Friday, February 29, 2008
Michelle Obama’s America
In my normal course of political observation, I usually refrain from taking direct shots at the spouses or other family members of political candidates. I generally believe that the candidates are the ones putting themselves in the political sphere and – for the most part – their spouse and family are along for the ride whether they like it or not.
This political cycle has produced two exceptions to that rule. The first and most glaring is Hillary Clinton and her formerly presidential husband Bill. Bill inserts himself into every single political issue and event with the hope that he can somehow rehabilitate the legacy of his (Sorry Excuse For) Administration.
Some things – and people – simply cannot be rehabilitated.
The second exception to my “Hand’s Off The Spouse” rule has now become Michelle Obama. I have yet to comment much on the campaign of her husband – Barack Obama simply for the reason that the rhetoric behind his campaign redefines “empty”. He speaks in vague generalities with buzzwords like “hope”, “change”, and the liberal catch all of “fairness”. How he will accomplish this is not explained, nor will it be. But I’ll return to that at another date.
Michelle Obama has been making headlines of her own lately. Her first widely reported controversial remark was about her newfound feelings of pride in her nation. Bill Kristol, writing in the New York Times, attributed to her this quote:
For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.Yes, dear reader, Mrs. Obama can now be proud of her country for the first time. Is there really no event over the past two decades (her adult lifetime) which could bring her to be proud of her nation? The fall of the Berlin Wall maybe? The Olympic “Dream Team” drubbing any and all comers for the Gold Medal? Oh, well. Some people are hard to impress.
Michelle’s hits kept on coming though. At a Los Angeles gathering, she let fly these immortal words:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.Ladies and Gentlemen of the Blogosphere, I don’t really care what Barack Obama is going to “demand” of me or what he will “allow” me to do. One of the greatest things about this nation is my God given right to engage, or disengage – to isolate myself, or interact with others – to push myself to be better, or sit on my couch and eat potato chips – and to live my life as I see fit. Indeed this Republic which our forefathers gave us came with an inherent freedom to do as we wish – not necessarily as Barack would have us do.
Mrs. Obama also took aim at free market capitalism today. She encouraged a group of women in Ohio to steer clear of “Corporate America”:
Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond. Many of our bright stars are going into corporate law or hedge-fund management.I’m not really sure, Michelle, but those bright stars might go to those industries because that’s where the money is. Yes, America needs social workers, teachers, and nurses. In the end, however, those are professions which are cost-centers in society and require that some other sector make the money required to pay for the work performed by said social-workers and nurses. Ask yourself one question as you read the words of Mrs. Obama – “Who is going to pay for the “helping industry” she crows about?”
The answer to that question is simple – the corporate lawyers, hedge-fund managers, small business owners, and other members of “Corporate America” she just got done savaging. In fact, she is one of those “Corporate America” types she attacks so often. She must have skipped the economics class that explained the dangers of killing the golden egg laying geese.
I’m one of those people Michelle Obama spoke about when she complained about having to pay back student loans well into middle age. I pursued a graduate education and have the student loans to prove it. I invested in myself, and if I may be so bold, I’m getting a fairly decent return on my investment. I haven’t managed to make so much money that I don’t know what to do with all of it, but I’m good at what I do and make a fairly decent living at it.
What I am not doing is waiting around for Barack or Michelle Obama to swoop in and “fix” my soul or my bank account. Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve got other people for that.
The greatness of this nation is in her people. This remains one of the few places on earth where a person truly holds the keys to his/her own destiny.
John Wayne is one of SOTR’s patron saints. Some of his immortal words are emblazoned at the top of this blog. They come from a speech he gave as Davy Crockett in his opus work The Alamo.
Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words.Freedom is what this Republic was built on. The Declaration of Independence states that government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, not the other way around. Mrs. Obama would do well to read that document once or twice.
Here endeth the lesson.