Opinion: GOP staffer not thankful for the Obama daughters this Thanksgiving

Carley Hull is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Carley Hull

While most of us were celebrating Thanksgiving break and enjoying time with our families, others were publicly picking on teenage girls.

To be more exact, Elizabeth Lauten, communications director for Tennessee Rep. Steve Fincher and a former communications staffer for the Republican National Committee, wrote a Facebook post ridiculing President Obama’s teenage daughters Sasha, 13, and Malia, 16, of their behavior during the televised presidential turkey pardon ceremony the day before Thanksgiving.

Lauten’s post accused the girls of not showing class by dressing like they were going to the bar and making faces. She also went on about her clear dislike of their parents by calling them bad role models. 

In a culture that advocates against it, I find Lauten’s post a clear case of cyberbullying. It is not acceptable for a grown women to publicly try to humiliate teenage girls, regardless of who their father is, as well as take a gross interpretation of what actually is happening to use against a political figure she doesn’t like.

This is 2014. Teenage girls wear skirts and dresses above the knee. The average teenage girl would wear similar outfits, and don’t these girls deserve as normal a teenage life as possible? You can’t expect any teenage girl to show up in an mid-length skirt or dress unless it is in style or she is a Duggar, a Mennonite or an Amish. 

Not only was this criticism of their dress more distasteful on Lauten’s part, her call for these ladies to “try showing a little class” is horribly ironic as it makes her look like a classless woman who looks to pick on presidential children in order to express her disdain for the president. 

The “faces” these girls were accused of making were possibly during their lack of laughter at Obama’s joke or their decline to pet the turkey. When is your dad the most hilarious man alive and when is a teenage girl going to be extremely excited to pet a turkey? Never. Turkeys look nasty. I wouldn’t want to touch one.

What is more interesting about Lauten’s accusations is that trying to make these girls look bad is like trying to make a kitten look like a ravenous bear compared to the actual bad behavior of other Presidential kids. The Bush twins were both cited for underage alcohol-related misdemeanor charges while President Bush was in office, which is clearly worse behavior than a person’s interpretation of two teenage girl’s dress and facial expressions. 

Lauten has since apologized for her post, saying “I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager.”

She went on to apologize for the hurtful nature of her words. 

While this apology is a good step to fixing this distasteful statement, I think it is clear that even adults working for powerful political figures and entities need to learn how to properly use social media to speak their minds in a respectful way. It’s OK not to agree with a political party or even the president, but don’t drag their kids in and be a bully.