Letters About Politics: Me and My Mom Discuss Michelle Obama and…
Yesterday, Tue, 9/9/08, my mom, Anita, sent me an email that really bothered me, mostly for it’s tone, judgement and obvious dislike of Michelle Obama, Barack Obama’s wife.
I wrote my mom back with a response, and then, this morning, she wrote me
again, too. I encourage you to read through this conversation and get one going with your own parents
IT ALL STARTED WITH THIS EMAIL FROM MY MOM:
From: Anita Hickman
Subject: Michelle vs. Michelle
To: “Sara Hickman”
Date: Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 4:36 PM
*The following article is worth reading and considering.*
TWO MICHELLES, TWO AMERICAS & SHAME vs. PRIDE
Like Michelle Obama, I am a “woman of color.” Like Michelle Obama, I am a
working mother of two young children. Like Michelle Obama,
I am a member of the 13th generation of Americans born since the founding of
our great nation.
Unlike Michelle Obama, I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve been
proud – really proud – of my country since I was born and privileged to live
in it. At a recent speech in Milwaukee on behalf of her husband’s Democratic
presidential campaign, Mrs Obama remarked, “For the first time in my adult
lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has
done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”
Mrs. Obama’s statement was met with warm applause from other Barack
supporters who have also apparently been devoid of pride in their country
during their adult lifetimes. Or maybe it was just a Pavlovian response to
the word “change.” What a sad, empty, narcissistic, ungrateful, unthinking lot!
I’m just seven years younger than Mrs. Obama. We’ve grown up and lived in
the same era. And yet, her self-absorbed attitude is
completely foreign to me. What planet is she living on? Since when was now the
only time the American people have ever been “hungry for change”?
Michelle, ma belle, Barack is not the center of the universe. Newsflash: The Obamas did not invent “change” any more than
Hillary invented “leadership” or John McCain invented “straight talk.” We were both adults when the Berlin
Wall fell, Michelle. That was earth-shattering change. We’ve lived through two decades’ worth of peaceful, if contentious,
election cycles under the rule of law, which have brought about “change” and upheaval, both good and
bad. We were adults through several launches of the space shuttle, in case
you were snoozing. And as adults, we’ve witnessed and benefited from dizzyingly rapid advances in technology, communications,
science, and medicine pioneered by American entrepreneurs who yearned to change the world and succeeded. You want “change”? Go ask the
patients whose lives have been improved and extended by American pharmaceutical companies
that have flourished under the best economic system in the world.
If American ingenuity, a robust constitutional republic, and the fall of
communism don’t do it for you, hon, then how about American heroism and
sacrifice? How about every Memorial Day? Every Veterans Day? Every Independence Day? Every Medal of Honor ceremony? Has she
never attended a welcome-home ceremony for the troops? For me, there’s the thrill of the Blue
Angels roaring over cloudless skies. And the somber awe felt amid the
hallowed waters that surround the sunken U.S.S. Arizona at the Pearl Harbor memorial.
Every naturalization ceremony I’ve attended, where hundreds of new Americans
raised their hands to swear an oath of allegiance to this land of liberty,
has been a moment of pride for me. So have the awesome displays of American
compassion at home and around the world. When millions of Americans rallied
to help victims of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia -including members of
the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group that sped from Hong Kong to
assist survivors – my heart filled with pride. It did again when the
citizens of Houston opened their arms to Hurricane Katrina victims and folks
across the country rushed to their churches and offices of the Salvation
Army and Red Cross to volunteer.
How about American resilience? Does that not make you proud, Michelle? Only a heart of stone could be unmoved by the strength, valor,
and determination displayed in New York , Washington , D.C., and Shanksville, Pa. , on September 11, 2001.
I believe it was Michael Kinsley who quipped that a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. In this case, it’s what
happens when an elite Democratic politician’s wife says what a significant portion of the party’s
base really believes to be the truth: America is more a source of shame than pride.
Michelle Obama has achieved enormous professional success, political influence, and personal acclaim in America . Ivy League
educated, she’s been lauded by Essence magazine as one of the 25 World’s Most Inspiring Women; by
Vanity Fair as one of the ten World’s Best-Dressed Women; and named one of “The Harvard 100” most influential alumni. She
has had an amazingly blessed life. But, you wouldn’t know it from her campaign rhetoric and her griping
about her and her husband’s student loans.
For years, we’ve heard liberals get offended at any challenge to their
patriotism. And so they are again aggrieved and rising to explain away Mrs. Obama’s remarks.
Lady Michelle and her defenders protest too much!
TO WHICH I REPLIED:
There is a lot to love about this country. I don’t think Ms. Obama was “dissing that”. I think I understand, and so I have to agree with Michelle Obama, Obama’s wife, on why she MIGHT have said what she said that day…
Like her, I see the other side of America, the side that is greedy, that does NOT take care of it’s homeless. How America’s WAR VETERANS suffer upon returning home (we allow MOLD to grow in their hospitals? We don’t help them with their head injuries and their severed limbs?) We have racism, like in Jasper, Texas, when James Byrd is dragged to his death and then Governor George Bush claims he will sign
into law a Hate Crimes bill if only Mrs. Byrd, James’ mother will back him on it. She declines because even though it would have honored her son and, possibly, helped lessen further racist crimes, Gov. Bush had inserted a section of the bill that did NOT include crimes against homosexuals as “hateful” (thus, Jenny and Addison could be beaten and killed, simply because they are gay, and there would be no additional addendum to the perpetrator’s crimes…) Mrs. Byrd SAID NO because she considers any crime against others because of WHO THEY ARE a hate crime.
Or what about Dick Cheney/Halliburton, and the trillions TRILLIONS of dollars we are in debt for a war that has proven to have been full of lies and misleading idealogy? What about all the lobbyists stuffing our politicians pockets? What about lack of leadership? Isn’t that sinful?
What about McCain voting FOR TORTURE when he, himself, was tortured and now wants us to have sympathy for the very thing he endured? Yes, we have seen, also, improvements in technology, science…and, yet, who speaks out on behalf of those suffering for those improvements? The slave workers doing tedious tasks, locked in warehouses, paid insidious wages, to create those computers…Or what about those bananas we eat? American companies
pay workers in South America 6 cents a DAY and workers are forced to live in “company housing”…it is the modern slavery.
Oh, yes, the American people took to New Orleans and responded quickly and diligently. Did the American government? No. And how many years have passed by in that folks are still in that bedraggled city, living in
trailers that harbor FORMALDYHYDE, their real homes still lying destroyed and uninhabitable. Where are our tax dollars going to help one of our greatest cities? Why is the American public not infuriated by the lack of helping their own?
Is “patriotism” blinded by lack of MORALITY? I will take morality over patriotism any day. Otherwise, we have become just like the enemies we claim to wish to deter and abolish.
It is easy to be swept away by what may seem like truth, but it is always best to investigate both sides of everything before jumping on any band wagon and judging by utilizing another’s alleged claim to knowledge of the facts.
What I have been saying to audiences lately is this:
Don’t vote based on someone’s skin color or gender or military history.
Vote with your head, not your heart. Find out everything you can about these politicians because the time is NOW. There is no more time for
bickering and fooling around. There is the truth, and then there is untruth—and it is becoming fuzzier and fuzzier as to what is what.
Do the right thing. I can’t tell you who to vote for, but I can tell you this: Vote and vote wisely.
If you don’t mind, I would like to post what you sent me on my blog along with my reply to you. Let me know if this is ok. This is the
sort of dialogue people need to see—two sides of the coin…so they can make up their own minds about what they believe to be real.
People ARE hungry for change. People want the government to be “of the people, for the people”, not “of the corpocracy, for the corpocracy” any longer.
I fear for what will happen if people do not wake up and use the brains that God gave us to USE.
AND THEN MY MOM SAID:
I am happy for you to post my email and yours. That is what this
country is all about–individuals being able to speak out in freedom
about what they believe and why.
It is thrilling to see the American public finally taking an interest
in politics after many years of apathy on the part of so many. The
more each of us investigates, reads, searches, listens and responds to
what the candidates are saying and doing and stand for, and to what
they have have said and done and stood for in the past, the more valid
will be the election results.
It doesn’t matter so much how each of us decides to vote, but it does
matter that we each vote from a well-informed position.
My early-morning walk is over, the sun’s rays are filtering through
the trees, a bird song is echoing off the hills and I am grateful to
have been blessed by the privilege of having lived my life as a
citizen of the great country. With all its problems and failures and
shortfalls, it is still the land of opportunity, the land that for so
many years has said:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
It’s still the land where a black man, raised by a single white mom,
can get a good education, go into politics, and end up as a candidate
It’s still the land where a Navy pilot, who survived five years of
unimaginably wretched conditions as a prisoner of war, can come home,
become a public servant, and end up as a candidate for president.
It’s still the land where you and I can get up each day, follow our
own agendas and, given our dreams and abilities, shape our own
I believe we both want a leader who will work to make this country
better than it is–one who can best bring about positive change so
that ALL those in leadership positions in Washington work for the good
of ALL the people and not for the benefit of special interests.
Would that all mothers and daughters, wives and husbands, brothers and
sisters, friends and neighbors, teachers and students and others have
such honest discussions as we are having.
Love and blessings . . . Mom