In general I don't like to write about political spouses. Regardless of party of preference, in general I think families deserve a wide berth. Personally I suspect most political spouses signed up for the trip, and some political pairings seem to be more about the political journey than anything else. But I think we all deserve a veil of privacy on the homefront. A degree of respect.
Melania Trump has never been granted a second of respect by the mainstream media. She has been savaged for more than four years. The day after the 2016 election bitter partisans were marching around Trump Tower in Manhattan waving handmade signs ornamented with the words "Rape Melania." The mainstream media snickered with delight. To them, Melania Trump deserved no respect. They savaged her. They delighted in overt threats. The feminists who claimed they "cared" about all women, they didn't care about Melania Trump. They didn't think she was "fair game"... they wanted to savage her to a bloody pulp. They were looking for a weak target. They had been sniping at her since before the election. Her accent was "foreign"... her education less than Ivy League elite... she was born on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain... she hit the fashion industry as one of many leggy beauties from the old Soviet Union satellites... oh yeah, and she was married to a guy who flipped Republican and utterly upended the political landscape. Obviously the privileged professional "feminists" of the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and academia would go on the attack.
But something odd happened in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The media haters didn't develop a sense of shame. Or class. The self described arbiters of "feminism" didn't decide Melania Trump was at least as deserving of respect as the Clintons' cat. (To be fair, the "feminists" never seemed to think Monica Lewinsky deserved a smidge of compassion either.) The attacks weren't toned down, or abandoned. But Melania Trump rose above everything.
With class, dignity, grace and style, Melania Trump rose above it all. She has risen above it all for years. The acronym FLOTUS --First Lady of the United States-- is nothing short of irritating to me. But it suits Melania Trump. She has been, for years, a lady first. Regardless of her husband's position, regardless of the media narrative, regardless of the chanting mobs of haters, Melania Trump has been a lady first. Melania Trump is a lady of dignity, grace and style.
Style, sadly, plays a role in this story. Unlike most First Ladies, Melania Trump had a high profile career in her own right before her husband dove into politics. We've had political wives with careers before. But none who has ever had a high profile non political career.
I've heard Progressive Feminists use the foulest language possible to snipe at Mrs. Trump. They've called her names and giggled proudly as they did so... They've gone lower and lower and lower. When they're called out and asked questions --like why do you think that?-- they huff and shrug and say they "know" people who "know" things.
Well... I know a few things. I don't personally know Mrs. Trump, I will probably never meet her. But I know that decades ago, before she met Donald Trump, before The Donald dove into politics, she successfully navigated an industry notorious for chewing up and destroying beautiful women. Being a survivor in the world of fashion is an accomplishment. A serious accomplishment. I know a few things about the fashion world. I'm not as glamorous as Mrs. Trump, but I've worked in the back end of fashion. It is a world filled with people eager to sell their own grandmothers for an extra three percent market share. It is a world filled with shallow people without much in the way of morals. It is a world filled with virtue signalers. The fashion world is a world where real corpses get kicked under the metaphorical carpet in pursuit of petty profits. Ever heard of the Rana Plaza disaster? Most people haven't. Back in 2013 a cut and sew sweatshop in Bangladesh spontaneously collapsed. No building codes to speak of, no morals on the part of the Western fashion labels who contracted out their production work to the cheapest possible Bangladeshi sweatshop. Over eleven hundred people were killed. Think about that. Eleven hundred people died, so Western fashion labels could sell cheap tops at department stores. If you haven't heard of the story you aren't alone. The fashion industry paid lip service to the victims, promised to clean up their act and went on as usual comfortable in the knowledge that consumers wouldn't care. (For the record, I care. I've been on a one woman crusade to clothe myself in American made garments for the last seven years. Expensive and bizarre, but I'd rather not wonder who died so I could buy a "designer" top.)
In general the fashion industry has about as much respect for Eastern European models as it does for Bangladeshi sweatshop workers. The fashion industry sees people, especially people on the poorer fringes of the West, as disposable. Yeah.... so models are almost always underfed, walking the catwalks at 15, being eyed by lecherous photographers, chewed up and thrown away at nineteen. So? That is news?
The news is, almost thirty years ago a young woman from Slovenia named Melania refused to be thrown away, and largely succeeded in not being taken advantage of. Melania Trump was an icon in her own right, and a financial success before she ever married that developer from Queens. In a normal world everyone, regardless of political party, should be happy about that.
But the modern Left is the party of hate, and a party of haters. Hate is fuel for the Left. And hating Melania Trump has been fuel for the Left for the last few years. Melania Trump has been the recipient of the non stop hate of the chattering classes for years now. She's been threatened. She's had her child threatened. She's been mocked by people who say they "care" about women. (Obviously the caring classes only care about some women.) She's had almost as many fake stories written about her as her husband has. She's had "friends" turn on her. She's been savaged. The New York Times, in particular, has earned it's new nickname "The New York Slime." The incessant crudeness and gutter style attempts at humor perpetrated by the two-bit semi-colon wielding writers at the Times as they attacked Melania Trump have been nothing short of embarrassing.The vindictive and vicious chattering classes have divorced themselves from reason as they turned themselves into the cheerleaders of hate and attacked Melania Trump. Somehow they even turned it into snarky "news" that she buys her own wardrobe. (Leftist female icons like the perennial candidate and wife, Hillary Clinton, the writers at the Times told us, were "loved" by the fashion world because they had a "coherent style image." Melania Trump, the actual model who was one of us, just shopped.)
It should have been a match made in heaven. The fashion world and the fashion icon First Lady. Back in 2016 America needed a dose of fashion. The fashion world really needed an icon. (This isn't political, it is business. The American fashion world had been losing touch for years. We needed an icon, we needed a role model, we needed someone to bring glamor back. We needed someone who would set the right note in every possible environment.) Melania Trump was nothing short of a gift... and we threw her under the bus to appease the chattering classes who "write" about "fashion" and have never sold a dress. (To be fair, a lot of fashion writers don't buy dresses either... they hustle them out of designers. Freebies and swag an accepted part of the fashion writing world. In a less narrative driven world we'd re-label the swag and freebies and just call them "bribes" and "pay-offs.")
I don't know Melania Trump, but I know she must have realized what a personal and petty insult it truly was when the big glossy magazines skipped their traditional "First Lady" covers and instead did fashion spreads on the ex First Ladies, random Democrats from the House of Representatives, and two bit "Progressives" dressed up in borrowed clothes and too much lipstick, parroting political lines written by people smarter than they are. So the fashion world followed the legacy media into an ocean of hate and irrelevance.
But Melania Trump rose above it. She wasn't a candle in the dark, a lonely flame of lovely reason in a winter of witless jibes. No, Melania Trump has stood tall, like a lighthouse on the stormy coast. She has shone as brightly as a fifty thousand watt Fresnel lens. She has responded to the hate and attacks --which she is doubtless more than intelligent enough to understand, stupid people don't emerge from the fashion world unscathed-- with grace, dignity, class, style and even, on occasion, humor. (I saw that coat, the famous one, the I-don't-give-a-damn-coat, I know what that meant.)
The Western media's chattering classes attacked her when she headed to the Middle East, head high, glamorous and uncovered. (Because, apparently, Western feminists prefer it if a woman knows her place is as a second class subject. Because, culture.) But Melania Trump has strength, and dignity. And millions of women (and men) needed to see that.
Melania Trump still has strength and dignity, style and class. She is still a lady first. And she is still playing her role. So, sadly, are the chattering nitwits. This Christmas in this hard and bitter year of 2020, the chattering classes have found a new angle of attack to go after Melania Trump. They've decided her Christmas decorations at the Whitehouse offend them. And so they are savaging her once again. They are attacking a CHRISTMAS TREE! (And they dare say there is no war on Christmas. True, there isn't a war on Christmas, just the occasional drive-by attack.) If you have a degree in journalism from any school more prestigious than your local daycare purporting to be a kindergarten and you ACTUALLY think attacking the Whitehouse Christmas tree is a good use of your skills, maybe you should look into a different field of work.
But this shouldn't be about the haters. Haters hate. They don't have the skills to do anything else. This is about a lady and a Christmas. Melania Trump has shown us all, for years, what it means to hold your head high and be a lady. And yes, Mrs. Trump's Christmas trees look fabulous too... Mrs. Trump, if you ever read this, Merry Christmas. And thank you... Thank you for showing us how to be a lady first. You have kept it classy. You have kept your head high. You have been gracious. You have always had style. So Merry Christmas, may this and every Christmas be good for you and yours. The chattering mobs hate you, but we don't. And the chattering mobs, they are beneath your dignity. You have always been a lady first. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas from the depths of my heart. And thank you.