Thursday, June 19, 2008

Michelle, Etc.

Being me, I didn't watch Michelle Obama on The View (who watches these things, besides the pundits who spin them?!). But I've read the spin and it sounds like she did what she had to do: walked the fine line between being herself and giving the people what they want. Good for her.

I do think that Michelle (please, let me call her Michelle, we'd be friends if we met, I know we would) is the faultline of American politics, in a way that not even Hillary is. Because with Hillary, there's always a but. I do know people who are passionate about her (OK, one person), but even she has to acknowledge that although Hillary is competent and passionate and all sorts of other good things, there will always be the taint of everything she's been associated with, not to mention the endless triangulation and modification and pandering. In other words--let me try to say this right--I'm quite sure there is a real Hillary there--or maybe five or six real Hillarys--but I'm also quite sure that she's never fully visible.

Whereas Michelle Obama is Michelle Obama: smart Black girl from respectable working-class family who made it to Princeton and Harvard Law, married the cute, smart guy and whipped him into shape (hey, I did that too, but I got a restaurant instead of the White House), worked the mom/career thing, devoted herself to public service, bought some awesome clothes. In other words, I think she's the cat's meow, the bullseye, the best thing in this campaign.

And a lot of people out there hate her for the exact reasons I love her.

I can imagine the conversations I would be having back in No Longer Red State Capital City Suburb. Not with my close friends, but with my acquaintances: the soccer moms, and first grade teachers and neighborhood dads. They wouldn't come out and out and say "She's a smart, strong, liberal Black woman, and I don't like her." But they'd equivocate and mumble and talk about putting her foot in her mouth and leaving her kids home with their grandmother and not respecting her own husband, and they'd come up with all sorts of reasons that they weren't quite sure. They'd be the same reasons they weren't quite sure, so they'd say, about Barack, but they'd be stronger with Michelle. And I'd listen to them and think, how can we possibly live on the same planet, let alone vote in the same country.

And there's the challenge.


Genevieve said...

Yes, yes, and yes!

(not very articulate, but you summed it up so well that I have nothing but agreement)

Lucy said...

And also, on an intellectual level: What a great dress!

Lauren said...

Well said. I cannot begin to count the number of people who have stated, "I'm not quite sure about Obama..." I have been given hope living here in NC and seeing Obamacans volunteer at the campaign that was set up here for primary. However, every day I encounter these other people who are feeding off of the negativity and insanity being linked to Obama. There are people here who actually believe he is the anti-christ because of his Muslim ancestry. They really believe it. And THAT is a good reason why I gotta get my kids out of here.

Kathy said...

I agree---she's my favorite of the candidates. I only wish she could actually speak her mind---and her clothes are terrific!