the democratic national convention is taking place in charlotte, north carolina this week, following the republican national convention which was held in tampa, florida. last night, before 20,000 people diverse in age, culture, faith, gender & orientation - unlike the gop contingent - first lady michelle obama electrified the audience with a brilliantly moving testimony to her husband, family & nation.
her message was simple: president barack obama is just like you. "barack knows the american dream because he's lived it," she said. the first lady tried to reassure voters her husband shares their values of faith, hard work, perseverance & sacrifice. as such, she drew a stark contrast between obama & gop nominee mitt romney, although she never mentioned his name in her powerful speech.
first lady michelle obama reminded folks of their tough times together as a couple when "we were so young, so in love, so in debt...our combined monthly student loans was more than our mortgage," said the first lady. the comment drew laughter from the packed house. mrs. obama said her husband got his favorite coffee table from a dumpster & sometimes wore dress shoes a size too small.
with a mix of personal anecdotes & policy talk, the first lady's speech was her most poignantly political to date. said the first lady, "today, after so many struggles & triumphs & moments that have tested my husband in ways i never could have imagined, i have seen first hand that being president doesn't change who you are - it reveals who you are."
she painted a portrait of a leader who knows first hand the struggles of everyday americans who listen to them with compassion & empathy as president, while he also tries to keep their best interests at heart & in mind. said mrs. obama, "that's the man i see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him...i see the concern in his eyes & i hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, "you won't believe what these folks are going through michelle, it's not right, we've got to keep working to fix this. we've got more work to do."
the first lady sought to counter republicans trying to depict obama as something other than a typical american, while implying romney can't relate to people burdened with a recessive economy. yet neither obama nor romney live like the average working-class american who struggles daily with credit card debt, health care costs & mortgage payments. both men are millionaires who have access to power, privilege & resources few americans will ever experience.
as she stood in the center of the convention's blue-carpeted stage rocking a bright pink dress, mrs. obama's words spoke to the core contrast between the democratic party platform & the republican party platform. democrats say the president is pushing policies to boost the middle class, while romney wants to protect the wealthy & hope their success trickles down. the crowd roared with chants of "four more years."
mrs. obama delved more deeply into the details of her husband's policies than in any of her previous speeches, demonstrating her courage, growth & integrity. the first lady promoted signing of the lily ledbetter act giving women equal work for equal pay, his health care overhaul, push for tax cuts among middle incomer earners & the auto bailout he engineered early on in his presidency. she said, "in the end, for barack, these issues aren't political, they're personal."
the first lady is the most popular figure in this year's presidential campaign. in fact, she earns higher favor ability ratings than the commander-in-chief, his republican rival, the other contender for first lady, or either candidate for the vice presidency. according to the latest associated press-gfk poll, 64% of americans said they had a favorable view of mrs. obama, compared to 53% for the president.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.