It wasn’t so long ago, that Michelle Obama was thought of by many as a political liability. Rightwing media had become increasingly ready to attack anything she said or did with impunity. No kiss on the jumbotron. Showing too much flesh. Trying to tell us what to eat. Not proud to be an American. I’m not even going to get into the terrorist fist bump nonsense. It’s already hard enough being a Black woman on a mass stage when everyone watches reality television and has preconceived notions of the neck-snapping belligerent Black woman. Last night, the first lady dashed any notion that she was weighing the POTUS down and on the contrary, raised him up with the utmost elegance and grace.
Michelle Obama took her place last night on stage at the 2012 DNC, here in Charlotte, NC after a night full of speeches designed to take it to the Republican Party and to frame the campaign and characteristics of Mitt Romney and his running mate. After the hooting and hollering and partisan jabs were thrown, Mrs. Obama took the stage to close out the evening. Looking like chocolate gold, dressed impeccably in an American made and designed dress (Detroit, no less) with legs stretching all the way to heaven, in fine physical condition and a walk that brimmed with a steely confidence, bereft of the sassy arrogance that the uninformed expected, Michelle Obama did what dozens of 30 second ads or any number of stump speeches couldn’t do: She brought Barack Obama off the clouds and away from messianic territory and made him a man again.
Mrs. Obama’s speech was a reintroduction of the man she fell in love with, whose aspirations have removed any hope of privacy for both her and her growing daughters. She stripped her life bare before the American people, drawing a connection between Obamacare and a father stricken with multiple sclerosis; a man determined to ensure that he passed ambition and opportunity to his children, despite his crippling affliction.
Mrs. Obama tackled so many issues during her roughly 25 minute speech, and made the case for voting for Barack one more time. But the most miraculous thing she did was relay how she and Barack took those loans out, stared that debt in the face and gambled on both their aspirations and their own talent and decided to live the American Dream. You hear some people tell it, Barack Obama appeared from the clouds on the 2004 DNC stage, walking water and carrying the sins of America on his cross. You hear others tell it and he’s some mythical Muslim trying to socialize America with the magical powers of his Presidential pen.
Michelle, with a stunningly centrist emotional, yet measured oratorical style, married the struggle of her family with the struggle of the American people. Her speech reduced Barack Obama from a complex equation, almost alien from regular people who either don’t get him or don’t want to get him, into a very simple one: a husband, a father, and a leader who walked the very same steps of struggle that Americans are going through now, who has now the ability to change and the understanding of that journey.
If you were listening, and your issues with Barack Obama are less than ideological, you now have one extremely large objection removed from your path to the voting booth. With passion, devotion, emotion and probably the hottest outfit you will ever see someone of that stature wear, Michelle Obama became the greatest of political assets with perhaps the greatest FLOTUS speech of the television era. That’s some heavy reality television for you.