A tribute to President Barack and First Lady Michelle, Obama.
It was 2008 at the DNC Convention when I first "met" Michelle ... I was at my grandfather's house watching intently because I wanted to hear the Senator's wife.
Barack Obama was his name -
I wanted to know what she was like.
In a sea foam colored dress - with sophistication, compassion & soft wit, Mrs. Obama shared the importance of education, hard work, her father's commitment to her family and the strength of middle class America. She spoke of her "two heartbeats," her daughters, and she captured mine - first go 'round.
Michelle could've run in 2008.
As she wrapped up her first major twenty-minute hello, I ran to the guest room door and yelled down the stairs --- ok. Maybe I screamed.
"POP POP!!!!!!!! POP POP! Did you see her?!! ...Did you hear her?! She's BEAUTIFUL! ...That's our First Lady! They're gonna win!!"
With tears in my eyes & a certain elation, it didn't take long before the secret was out.
I had a new role model.
She was smart & unafraid of her own jokes.
And she could be related to me, except she wasn't..
She loved pencil skirts, and patterns, and pearls.
She was kind.
But then, Barack Obama - his sensibility, class, acumen, decency, humor, "yes we can," pure SWAG and heart for all Americans, could you deny any of it? ... Not easily rattled, roughed up or discouraged. Not easily swayed, but an advocate for bi-partisan conversation, he had a desire for change that he didn't have to spoon-feed to us.
It was just time & America knew it.
Finally, their girls. Beautiful, bright-faced and playful.. so innocent, yet present, and vaguely familiar with the sound of large crowds chanting their last name. They welcomed the cheer with tiny smiles & waves as they grabbed their parents by their waists and hands. These girls were sweet, unassuming, and well-behaved. We could not discern one trace of a tantrum...
And as a moderate democrat who will vote for whoever based on personal convictions and the character of our contending politicians... How could I not want them in the White House? For once in a very long while, this was easy.
Still... it's not always politics, because even they change. It's what's obvious.
Eight years. One scandal free, history making, gorgeous, FIRST CLASS family. The first African-American family to ever inhabit the White House was "a thing of the movies," a hypothetical discussion, and material, for comedians...
Would America ever have its FIRST black president?
Well, yes. We would. And yes, it was something like a very good dream accompanied by natural obstacles, stubborn prejudices, political blockades, and certain imperfect decisions. It was also a time where we, as Americans grew to know & adore this decency, and civility, and warmth that oozed from the Obamas. Our standards for American royalty would soar to an all time high as we were met with not only a competent and charismatic President, but a First Lady who graduated from Princeton University and Harvard - a Lawyer, who knew how to advocate for what she believed in across the nation - whether being fit, getting an education, or just creating great memories (by dancing) with Americans everywhere.
Someone cue "Uptown Funk" !
Barack & Michelle have led our nation with dignity, authentic love, class, humor, intelligence, relatability, empathy, resilience, humility and tact. This family & their commitment to one another is what Americans have esteemed and valued for decades upon decades. We love close-knit. We love a tight pack. We love a people's president. We love a good love story, and this one's no fairy tale... it's as real as they get.
No matter what side of the party line you stand on.... if it's difficult to admit that they've carried themselves with an admirable amount of grace under fire, raised two well-mannered daughters, and demonstrated a genuine & exemplary, unbreakable bond of friendship within their marriage - one that many aspire to have and enjoy long term ---- then I honestly don't know what to say...
President Obama took office with unity in mind. He took office with a commitment to integrity and raising the bar on what kind of attention Washington would pay to the needs of all Americans. He wasn't perfect, but He was sincere. He worked hard even as he met opposition at almost every turn. His VP pick, Joe Biden, couldn't have been more supportive and complementary to the brand of a man and President Obama was himself. Their "bromance" is what we all lived for. President Obama spent time with the people. Rumor has it he and Michelle gave the best hugs.
He wasn't disinterested or aloof. He empowered Americans to be involved in the change we wanted to see, engaging peacefully, with our thoughts - reasoning together, because mud-slinging is an enemy of actual progress.
...Born in Hawaii to an African father, a White mother & Christian grandparents, he became the best both worlds could offer to the fabric and healing of our nation. If we looked at this rightly instead of fearing and avoiding a mature, open-minded discussion on race-relations altogether, we would be much better off today & the shameless divisive talk that was to come in 2016's election would have never gained so much ground... President Obama never promised to save the world, but we, the American people, did have an eight year icebreaker! Anyhoo - I do try to steer away from political commentating, so... I shall digress:)
Michelle. Girl from the South Side. She took on a role that she didn't exactly plan to have and made it her own. He had a dream and she supported him thoroughly. She got into that motorcade and took a ride with him to the White House, twice. She brought the world in. She gave of her life. Her family. Her privacy. She embraced her new platform and gave it all she had. She wasn't silent and spoke up when it counted. She made this journey beautiful... and wittier and more worth our while as only a good woman would do. More than arm candy, she made life sweeter, and Mr. Obama flaunts her like the trophy with a brain that she is.
Their love is fierce.
As a unit, they became a "goal."
An American Dream... The love and decency we needed to see.
It's the end of an era, but our history books have a new chapter. In a class of your own... you Sir, are LOVED.
Pay to all what is due to them: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due."
"Those of us who have the privilege to serve this country have an obligation to do our job as best we can. We come from different parties, but we are Americans first. And that's why disagreement cannot mean dysfunction. It can't degenerate into hatred. The American people's hopes and dreams are what matters, not ours. Our obligations are to them. Our regard for them compels us all, Democrats and Republicans, to cooperate, and compromise, and act in the best interests of our nation –- one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all."
- President Barack Obama
Thank you, President Obama, First Lady Michelle.. Malia, Sasha, Bo & Sunny : )
You were outstanding.
Praying the absolute best for your years ahead.
(But don't stay away too long!!! )