A First Lady "platform" should not turn into government policy

There’s a big announcement coming from the East Wing this afternoon. In case you thought that was a typo, it’s not. This is the long-anticipated announcement from the First Lady of the United States regarding her “platform” for the coming months and years. It’s currently scheduled for three o’clock in the afternoon and the annoucement will be made in the Rose Garden. You can see the various ways to view it here.

So what does FLOTUS plan to be working on? It’s generally agreed that she will focus on the welfare of children, which is in keeping with the many trips she’s taken to visit children’s hospitals and schools. CNN offers some hints as to the specifics.

Melania Trump will announce her eagerly awaited formal platform Monday during a Rose Garden event, nearly 16 months into her tenure as first lady.

While Trump has since September of last year said she plans to focus her efforts on the well-being of children, she had yet to define what exactly that means, instead delving into a broad range of topics under a wide umbrella of issues…

Trump will not land on just one issue affecting children, instead expanding the platform to include other keynote causes. Her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham tells CNN Trump’s approach will be a multi-pronged.

“As has been evidenced by the many events Mrs. Trump has participated in during her time as first lady, her focus will be the overall well-being of children. Something unique though: She has not narrowed her platform down to just one topic as has been done in the past,” Grisham said. “Mrs. Trump wishes to help the next generation by creating change through awareness on a variety of issues that affect children.”

Let me just start by saying that I’ve become an unabashed fan of the First Lady. I knew virtually nothing about her before her husband ran for office, but I’ve since been very impressed with not only her poise and beauty but her many trips to meet and pray with ailing children in hospitals and compassionate outreach to their families. At this point, I follow her on a couple of social media platforms and believe that she’s an admirable presence in Washington.

With all of that said, I hope that this doesn’t turn from an agenda of serving as a positive role model and advocate for charitable, compassionate work by citizens into some sort of legislative agenda. I’m not implying that this is what she has in mind, but we’ve seen it happen too often in the past. Michelle Obama was fully within her rights to want to encourage kids to eat more healthy meals and plant a garden at the White House. But when that turned into changes in the nation’s school meal programs it crossed over into the policy arena. And then we have Bill Clinton’s wife who got her hands into the machinery of health care policy and… enough said.

Keep in mind that Donald Trump was elected President and Mike Pence was elected Vice President. Nobody voted for Melania Trump or Karen Pence or any office in the land. Their positions are ceremonial and they have no duties in running the government. This is an important distinction to make because if they have a “job” in the government, the citizens have no recourse to remove them if we’re not satisfied with their performance.

With those cautions in mind, if the First Lady can inspire people to do more for children, give charitably to children’s hospitals, encourage parents to monitor their children and put an end to bullying or anything of the sort, that would admirable work well done. She should be supported in such efforts. But if it turns into formal changes in policy affecting public schools, then it’s gone too far. Even if it’s the most brilliant solution imaginable, we don’t need another rendition of Hillarycare for kids.