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article imageOp-Ed: DNC 2012 - Michelle, Barack Obama and the American Dream

By JohnThomas Didymus     Sep 5, 2012 in Politics
Charlotte - To summarize in the simplest terms for those who can understand, Michelle Obama's message was simple: Talking about the American Dream, the Obamas know about that better than the Romneys because they epitomize its highest ideals.
Slate notes that their opponents suggest that the Obamas are "aliens," who, for some fundamental reasons, either of race, ethnic affiliation ("Kenyan in the White House") or imagined ideological convictions (socialism), are disconnected from the core values that make up the "American Dream."
Michelle's message, however, asserts that they, more than their detractors, epitomize the much vaunted American Dream — the dream of success that must come through struggle and hard work when you aren't born with the proverbial silver spoon stuck in your gilded mouth.
The theme of Michelle's speech: "We understand what you are going through like our opponents never can."
The Washington Post: "Ann Romney talked about tuna fish," but Michelle Obama:
"...he (Obama)...picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by through a hole in the passenger side door…he was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a dumpster, and whose only pair of decent shoes was half a size too small.... Barack knows what it means when a family struggles. He knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids... And believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage. We were so young, so in love, and so in debt."
DNC Charlotte
DNC Charlotte
Screengrab / YouTube
The Obamas epitomize the American Dream
Throughout history, people in positions of temporary advantage have resisted the tide of change. The mindset that refuses to face up to the reality of changing circumstances and the need to adapt survival tactics and strategies to new challenges is called "conservatism." But today's conservatives are tomorrow's extinct dinosaurs. Nature has its way of taking care of that. The march of progress against conservative worship of past glories is unrelenting: "Oh, take us back to the 50s! Mitt! Please."
Pipe dream! The "glorious 50s" are gone forever. No herculean feat of conservative re-engineering of the unfolding global reality of increasingly competitive world market will change the fact. Less than half a century ago, an American of the privileged class could say the word "Chinese" or "Japanese" with a contemptuously sneering curl of the lips. The "gooks," the "slant-eyed chinks" weren't worth a dime, the whole lot of them. But now the barbarian Huns are the gate and the whole of America is thrown in mindless panic. The present Republican Party represents the last gasps of a dying global plutocracy struggling to perpetuate its accustomed privileges and lashing out angrily in its death throes at everything in the world it identifies as threat — Obama, immigrants, women, federal government, taxation, welfare, gun control, Muslims, the Chinese, atheists, liberals, socialists, communists, the United Nations, gays, lesbians...the whole world outside their exclusive class.
In her speech, Michelle Obama connects women's struggle with the larger theme of the struggle of the underprivileged and oppressed of the world — that is, those who do not belong to Romney's privileged class:
"Barack’s grandmother started out as a secretary at a community bank…and she moved quickly up the ranks…but like so many women, she hit a glass ceiling."
Talking about glass ceilings, these are transparent barriers, only those who happen to belong to the wrong group know the ceiling is there when they knock their heads against it. For others, it isn't there and so they deny it. How often ethnic minorities are told by those who are not qualified to speak that their allegations of discrimination is the product of their imagination. Blaming the victim: the poor are like that because they are too lazy to find work. African nations are poor because the citizens lack work ethic and have low IQs (Professor Richard Lynn: "IQ and Wealth of Nations.").
Michelle continues:
"And for years, men no more qualified than she was – men she had actually trained – were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack’s family continued to scrape by. But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus…arriving at work before anyone else…giving her best without complaint or regret...
"That’s why he (President Obama) signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work... That’s why he cut taxes for working families and small businesses and fought to get the auto industry back on its feet."
And of course, if you belong to the privileged Romney-Ryan class of world, you wouldn't understand why ordinary folk need government to mandate health care insurance. But the Obamas, unlike the Romney-Ryans, understand:
"When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president. He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically... He did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine…our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick…and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness."
Now, if mandatory health care insurance is the crime called "socialized medicine," and if taxing the rich to keep the social safety net for the poor intact is the crime of "socialism," then the world needs more "socialist" presidents working against the virtues of capitalist laissez fairez.
The Washington Post concludes its comment on Michelle's stirring speech:
"If (Michelle's) speech is effective beyond the power of well delivered rhetoric, it will be because the first lady took this description of Obama’s core self and linked it to policy. This is what Ann Romney and Mitt Romney never did. The message of the GOP convention was 'Trust Mitt.' That was Michelle Obama’s message too: Her husband could be trusted because he came from a background and has lived a middle class life. But then she started connecting the biography to the policy."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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