertainers, and leaders of the world all wanted to be invited.

ST-218-1-62 (crop)Mrs. Kennedy stepped out of her husband’s shadow and created a position of power for herself as First Lady that lasted well beyond her years in the White House.  Although she relished the spotlight the role she created for herself provided, it wasn’t for political gain.  Jackie Kennedy was shrewd.  She sought connections with people of wealth, influence and international notariety that they would be able to call upon and leverage in the years to come, never knowing, of course, that their time in the White House (and time together) would be cut so dramatically short.

national_organization_for_women_logoThe end of the Kennedy era ushered in the Women’s Right’s Movement of the late 1960’s / early 1970’s.  Over the next four decades glass ceilings of corporations and governments around the globe shattered and the emergence of women as international executives and world leaders became the norm.

2016 was going to be the year that Americans finally joined the rest of the world in recognizing and rewarding the most qualified and prepared person to ever be in competition for the highest office in our land, President of the United States, and that person was female: Hillary Rodham Clinton!

  • She’d proven more than worthy of the job by showing strength in International political circles as Secretary of State;
  • She’d proven she could and would cross the aisle to get things done as a two-term Senator from the state of New York;
  • She’d proven tenacious when fighting for women and children’s causes in her long law career;
  • She’d proven a supportive, forgiving and loyal wife when tested beyond the limits most women could take, when publicly lied to and humiliated by her husband’s infidelity under the harshest spotlight one could ever imagine, as the First Lady of the United States; and
  • She was running against a non-politician, a racist, a liar, a business failure, someone defending himself against many lawsuits including one for fraud (that he lost and paid tens of millions of dollars to settle), a man accused of sexual assault, a man awaiting civil trial for rape, a man on camera admitting to sexual assault – there was no way she could lose to this baffoon…Hmmm

We all know what happens to expectations and assumptions.

  • Only half of those eleigible to vote in the United States turned out
  • Of that 1/2: 2.5 Million more than that 50% voted FOR Hillary Clinton BUT
  • The Electoral College electorates are not distributed equally amongst the states and more electoral college votes were awarded (as of today, but are not yet official) to Donald Trump (the electorates from each state cast their votes on December 18th)

This President-Elect is known to live in homes adorned with self portraits, gaudy trumpapartmentfurnishings and walls covered in gold, he refuses to sit for daily intelligence briefings, he refuses to follow established Presidential protocol, he has named a white supremacist to his cabinet, is flying by the seat of his pants into one political landmine after another, he is Tweeting bald-faced lies to the American public, he still has multiple lawsuits pending against him, and, to top it all off, he has a wife who isn’t intending to live with him and perform the many daily and ceremonial duties as First Lady at the White House!  All of this in less than a month after the election and just six weeks before he is officially to take office!  WTF?  Will no White House traditions survive?

That sound you hear is Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis rolling over in her grave in Arlington National Cemetery.

Because men have held a majority of the elected positions of political power since the inception of the United States as a Nation, fashion’s influence hasn’t been one of the more focused upon aspects of politics.  Of course it has received passing historical commentary that was appropriate for the era and/or if there was an obvious show of poverty or wealth during the campaign, but essentially, aside from times when shown in their military uniforms, men have generally worn some version of the standard tailored formal suit and tie combination and women (mostly in their roles as spouse or hostess) whatever the popular gown of the era.

I am a proud member of the Pantsuit Nation group on Facebook, but I do admit to laughing at the jokes made by and about Hillary and her attachment to the non-descript (but obviously well made and expensive) pant suits she wore on the campaign trail.  I also admit that the sometimes frumpy and shapeless pantsuits paired with the vicious #FalseNews stories that the real press wouldn’t de-bunk as loudly as the Trump campaign, the internet, and Fox News/CNN and others spread them, might just have been what ultimately cost Hillary half the public’s trust and the election.

061715-hillary-clinton-pantsuits-lead

hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_cropI truly believe that Hillary Clinton not appearing as she did at all three debates, beautifully made up and glamorously styled as she showcased her intellectual and political strengths, contributed to her issues in connecting with people.  The likeability factor, that I dismissed, mattered a whole lot more to middle america than I realized.  Had she appeared everytime we saw her looking as she did at the debates, there might have been some who would have given her ultimate truths more of a chance to be heard instead of listening to the continual lies Trump-eting from other sources.

Unless there is a great moral and ethical shift within the voters who comprise the Electoral College on December 18th, in which they could decide that what they have seen and heard so far, in the first 6 1/2 weeks since the election, is just more than the United States bargained for or can sustain for 4 years, and decides to #VoteTheirConscience and swing their votes to the better qualified Hillary Clinton, I’m afraid that the long way that we appeared to have come from 1960 to 2016 might just take some steps backward. Hmmm indeed.

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