This week America lost a woman who led a high profile life from movie sets to the White House. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died on Sunday, March 6, 2016, at the age of 94 from congestive heart failure. A career in Hollywood is where she met the love of her life and even performed in Hellcats of the Navy with him before his political career began. She will always remind us of the “Just Say No” campaign and her support for the battle against Alzheimer’s.
But what distinguishes Nancy so clearly was her love for her husband. She was a wife who fulfilled the role of supporter and companion overtly more than most first ladies. She was more often than not, seen by President Ronald Reagan’s side and was sometimes even accused of micromanaging the words that came out of his mouth. The couple did not try to hide their affection for one another and were often seen giving each other a hug or a kiss within view of the public eye.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday, Craig Shirley, a Reagan Biographer, pointed out, “They were yin and yang. They proved the old adage, opposites attract. Where he was country, she was city, he was denim, she was silk. He was simple hamburger, and she was fancy meals. In many ways the were opposites–they were just glued to eachother for over 50 years.”
Most political leaders today do their very best to maintain a buttoned up personal life. For politicians with kids, their reasoning may be to keep their children’s lives as ‘normal’ as possible, which pleads an understandable case. Other reasons may rest in the fact that it is just the politician running for office, not the family. Yet in reality, the results of the election directly affect the whole family.
In today’s culture, there is a push to put women in leadership positions, in areas where they can have an influence, to help the achieve fairness in the workplace and to make sure they are being paid the same as men. Once a woman is in the lime light, she is expected to take a stand and believe in, well, something. We’ve seen this with Michelle Obama as from very early in President Obama’s presidency, as she chose four main topics and works at them whole-heartedly. Her goal isn’t to stand by the president’s side every waking moment; instead she’s working on her own projects
Nancy Reagan didn’t sit on her tuffet by any means. (She however was dubbed “queen Nancy” for her high fashion and fancy clothing—but that’s another story for another day.) Nancy had projects of her own. But her actions spoke louder than her words when it came to supporting her husband. She stood by his side and showed the American people what it meant to stay true to the one you love.
Watch NBC’s Lester Holt’s report on Nancy Reagan here.
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