Sunday, August 12, 2007

My Women for Obama Experience

Saw on the Obama site that there was going to be a Women for Obama Event with Michelle Obama. The price was right, so I got myself a ticket.

It was held in ' Da Hood'. No other way to describe it, at a hall with historic significance - was once 'the place', then for years, it was nothing, and now, a new entrepreneur is investing in the neighborhood and offering a beautiful ballroom that can hold dinners, dances, etc.

Got there well before time. It was organized. A number of young people, of different races greeting you and moving you along. Got checked in fine.

There were a good 300 women there, overwhelming majority of them Black, but some others also. A few men who had been brought there by their significant others. I was definitely one of the more underdressed Sistas at the event, for I was not in my Sunday best. It was wonderful to be surrounded by all that multi-generational Black Beauty.

Saw the Obama daughters first. They are as cute as a button in person as they are in pictures. Very lively and alert.

The first speaker was the head of Camp Obama - a nice Sista who was trying to get folks to volunteer. The introduction of Michelle was done by a young African Sista who attends the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Then, Michelle came on stage. She's quite tall; elegant. Wearing a bright fushcia dress with her trademark pearls.

Addressing the crowd, she told them that it was good to be home, in front of a hometown audience. Her speech has evolved, picking up more and more of the campaign themes.

1. How she grew up. Check.
2. How she met Barack. Check.
3. How she was convinced that he was the one for her - watching him community organize. Check.
4. What she's learned going around the country - that we are more alike than different. Check.
5. Talking about her daughters, and how she's mapped out her schedule to make sure she's at home by the time they go to bed. Check.
6. The 'experience' question. Check.
7. Explaining why she spends so much of her time traveling in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada. Check.
8. Talking about some voters holding back because of 'lowered expectations'. Check.
9. That the 'Black enough' mess is harmful to not ourselves, but our children. Check.
10. That you have to take personal responsibility for the government that you want, and if you don't participate, don't blame it on anyone else. Check.
11. While your money was fine, what we need is your body working for us. Check.

I know this seems sort of clinical, my checklist. But, I just wanted to get out the points that Michelle talked about today. That's the clinical.

Here's my emotional reponse.


I love this woman!

I tried...I really really tried to be a 'skeptic'. I tried being cynical, hardened and jaded, and 'too smart to fall for this'. I really did.

But, Michelle pulled me in.

From the moment she took the stage, she commanded it. There's something about her; something so earthy and grounded, and REAL, that she connects with you immediately. As she spoke about growing up on the South Side of Chicago, and how she spoke of her father, and the example that he and her mother provided for her and her brother, it was as if she was talking about my father, and any number of Black men that I knew growing up.

The nods in the audience from the beginning, and the dispersed 'Amens' as she continued proved to me that I wasn't the only one that Michelle was connecting to in the audience. Even though she has a life different from many of us, she used what connected us, those experiences, to make sure that the audience knew that SHE knew her blessings and was very grateful for them. Reassuring the audience that she understood that ' to whom much is given, much is expected' is something that she and Barack took to heart. She wanted to reassure the audience that she has never forgotten her roots, or those that supported them ' back in the day', and that she took those experiences to help build upon and form their dreams. Her ability to answer all the critiques about Barack and turn them around was very skillful.

Her fire is real. Her passion is real. Her bluntness and honesty are refreshing. Yes, she's a wife, a mother, a graduate of Princeton and Harvard,a professional woman, but bottom line, she's that South Side girl, and if I'm drinking Michelle's Kool-Aid, so be it, because I believe her.


I had a great time, and I'm glad that I went. And, if Barack Obama runs the gauntlet and actually winds up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Michelle Obama will be a kick ass First Lady.


Anonymous said...

So did you volunteer?

rikyrah said...

So did you volunteer?

I had signed up to volunteer long before I paid for the event. My official training is coming up soon.

Anonymous said...

What is your preferred activity?

Unfortunately, campaigns always need the most help w/ phone banking (ugh).

Brian said...

Good for you Rikyrah...

Maybe someone can tell Michelle to get her husband to tone down the pro-war talk.

But he did a fairly good job of clarifying his comments about Pakistan (although he should have tried to do it sooner).

While I might not end up supporting him directly... id rather see a Democrat in office in January 2009. Unfortunately, in this undemocratic system, they are the only viable choice we have.