This past week our country was saddened to hear former first lady Nancy Reagan had passed away. While in mourning, multiple news outlets and television channels took the opportunity to reflect on the couple’s life and their time spent not only in office, but also out of office. Their story is that of perfection, a union of Hollywood glamor and D.C. smarts without the scandals of Camelot. So in reflecting on their lives, I have to wonder: When did our country lose class and grace?
When did people like the Reagans, Grace Kelley, Audrey Hepburn and yes, the Kennedys, go out of style? There are still some small shining examples of class and grace. Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara, Amal Clooney, and my own perhaps unpopular opinion- Martha Stewart.
What is it that makes these people graceful, classy or glamorous? First, they have poise. They walk upright, they act and speak with purpose and intelligence. Second, they present themselves in a way that shows that not only do they respect themselves but they also respect you. None of them need to take a nude selfie to get my attention and furthermore, hold it. Lastly, as I touched upon in poise, they speak clearly and with thought. Firm if they must be, soft if it is needed, but always with intelligence and purpose. You want to hear more from them whether it is on entertaining a houseguest or international law and human rights.
These few examples are not enough though. Where is the grace and class where we need it most? Where is it in our presidential candidates? Our GOP nominees have taken to discussing their genital size during nationally broadcast debates. They make fun of each other’s shoes and make innuendos about hands (meant to refer to penis size) while on a public platform. They speak without thought or restraint and often don’t take a moment to reflect on policy before announcing some big idea or plan to the people who follow them. It has gone from a contest for office to a middle school lunch period in the course of a few months (our current political leaders aren’t exempt from criticism either).
In a recent tasteless move, President Obama and the First Lady announced that they are going to a film/ media/ music festival instead of the former First Lady’s funeral- they also skipped Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral. Let’s not even get started on toe-tappers and ‘sexts’ that have plagued other individuals in office.
In times like these we should try to focus on the positives in these men’s careers. Ted Cruz was the first Hispanic American to serve as a Senator from Texas. Marco Rubio is the child of immigrants who graduated college Cum Laude. John Kasich was the youngest person to be elected to Ohio’s Senate. Donald Trump is, for the most part, funding the bulk of his own campaign. All of these men have done great things and owe it to themselves to act with more grace than they have been. They need to respect themselves and their life stories.
Perhaps our presidential primary candidates can look to the achievements in their past and find inspiration for the future. They are more than outrageous headlines and punchlines. They are leaders and one of them is the potential future leader of our country. These are people who need to show respect if they want to receive it, act like a class act and you’ll be viewed as one. I sincerely hope that these men can see themselves as serious contenders and set a better example moving forward. I’m not looking for perfection, but I am looking for progress.
In the words of Nancy Reagan herself, “You just get up each day and put one foot in front of the other and go. You know, each day is different.”