America has had one hectic Thanksgiving holiday week. Everything from the fallout resulting from the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson in Ferguson which caused a week of protests across the nation in opposition, to Republican communications aide Elizabeth Lauten’s classless attack on Malia and Sasha for being “classless,” so said she. Let’s talk about Lauten’s post to her Facebook page.
Lauten posted to her social media site page on Thanksgiving Day:
“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get your both in those awful teen years but you’re a part of the First Family. Try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again, your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department.
“Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot in a bar.”
The communications director for Republican representative from Tennessee, Steven Fincher, Lauten drew a barrage of heated comments on Facebook and Twitter for her thoughtless, careless, tactless, and classless attack on the First Daughters. Lauten had underestimated how the nation would react to her callous disregard of the children of the First Family, and disrespect of the president and first lady. Or, perhaps she felt she was privileged and could say whatever she liked about whomever she pleased, even the daughters of the nation’s first family. Whatever motivated her lapse in common sense, citizens voiced their disapproval of her post. Already in an uproar over the continued shootings that have resulted in the deaths of children and teens of color, they were already primed for a good fight.
On Friday, her Facebook attack on the Obama children disappeared. Lauten posted the following apology in its stead:
“After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents, and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly just how hurtful my words were. Please know, those judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart.”
Her “apology” was met with criticism from those she had hoped to placate. They rejected it as being the result of their backlash against her original post. Some referred to it as “damage control.” It was evidently clear that the people were not amused and were not in a forgiving mood.
My critique on Ms. Lauten’s post:
She made grammatical mistakes, using “your” when she should have written you’re or you are. Her accusation that the Obamas were not “good role models” is erroneous based upon the excellent behavior of Sasha and Malia, as far as the public has seen over the past six plus years we have known them. It is evident that the two girls exhibit age-appropriate behaviors and attitudes. They have always appeared to be pleasant and respectful of their parents and others in their presence in all media releases I have seen of them. Their appearances and behavior with their father during the Thanksgiving turkey pardon was typically American teenage-appropriate; no cause for Ms. Lauten’s harsh verbal attack. It didn’t help Lauten’s cause, either, when social media exploded with remembrances of Bush twins Barbara and Jenna’s college wild parties, scantily-clothed and drunken escapades in comparison to the Obama teens’ more tame apparel and teen eye-rolling at their father’s “lame” jokes.
As to their parents, President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama, again Lauten must be mistaken in her assessments. Both have been consistently pleasant, sophisticated, professional and honorable. President Barack Obama is the opposite of Lauten’s characterization of him; he is respectful and represents our country and his position as commander-in-chief responsibly and proficiently. In the instances when he has been forced to address less pleasant aspects of his position, the president has delivered reprimands or pointed out undesirable outcomes along with positive encouragement wherever possible. This president has presented an admirably even-tempered persona in most all circumstances.
Perhaps it is Elizabeth Lauten, in her anxiety and in disagreement with the president’s common sense approaches to handling the issues facing our nation, who is lacking in class. It is evident that her post was without class, tact or taste and her apology was received without grace from an outraged public.