I listened to Michell Obama, at least half of her speech, before being interrupted by putting my son to bed. Then afterward, was finally able to listen to the entire speech via video. Thank God/FSM/Goddess for the Intertubes!!!! Evidently she wrote this speech herself, working on it for more than a month, and it shows. She was completely comfortable with what she was saying and so well versed in it that she could let her emotion shine through. And she surely did.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
Being President doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.
….when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you.
He [Pres. Obama] reminds me that we are playing the long game here and that change is hard and change is slow and it never happens all at once, but eventually we get there. We always do.
And this last part moved me to tears because I can relate to every aspect of what she talks about. She said:
If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time…if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.
I have ancestors, farmers, who risked everything and fought against England for our Independence. I have many ancestors that crossed the dangerous Atlantic desperate to make a new beginning and did so successfully at great sacrifice. I had female role models, women like my grandmother who raised four kids and ran her husband’s gas station while he worked two other jobs during the Depression and WWII without ever receiving a paycheck or acknowledgment of any kind. Women that picked up their fallen husband’s musket and took his place on the line in the American Revolution. Women like mother who worked 12-16 hour days to provide for the six of us with hardly a word of complaint. I grew up in Memphis and know Dr. King’s story intimately…I have seen the spot where he was shot and grieved over the legacy of hate. I know first hand how racism separates us from true understanding. I knew this by the time I was in kindergarten. I was not allowed to be friends with other little girls because they were African American. I have known and know many in the LGBT community and in my family, who live among us, worthy of our respect and love, but still they have to hide in plain sight and get treated as less than nothing in the eyes of both the legal system and in our everyday lives. I know what it is dream of a better life, to work your ass off to put yourself through college and then struggle to pay off those student loans. What Michelle Obama spoke of, I know deep down in my bones because I have lived it. It is the quintessential American story and I know that she gets it.
And if that weren’t enough, the final two minutes of her speech were beyond compare. Listen to the passion in her voice. I will admit to my bias in support of President Obama. But I dare you to watch those final minutes of her speech and not be in awe of that dedication, that love and that passion for her family, her husband and her country. If that doesn’t move you, there is nothing more to be said between you and I. What she showed us tonight is the very definition of love. That my friends is not just love of her family but it is patriotism too…that is what it is supposed to be about. I saw none of that from Ann Romney and the entire RNC last week. I can honestly say, without any sarcasm or reservation, that I could only hope to be half the woman Michelle Obama is when I shuffle off this mortal coil.