If we look for great women disrupters in history, we find that they are attached to men who have been the great stabilizers of history.
Let’s begin with Eleanor Roosevelt, who took her husband from being a 2 term pacifist who wanted and supported isolationism to a champion of the free world. She never let him use his place in the wheelchair to hide. She moved him with great power to see himself as capable of being flexible. This is especially obvious in her role of support that moved him to stand when he spoke and to step into the hero place when he needed to be for the moments of world crisis.
We can see his isolationist choices even in how he chose to fight WWII. It is also painfully obvious in how he failed to curb the Soviet aggression at the end. We should not see his failure to curb that aggression as a sin, but rather the price we paid to have a president who was able to do the powerful things he did do. If we had used the systems of checks and balances which are natural resources available to all nations and peoples, the United States could have taken on the Stalin murders a lot more aggressively.
Now we again have an isolationist president. However, he has never gave his wife a place in the White House. In fact, she has even hinted at what could be dissatisfaction with her place and role when in an interview during the 2012 campaign, she said that there were a few things which she would be bringing up with her husband after his service as president was over. Eleanor never had that option. She was well aware that her husband fought for his life every day. If she needed to discuss something, it had to be then, in the moment. And Franklin treasured her, even though she did not have a degree from a University as is honored by the world which is something Michelle Obama has.
If we are to look for the greatest female disruptors, we will find them in partnership with the greatest male leaders. It is when the world sees Coretta Scott King as a powerful disruptor of her husband that we will understand how disruption, which relies on endurance, is balanced by stability which relies on strength. Coretta did not survive her husband’s death well in the public eye because she was still a strong disruptor, with no one strong enough to stabilize and honor her life.
If we look at Laura Welch Bush, we will see a powerful disruptor who lifted her husband up out of depression and alcoholism to become a president. She did not do it of her own volition. Rather, she did it by requiring him to live up to his full potential. You better believe that from Martha Washington to Mary Todd Lincoln to Laura Welch Bush, those women may act as if the presidency was not their goal, but their men would never have been president if they had not chosen to put them there.
Not one of those women I am mentioning lifted, disrupted or moved their husbands by brute strength, but rather by long enduring fortitude which led by example, inspiration and respect. Sadly, the one woman I am not including in that list, who has not seen how to bring her husband from the elite intellectualism of isolationist action to a very human realism that would have made him a hero is Michelle. She seems quite clueless as to her power move and inspire greatness now that she has come to the White House with him.
It is interesting that Mr. Obama appears to have become more petty and narrow as time has passed. He is not any less of a wise leader, but instead of growing to greatness, he has shrunk in the face of danger. Michelle may not have stopped believing in him, but in all appearances, she has never grasped how to inspire others to respect him.
We are now faced as a nation with an enslavement far worse than the slavery of the Black Africans who came to the United States of America. Because we used war to remove ourselves from slavery, we seem to have traded the slavery of the plantation for the slavery of a monopoly in government. Instead of being allowed to govern ourselves within a safe structure of government, we now have a government trying to be the ‘Great Solution’ to all the ills of life. There was never a faster way to have great ills in life than to live in slavery where you are not allowed to choose how life will be hard.
In this blog we have reviewed briefly the life of Eleanor Roosevelt as a great disrupter and touched on how a few of the other First Ladies measure up. In the next blog, we will touch on how disrupting is a choice and why we choose to disrupt ourselves, our communities and businesses and our nation (our government).