The President and First Lady deserve praise when warranted and these past few weeks have been a banner month for the first couple.
First, the Mrs. Obama sent a not-so-subtle message to the Saudis by appearing unveiled at Saudi King Abdullah’s funeral. As Hadley Heath pointed out, King Abdullah's record on women's rights is abysmal which makes Mrs. Obama's uncovered head such a strong symbol of the many freedoms American women enjoy.
Then, last week, Michelle Obama praised the movie American Sniper, saying:
More often than not, this film touches on many of the emotions and experiences I have heard first-hand from military families over these past few years…”
This movie reflects those wrenching stories I've heard, the complex journeys that our men and women in uniform endure, the complicated world, the decisions they are tasked with every day, the stresses of balancing love of family with love of country, and the challenges of transitioning back home.
Pointing out Hollywood’s folly in painting tidy pictures of vets as either, as the First Lady brilliantly put it, “the broken, downtrodden vet who is homeless or on drugs or has such PTSD he can't function – or the hero who lies with such courage and moral clarity all the rest of us can do is shower him with admiration…" is an important message of support for the troops and to the military families who welcome back these soldiers.
And, then, as if my love for the Obamas hadn’t grown enough, the President spoke about the recent Measles outbreak (which I wrote about last week here) and the importance of parents choosing to vaccinate their kids. Speaking to Savannah Guthrie during a pre-Super Bowl interview, the President said:
I understand that there are families that, in some cases, are concerned about the effect of vaccinations…
The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not.
You should get your kids vaccinated…
It's good for them and the challenge you have is if you have a certain group of kids who don't get vaccinated, and if it grows large enough that a percentage of the population doesn't get vaccinated and they're the folks who can't get vaccinated, small infants, for example … they suddenly become much more vulnerable.
This is an enormous win for science against the insanity of the anti-vaccine movement and offers some measure of reassurance to parents who might be on the fence on this decision. I might not agree with 99 percent of what the President says, but he’s a trustworthy guy. That’s what makes objecting to him so hard. He comes off as a guy whom you want to like and trust. And that sort of messenger is important on the vaccination issue. Many parents feel like there's so little trust out there (except the anti-vaxers who wholeheartedly Hollywood "experts" like Jenny McCarthy and Alicia "miso soup kills ebola" Silverstone).
His endorsement of vaccines will go a long way to convince parents that vaccinations are important not only for their own kids but for all Americans.
It’s been a good week for the Obamas. Now, about those other issues…