At first, I was just going to do this slideshow, but in going through the year's worth of pictures of First Lady Michelle Obama, I couldn't help finding myself smiling, picture after picture. There was no hiding my respect and admiration for the woman who would become the first Black First Lady of the United States.
I watched 'Hater' Robin Givhan on Washington Watch speak of the 'disappointment' in the First Lady when she proclaimed that she would be the 'MOM-IN-CHIEF'. To that, I will respond as I did in November 2008:
Michelle Obama has 2 small children that she wants to prevent from becoming subjects of an ‘ E! True Hollywood Story’. Black women know that means HANDS ON PARENTING. Why is this so hard for people to believe that this woman means for her children to THRIVE in this world? Are they so unaccomsted to seeing a devoted Black mother that they’re twitching with nervousness?
Why is it difficult to believe that Michelle Obama would put her children first? Did you not read the stories about her? How she took an infant Sasha with her to a job interview? The type of security and self-assurance of a woman who would do that? The statement, ever so quiet, but strong that it made?
She seems to have an actual MARRIAGE, which means that it will be up to HER to try and carve out a portion of the world for the future President that is REAL…that he can decompress from the pressures of being President.
Add into it that she’s the first Black First Lady, and if she did everything the same that Laura Bush did, it would be different, JUST BECAUSE MICHELLE OBAMA IS DOING IT.
From where I sit, that means Michelle Obama will be busy from sun up to sun down for the next 4, hopefully 8 years.
I don’t know what the hell these folks want Michelle Obama to do.
Actually, I do know…they want her to be another Hillary Clinton.
But, Michelle Obama would NEVER, and I mean NEVER, put Barack Obama in that position. She would never disrespect Barack Obama that way by overreaching. She would NEVER undermine his Presidency that way.
I believe that the actions of the First Lady have proven me correct.
It has been an absolute joy to watch the First Lady take the time to carve out for herself her OWN definition of the job. She has taken on issues that are close to her heart, and personalized them.
Beginning with her ' listening/appreciation' tour of the federal agencies. The employees who do the in-and-out of the work of the government, no matter what party is in office. To say that they have been disrespected over the past GOP Administrations is an understatement. So, to just have the First Lady show up and say, ' we appreciate the professional work that you do', was in itself, a miracle of sorts.
We have watched the First Lady give attention to military families and their sacrifices at home while their loved ones are abroad. She has become a passionate advocate for supporting our military families, telling of the problems they go through while at home.
We have an obesity epidemic in this country, and what does the First Lady do? She plants a garden. Some simple, but is an example for what could be done around the country. Many people in urban areas live in 'food deserts', but a garden is simple to plant. Could be done at a home. Could be done at a church. Could get a group of church members together and plant one. Not only would the food be fresh, but without pesticides. I love how, in being direct without being obvious, the First Lady is championing organic foods. How she's championing local grown produce. How, everytime you see her discuss the garden, she's doing it around a group of children - children that we need to reach, so that they can be instructed in how to have better habits. So that they can get an appreciation for food. So that we can begin to attack possible health issues for our children, who are getting diabetes and other adult diseases at an unprecedented rate. She has used her bully pulpit without seeming to be a bully.
Then, there is the First Lady's Mentoring program. Reaching out to young women with promise, and giving them a hand up. Showing them that there is a way for them, and to reinforce their positive choices. The last picture I chose for the slideshow was one that I had ' missed' - it was relatively new to my eyes. The First Lady and a young woman that I recognized from the mentoring pictures, were going down the hallway in the White House. This young woman, who has already shown promise, otherwise she wouldn't have been chosen for the program - and there she was, talking with the First Lady of the United States. I thought, I don't know of another First Lady in recent history where I would have actually believed that photo was anything other than a photo-op. Whether it's with the young women in the mentoring program, or the young girls in London, I believe that these young women touch the First Lady because she sees herself in them. She was a promising public school student, doing the hard work, studying for good grades, staying on the positive course. Along the way, she was noticed by teachers, here and there, who challenged her and gave her encouragement, and she wants to do the same for others. Children can FEEL that coming from the First Lady, which is why they naturally gravitate towards her.
Finally, it's the attempt by this First Lady to truly turn the White House into ' The People's House'. Reaching out to the young people who have lived in Washington, DC their entire lives, yet the White House might as well have been on Mars, for how the children connected to it. That they would see the White House as somewhere that they could feel WELCOME. They democratized how tickets were given out for the Easter Egg Hunt. They invited local school children to come celebrate Halloween. The garden was planted with youngsters from a local DC Public School. The children invited to the music workshops are local schoolchildren. The mentoring program is with promising local teens. The nation's birthday was celebrated with our troops and their families. ANYTIME this White House could reach out to the youth of the local DC area, they have, and thus have opened the eyes of too many children to count. This First Family, led by the President and First Lady, are sending the message to everyday Washington that ' we want to be good neighbors'.
As I look over this past year, I couldn't be prouder of Mrs. Obama. She has been a source of pride, and this country is so very lucky to have her as its First Lady.
I was going over the ' Goosebumps' Moments post that was done in November 2008. It's wonderful to see how many incidents that we wanted to see actually happened.
I will close out this post using the quote by Yogo that she posted in 2007 about what Michelle Obama would mean:
May 24, 2007 at 1:34 pm
I joke a lot about these two, but something sticks out at me about the whole campaign. especially after seeing this interview:
I like her. And not because of any strong this and that, she just seems genuine.
Is America ready for a First Lady who looks like her? A regular black woman? Not a passable biracial curly girl that they call black, but a regular black woman from the south side of Chicago? With dark skin?
Is she going to be the face of The Woman on the largest pedestal in the country? A self-confessed “loud-mouth” black woman?
If they succeed, it turns white supremacy upside down. And not, in my opinion, because a black man is in the White House, it’s because a black woman is in there. And she didn’t have to come in the back door to lie in bed with the president.