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!

 

Lemira
03.31.09

I actually have a lot of respect for Michelle Obama even if I disagree with her political ideas (and I do). I can identify and relate because I'm a Mom to young children. I think their could be way worse role models for young girls. I would much rather have my daughter say that she would like to go to Princeton like Michelle Obama instead of shaking her booty across the stage or in a music video like Beyonce. And in all fairness, I could not find the quote about her missing church services on the weekends for family time in the linked article. But it is nice to hear another view and to have a voice for some of the feelings I have.

colmsted
03.31.09

It would have been a nice perspective if it was true but there were a lot of mis-truths in this article. And why does your piano playing make you better than her work at Princeton? This is obviously just a partisan article rather than something based in fact. The writer makes hyperlinked statements about Michelle that make you think they are based in fact. The hyperlink about Michelle not attending church contained no such statement! And Michelle has clearly said many times "I am proud of my country — I've always been. Nowhere but here could my story be possible. My father was a pump operator who got up every day and went to work, earned a minor living and sent us to Princeton. And now I am raising [his] granddaughters who will have access to things that I could've never dreamed of. "

If you are going to write something -- please be truthful.

Karen Maezen Miller
03.31.09

That we insist on judging one another (i.e. I like her; I don't like her; She's like me; She's not like me) is what makes victims of us all. Can't we be more honest about the source of our divisions?

almad
03.31.09

I really liked reading a different point of view. I am getting tired of hearing on how Michelle Obama is so much better and how she is such a role model. I can't say that I loved McCain but when comparing Michelle Obama to Cindy McCain, Michelle clearly dwarfs. I really think that the media has sensationalized the Obamas. I strongly disagree with a lot of the Obamas point of views. I can't say that I stand in agreement with any of their beliefs. I think raising your children in a faith based house is crucial in this society that we live in. I am a naturalized citizen and I was proud of this country even before I became officially an American. I love this country. I am Hispanic and went to an Ivy Legue and tough I was a minority and don't think that I had feeling of inferiority ... I was worth as much as my accomplishments and at no point did I want/expect special treatments due to my race ... I still don't ... if anything I think it would cheapen the person that I am. I am also a mother of a daughter and I work full time and I don't think that her views reflect mine. Thank you to Mommy Track'd for changing their tune a little. I love them but I was starting to tune them out every time I saw another 'worship' Obama article.

flirtyfinds
03.31.09

I appreciate hearing a different viewpoint. I do think that Michelle is an impressive, smart, articulate woman and seems to be a wonderful mother. I also am amazed at the "cult of personality" that is so pervasive in our society. The media deemed the Obama's as the second coming, and I am struck by how so many smart people have been caught up in the hype without really understanding or examining the actual issues and positions that he takes. There is so much blind loyalty to someone who has no positive, proven track record at all. Nice guy, great personality, charismatic speech-giver, good looking, hip family - but let's see what he actually accomplishes. And let's just hope that what he does accomplish is the best for our country. I wish him and his family all the best. They have a tough job and I admire them both.

franjan22
03.31.09

It's nice to see a different perspective and I agree about the media. Then again they've only been in the White House a few months. Of course they are giving it lots of coverage - they do that with every first lady. I like Michelle - I've liked all the first ladies (in my lifetime) b/c I can't imagine being in that role. Some I've liked some more than others. I think we can also relate since this is the first time since the 60's that there have been small children in the White House. There's a lot of pressure all around for her to go out and do good deeds as well as be a wife & mother to her children and the country. They've all had this burden. Thank you for sharing. I consider her a role model for all she is trying to do.

syndirowe
03.31.09

Very well thought out. Could not agree with you more! One of the best articles that I have read since I joined. Great job!!

malia
03.31.09

Thanks for the post, I'll agree to agree with you, and Amandarella. The President is a politician not a magician or a religious leader, and I'm perplexed by the worshipping that this country has lavished upon an unproven leader and his family. As an American, I wish him great success, I'm just not going to swoon about these people because they are flavor of the month. As for Laura Bush, I had a tremendous amount of respect for her. She acted with poise and intelligence and seemed to genuinely care about America and her causes. (This is not a comparison to Mrs. Obama)
In the meantime, I'm looking for a McCain/Palin sticker for my Prius, if anyone has any left over, let me know. JUST KIDDING

barneya1
03.31.09

Couldn't agree more. Was happy to read such an eloquent article. Thanks.

lavitaj
03.31.09

It is clear that your difference in political ideology leads you to make that statement, although you say Laura Bush didn't inspire you either. Whatever the case, it's wonderful to have a different kind of family in the Whitehouse, and it is inspiring to many!