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!

 

ang4unc
03.31.09

What an interesting perspective. I do think a lot of your quotes are out of context though....she also clarified what she meant by being proud of her country. AND she does come from a different place being black and seeing what our country did by nominating a black President, and of all people her husband. I have different political views and couldn't wait for this woman to come into her position and show that DC and the First Lady are not your traditional "let me stay home and cook for my husband and wear stuffy tweed dress suites" types. Which honestly is what Laura Bush has been the past 8 years.... It's nice to see a First Lady exercise, show her buff arms, take a stand on abortion, maybe not attend every single church service because she wants to spend it with her kids and teach them to explore their own faith rather than being forced to practice one....I think everyone expects the First Lady to just stand by her man and hide. Whereas many of the decisions that our new President makes he will confide in her.

I agree too that some of the media have gone a tad overboard with obsessing about her (especially the clothes...come on people!), but she is SUCH a breath of fresh air and I love the fact that she is inspiring to other women. Yes, I can inspire myself, but what is the fun in that all the time...?

jennhw
03.31.09

As a Hoosier myself, I'm not sure why graduating phi beta kappa from IU and volunteering is any better than surviving Princeton at a time when African American students were few and far between. Michelle spent 4 years out of her comfort zone. Perhaps, not being familiar with the Ivy League, the opinion reflects a lack of understanding of how WASP Princeton has been until recently. Michelle has done her time volunteering and contributing to society.

With respect to healthcare and reproductive rights, we simply disagree, and your views are consistent with those who adore Sarah Palin. That's your right.

I don't idolize Michelle although I would like to know how she gets toned arms like that. Otherwise, I'm impressed with her accomplishments from a personal perspective and respectful of her role as First Lady in the same way I was of Laura Bush.

It is good to see different views on MT.

SadiesMom
03.31.09

I felt no connection to Laura Bush, and I thought because I loved libraries and literacy we would have something in common and I would see her really put more awareness to these topics we all see as important. But when someone is in what can be a powerful and visable position and doesn't use it to do some bipartisan awareness, I'm disappointed. I was disappointed with Laura Bush.

Michelle Obama is already being criticized for spreading herself too thin, but I'm so grateful she's creating awareness to volunteerism, education, and topics we can all agree are needed to make our country better.

strawberrytech
03.31.09

Not sure where the idolizing came from, but I am SO grateful that someone like Michelle is in the position that she is in...I believe in all the politics stated in this article that Michelle does and I'm doing all I can to protect women's rights in particular as well. I haven't been this proud to be an American since I was a young teenager watching Clinton talking to kids/teens on MTV. Finally someone who is listening to the people and not just their little box of their hometown. But Idolize? That's not something I do, I respect her and him.

stresso
03.31.09

Thanks for sharing, I'll agree to disagree with you.

Amandarella
03.31.09

Loved this post! The media makes it seem like you are some kind of freak if you don't completely fawn all over the Obamas. Their brand of socialism masked as "hope" and "change" is why I am looking forward to 2012 with the utmost anticipation.

Coby
03.30.09

To each her own. I have a big picture of Michelle Obama over my desk -- right next to a glossy picture of Tina Fey I bought on eBay. You have your role models -- I will have mine.

Samantha
03.30.09

Interesting perspective.

CEO
03.30.09

While I don't share your politics, I think your perspective is refreshing.  I'm glad MT is mixing it up.