Michelle: Not My American Idol

by Susan Braun

 

Michelle Obama. She and I were born the same year. We both came of age in the ’70s, in the Midwest. She went to Ivy League Princeton; I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, albeit from the less tony Indiana University. We’re both moms of girls.

 

So why don’t I feel a sense of connection with her at all?

 

On a very basic level, politics play a role. My conservative views and her liberal ones will never meet. While she wrote her senior thesis on her feelings of inferiority as a black student at Princeton, I was working at the campus volunteer student bureau and playing piano for a local church.
She has clearly felt like a victim. I haven’t.

 

She was first proud of her country at the age of 44, because that’s when she sensed people were “ready for change”. I’ve been proud of my country ever since I can remember, even though I disagree strongly with the convictions of many in it.

 

She would like the federal government to provide universal healthcare. I think that’s a recipe for cripplingly-high taxes and a drop in service level.

 

She views weekends as “family time”, not to be interrupted by church services. I wouldn’t miss attending a worship service and Sunday School with mine.

 

She vigorously defends women’s right to abortion. I feel it’s important that my three daughters have all the rights we’re entitled to as Americans - both after AND before birth.

 

Despite our differences, Michelle and I agree on a few things.

 

We both are interested in raising our daughters to be the best people they can be.

 

We both would like to contribute all we can to this great nation.

 

It’s really not that complicated.

 

It’s the media I blame for the coverage of Michelle, so over-the-top that it’s alienating. She’s bringing romance back to the White House. She has the most lovely arms ever seen in first lady-dom. She’s sparkly and new. Come on!

 

phoenix
06.26.09

bird birth

jennmocha23
04.25.09

***Kudos to Susan for writing this article! Michelle is a role model, yes, but not "the" role model for all Moms and Working Moms out there, as the Media likes to portray. I think lots of people are thinking that, but too afraid to come out and just say that. The fact that she was pushed into the spotlight through a political event does not mean that she should become our "poster Mom."

mrsncook
04.07.09

I wanted to correct a misunderstanding about Michelle Obama's speech. You said, "She was first proud of her country at the age of 44, because that’s when she sensed people were “ready for change”. I’ve been proud of my country ever since I can remember, even though I disagree strongly with the convictions of many in it. "

Michelle Obama actually said that for the first time she was REALLY proud of her country. Not that she was proud for the first time, but REALLY proud for the first time. I heard the entire speech and was confused by this misstatement by some people, because she has always said she was proud of her country and now she is REALLY proud. I noticed some postings of her speech cut that word out, and you can hear in some of them where the cut has been made. If we are to present both sides of the story, we have to be truthful about the entire thing. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether they agree or disagree with what has been presented, but it's only fair to have all of the facts. Michelle Obama is more proud now than ever, and I hope that people get the facts about her entire speech before saying that she's proud for the first time in her life, which is not true.

C.
04.01.09

I would like to say that was the most boring and predictable thing I've ever read about the opposing view. You have a right to feel how you do, but frankly, who cares? Just sounds like sour grapes to me and very self-righteous. It might be better if you continued raising your daughters instead of trying to be a writer.

Moehuney
04.01.09

Maybe my less than Ivy League degree has dropped me short of clarity but I just don’t get it. The fact that you have a similar background and your views don’t agree completely means you are human. If you ran for office, do you think every American would agree with everything you have to say? I don’t even agree with your blog.

Everything is not for everybody. Role models are for kids growing up to be inspired to be better adults. I think you are out of that age range. Of course you should be able to motivate yourself at 40+. There are a lot of people who are not growing up in great homes, nice neighborhoods with two educated parents. I have three married couples in my entire family and one college educated cousin. To know that the Obama-type of family dynamic does exist in real life, not just on TV is inspiring to some. While you may not need a role model, how about we let the kids growing up in the inner-cities being raised by a single uneducated parent have the "hope" that one day with education, they can be President or First Lady. Let’s try to raise the "role model" bar up from trouble prone athletes to First Family of the USA.

kermc
04.01.09

Good for you for writing a different opinion and for MT for posting it. I was beginning to think that MT was going mainstream media as well for all of the fawning over Michelle.
My biggest beef with the coverage of Michelle Obama is labeling her as a "working mom". My life would be a lot easier if I had a big house and my mom lived with me and took care of my kids full time too. Laura Bush (or any of the previous first ladies) weren't referred to as a working mom, even though she had the same 'job'. If Hillary were president, would Bill have had a 'job'?
I think that Michelle Obama has poise and grace and a great sense of family. But if we put her on such a pedestal, she will certainly fall.

terrablu
04.01.09

this is all just kind of silly. i mean, really? you're that passionate/upset by her attention that you write a blog post about it (therefore giving MORE attention to the matter)? big whoop. yes, there might be others that share your view (note: I don't disagree with your point about the media being over the top about her), but you - or anyone else - writing a post about it is not going to stop the madness. if anything, it's just fueling the fire.
now on to a couple points in the post at hand (i'm an obama supporter and a moderate fan of michelle)...
i'm not sure that one thesis written by her years ago should define her as someone who feels a victim. I'm sure if you asked her directly, she would talk of feeling quite blessed in this country and far from a victim.
and speaking of media/americans being over the top... the reference to her being proud of america for the first time at age 44 is ridiculous. turn the page and move on from this. anyone who seriously tries to bring this up as a negative of Michelle Obama is really reaching. And I can't comment without showing appreciation for the giggle I got upon reading that she's caretaker to a rabbit, a hedgehog, and two gerbils. even as someone who hails from the writer's neighboring state (Ohio), I got a real kick out of this being in her bio.

AngelaS3074
04.01.09

We would all like to say that race doesn't matter as much today as it did in our parents generation. But if the Obamas were not African-American, do you think that the media would be all over them like a wet blanket? As a married with child, African-American female with a graduate degree, I don't find it surprising. Michelle having feelings of inferiority at Princeton University is not uncommon. What's common is for certain people in America to underestimate the intellect, range and depth of African-Americans. I agree that the media needs to stop putting the Obamas on this pedestal because 1. It puts unfair pressure on them and 2. It suggests that they are the only African-American couple in this country that are as educated and enlightened. My only hope is that the world will start to see African-Americans in all possible lights and not the negative stereotypes that have existed for so long. And if focusing all the attention on Michelle Obama helps in that effort, then I say Amen to that!

Mama Chams
04.01.09

Inspite of some of the things that were said. It is a refreshing article. Yeah there has been over kill on her. But trust me, it is not from her or what she prefers. Not that I know her personally, I just have a gut feeling. Noone wants to be on display like that or be the topic of everyones convo. However, I hardly think she was trying to play the victim. I don't think she knows how. Face it there aren't that many black people at Princeton. so why not write about it. That was her right, just like you are writing this one.

lauriecheek
04.01.09

I was going to comment on Susan's article but after reading Amandarella's comment, decided there was no better way for me to sum up my reaction than what she'd already put in words.