Every first lady of America had a different style of doing things. Looking at the first lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush, one will realize that their lives have a lot of similarities and differences. The similarities are brought about by the fact that they were both first ladies and had to participate in politics to show support for their husbands. The differences are due to backgrounds, the field of study and their age by the time each one became the first lady. Michelle’s political experience was influenced by her husband after he joined politics and her career as a lawyer while Laura got the experience from the spouse’s family as Bush family had already been at the helm of national leadership for long. The paper aims at comparing and contrasting the political and personal lives of former first ladies, Michael Obama and Laura Bush.
Looking at their academic and professional profile, Michelle is a lawyer. She graduated from Princeton University and later from Harvard Law School (“Michelle Obama Biography,” Para. 1). She first worked at Sidley Austin law firm where she met Mr. Barrack Obama. She then worked at the University of Chicago as the associate dean of student services. She also worked as the vice president for community and external affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center (“Michelle Obama Biography,” Para. 5). Being a lawyer helped her to learn political issues and how to deliver justice. She always fought for the less privileged in the society. She started her political career when campaigning for her husband although she was initially against politics. On the other hand, Laura Bush graduated from Southern Methodist University with Bachelor’s degree in Education (“National First Ladies’ Library,” Para. 9). Her first work was a second-grade teacher. She later worked as a librarian after graduating with master’s degree in library science from the University of Texas (“National First Ladies’ Library,” Para. 7). The education and career shaped the political of the two women. They already knew the importance of serving the community. Being a teacher and a librarian might not have developed Laura politically as much as she would have wanted, but she learned from the family as soon as she got married. She resigned from her work as a librarian to help the husband in his political career.
Both first ladies had two children who were both girls. However, Mrs. Obama’s children were young when they went to live in White House (“The White House,” Para. 14). She said that her children would always be her priority. This means that sometimes she had to forego some political activities to look after her children. Laura’s girls were already freshmen when their father became the president, and they did not like to stay in White House (“The White House,” Para. 13). This gave her a lot of time to engage in political activities. Michelle had a taste of fashion unlike Laura probably because of her age. In 2006, she featured in Essence magazine as among the twenty-five most influential women in the world. Besides, she has appeared in other magazines like ‘Vogue’ and ‘The Harvard 100′ (“Michelle Obama Biography,” Para. 7). Her children also have a good taste of fashion.
One of the common characters in their service is their passion for children. Michael actively participated in campaigns against children obesity in America (“Michelle Obama Biography,” Para. 8). She advertised healthy breakfast and exercise. She actively danced and skipped the rope on stage to set a good example. She also spent time with teenagers in the field to encourage them to become active in sports. Michelle regularly visited children in schools of low economic status to encourage them that they can do it in education even with limited resources. She encouraged them as a living example and knew how it felt to be discriminated (“Michelle Obama Biography,” Para. 8). Education was a primary focus for Laura as she was a trained teacher. She said that she learned the importance of knowing how to read and write when she was working as a teacher and as a librarian. She advocated for an increase in teacher’s salaries and better training for day care workers (“The White House,” Para. 14). She wanted the best services for children. Training the day care workers would ensure that children were in safe hands. She supported the government policy on ‘No child left behind’ and pushed for funds to employ more teachers (“The White House,” Para. 14). She also promoted teachers training in Afghanistan to enhance education for women and children in the region.
Another common trait with the two ladies is their passion for people working in the military. Michelle said that one of their objectives was to reduce injuries for military people. When they first went to the office, they would spend several hours visiting those injured because they were too many. The number reduced with time and they were able to spend less than an hour in the hospital (“The White House,” Para. 7). She created an organization that helped those who resigned from the military to obtain jobs, receive treatment and have a healthy life. Laura also contributed to shaping the lives of those who resigned from the military. She advocated for them to be employed as teachers. Laura once said that despite the luxury in the White House, she could not sleep peacefully knowing that the soldiers were sleeping outside in Afghanistan fighting for the country. Furthermore, she listened to women from Afghanistan to understand their plight (“The White House,” Para. 6). She visited Afghanistan with the aim of visiting those who were fighting for the country and finding ways of making life better for women and children in the region.
Both Michelle Obama and Laura Bush have served as first ladies of America. Michel was a lawyer by professional while Laura was a teacher. Laura learned politics from the husband’s family while Michelle had to learn while campaigning for her husband. They both had two girls. Obama’s girls were young when they went to the state house and required their mother’s attention while Laura’s girls were already freshmen and did not like spending time in the White House. The two ladies were passionate about children. They both promoted education in the country. Michelle campaigned against child obesity by advocating for healthy eating and exercise. Both ladies helped to make the lives of ex-military better.
- Michelle Obama Biography. “U.S First Lady, Lawyer.” Retrieved 12 April 2017 from http://www.biography.com/people/michelle-obama-307592
- National First Ladies’ Library. “First Lady Biography: Laura Bush.” Retrieved 12 April 2017 from http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=44
- The White House. “Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama and Former First Lady Laura Bush in Discussion with Bob Woodruff” Retrieved 12 April 2017 from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/16/remarks-first-lady-michelle-obama-and-former-first-lady-laura-bush