Saturday, May 5, 2012
Michelle Obama Receives An Important Endorsement
This morning I watched Michelle Obama introduce her husband to a crowd in Columbus, Ohio. She was interrupted at one point by a person who shouted, "You're beautiful Michelle!" Mrs. Obama, stuttered, but for a moment, and then went on in her point, "In all seriousness..."
As a woman, who has been told at awkward moments that I am beautiful I have to say that I understand her response, it isn't natural to respond to such a thing in front of an entire nation. It is nearly impossible to respond with anything that cannot be construed the wrong way. That said, I must also say that I hope she heard it. After all the terrible hatred that is often directed toward Michelle Obama, she deserves the good and loving words of her adoring populace. She is a beautiful woman, not just because of her firmly sculpted arms but because she represents nearly everything that an American woman ought to aspire to.
She is successful and educated in her own right, in fact, the President revealed in his book, The Audacity of Hope that when she met Barack Obama, Michelle was his boss. She is witty, and funny and in touch with our country. The way that she is able to entertain and inform at the same time, while begin a consistent and congruent person, whether speaking at a University or making us laugh on Dave Letterman shows me that she is a real person, born of the same stuff as something like 99% of us.
I must admit that perhaps the greatest endorsement of this woman that I've ever heard was from my six year old, Timothy, who immediately recognized her picture on my computer screen this morning. He saw her over my shoulder and exclaimed, "Hey! She's the First Lady, she wants me to be healthy!" Timothy was so honest in his excitement that it intrigued me. Last week I had asked Timothy, who had just declared that he loved Selina Gomez, who he loved more, me or Selena? Timothy paused for merely a second before rating Selena a six on a scale of one to ten in his heart... then he said, "You are always a ten to me Mommy." Of course, this inflated my heart greatly, and maybe even my ego a little too. This morning, Michelle Obama checked my ego when I asked Timothy how he would rate Michelle if Selena is a six, and I am a ten. Without hesitation Timothy responded, "Oh, the First Lady is a 12!"
For many years I have subscribed to two very important ideas. The first is that if my child, or my dog doesn't like you, I believe them. Period. No questions asked. This policy has never failed me. It didn't fail me with the maintenance man my dog didn't like that ended up punching my wall last week and I don't think it fails me now. I think Timothy is spot on in is assessment that Mrs. Obama wants him to be healthy. I think this is a truth that cannot be denied.
The second idea comes from a a favored western, Lonesome Dove, which has a storyline about a cowboy who ran too long with a bunch of outlaws. Once my sister and and I had read the book, and were growing teens, the phrase, "You ride with an outlaw, you die with an outlaw," uttered by Augustus McCrae was often repeated in our household during discussions of the importance of associating with good people. It seems to me that the company our politicians keep has been a big issue this election season. I brought it up, once before when a woman yelled, "Pretend it's Obama!" while Rick Santorum shot at targets in Louisiana. I also saw it mentioned time and again as the American people asked Republican candidates to distance themselves from people of poor character like Ted Nugent and Rush Limbaugh.
I think back to being a little kid, when asked to pass the salt and pepper, I would sometimes pass them one or the other. My father would jokingly remind me, "They are salt and pepper! They are married! They go together, you can't have one without the other!" This phrase echoes in my mind as I ask myself why I feel so confident in allowing my son's endorsement of Michelle to extend also to Barack. They are married, they go together. Our president has smartly associated himself with the fine company of Michelle Obama since the day he met her. The fact that she returned his love and respect shows me that the company that these fine people keep begins at home. How lucky are Sasha and Malia! How lucky are we!