Now that Laura Bush is back from the Middle East and can take off her black scarf, it's time to ask why she is promoting freedom for women in the Middle East when the rights of American women are being systemically eroded by her husband's initiatives. Is it the same reason why her husband promotes democracy abroad while the Patriot Act and the suspension of the Geneva Convention dilute democracy at home? Is wearing the headscarf the last refuge of a desperate housewife? Of course women in the Middle East need the vote, an end to domestic violence and free access to contraception. But so do we. Odd that it is always easier to proselytize for feminism abroad while ignoring deteriorating womens' rights at home.
Laura Bush is an impressive spokeswoman. Throughout her tenure as First Lady, she has ignored women's reproductive rights at home, ignored the way her husband's proposed social security changes would impoverish older women, and ignored the freedom to read compromised by the Patriot Act (strange for a librarian). Of course we've all experienced the exhilaration of travelling abroad and suddenly being able to speak freely about things we would not say in Texas or Washington. Laura Bush is one desperate housewife whose talent we could really use at home. Let Mr. Excitement go to sleep at nine. Laura Bush is the one with all the sense anyway. And she's a good speaker. If only she would use it here!