Can you imagine George Washington, (Commander in Chief of the Continental army during the American Revolutionary War, founding father of our nation, President of the convention in Philadelphia that drafted the United States Constitution, and first President of the United States of America), making it a top priority of his presidency to seek legislation from the U.S. Congress to promote good, strong and healthy working families in the new republic?
Can you imagine Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, or even FDR for that matter, turning the high office of President of the United States of America into little more than a mundane statist oriented social welfare agency?
I can’t imagine that – not in my wildest dreams can I imagine that. I think that the very idea of such unbelievable nonsense back in the day would have made George Washington blush. It’s enough to make all of the above mentioned presidents turn over in their graves with shame. It diminishes the importance, the gravitas, and the greatness of the office of the presidency almost to the point of nil.
But, sadly, that is exactly what the stature this once great office has come to today. President Barack Obama is using his high office to encourage Congress and the country to focus on how to improve the livelihoods of “working families” (whatever that is). The First lady of the United States will soon be holding a “Working Families Summit” in Washington which will highlight economic issues affecting American families at home and in the workplace.
"Every single day, there are conversations around the kitchen table where people are trying to figure out, this child care is costing so much, I'm not sure that we're going to be able to make our mortgage at the end of the month," declared our President in an interview on CNN." "There are folks who are saying, 'Little Johnny is sick, but if I don't show up at my job, because I don't have paid family leave, we're not going to be able to pay the electricity bill.' "
You see, today our President is greatly concerned about conversations among ordinary families around the kitchen table. That’s what he worries about. So his administration envisions a "21st-century workplace that works for all Americans."
The primary goal of the summit will be "... to lift up the conversation that everybody is already having individually and let people know you're not alone out here," Obama said. He added that "good, strong, healthy families" are the foundation of our society… but today, those working families are struggling to get by as parents are having difficulty juggling their obligations at home and work.
"And if that's the case,” he intoned, “it’s not just about giving lip service to it… "We've got to reduce the stresses on families. And I think if you ask most families around the country, 'What's the biggest stress?' It has to do with financial pressures and time pressures that are constantly encroaching on them."
The President wants to make sure that all new dads have the chance to burp their newborns while getting paid for it. He’s calling for federally mandated paid family leave, because: "One of the most precious memories that I'll ever have is when my first daughter, Malia, was born… I was lucky enough that my schedule allowed me to take that first month off. And staying up until 2 in the morning and feeding her and burping her creates a bond that is irreplaceable."
He’s worried about workplace flexibility for all Americans: "We always say that we want parents involved in our kids' education… "There are millions of families out there who can't even imagine taking time off to go to a parent-teacher conference."
He’s concerned about high quality child care for all Americans: "We don't do a very good job providing high-quality, affordable child care, and there are a lot of countries, a lot of our competitors do it," declared the President. "That means that it's a lot easier for women to be in the workforce and not have to make choices that ultimately mean they're, in some cases, getting paid less or having less opportunities. And it also means, by the way, that our kids are more likely to thrive."
He wants equal pay to be a federal priority: "We've done some things administratively on that front. I always say that shouldn't be a women's issue because I always wanted Michelle to make sure that she was getting paid fairly because when she brought her paycheck home, that went into the overall pot to help us pay our bills," said the President.
"I'm going to be taking some action, a presidential memorandum directing every federal agency to be very clear to their employees that it is my view that offering flexibility where possible is the right thing to do. We don't want people having to choose between family and work when you've got an emergency situation," Obama promised.
"I've got a strong, successful wife, who I remember being reduced to tears sometimes because she couldn't figure out how to juggle everything that she was doing. And I've got two daughters that I care about more than anything in the world," the President said. "And so this is personal for me. And I think it's personal for a lot of people… This is not just a women's issue. This is a middle-class issue and an American issue,"
This is what the President of the United States of America and his executive administration is concerned about today. And I’m absolutely certain that if the greatest president of them all ever thought this kind of thing would conceivably be happening to his country – that this would be the purpose of the federal government -- in the 2tst century…
George Washington would blush.