Isn’t She Lovely, But Politics Are Ugly

I couldn’t get over how radiant she looked.

Played out to Stevie Wonder’s ode to his daughter, “Isn’t She Lovely,” Michelle Obama was like a glistening emerald oasis in a sea of Democrat blue. She shined and was flawless and in her mother’s tears, we celebrated. When her husband, the presidential candidate, saw her there was an awkwardness that was out of both longing and pride. He fumbled his words and confused what city he was in because he really had nothing to say. She left him just as speechless as the audience who celebrated and wept her every word.

It was perfection for millions of black people who watched amazed to see what they have longed to see.

A black woman, in full bloom, exalted by throws of people not for her singing or dancing or abilities to tell jokes and soothe feelings. She was a woman in full bloom exalted for who she is, for her intellect, for her poise, for what she represented in her father, her mother and herself. In one woman there was the representation of a hundred years of blood, sweat and tears.

People cried and sighed and wept at the beauty and marveled in her radiant glow. Relished Michelle Obama’s moment for black girls everywhere. Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisholm and Fannie Lou Hammer would be proud.

Michelle Obama’s feat was extraordinary as she described a life both poignant and ordinary.

Being black in America means that by being “ordinary” (re: mainstream), you are extraordinary. You are treated as if you are a unicorn. You cannot possibly be real. Black people don’t live normal, happy lives. That doesn’t fit the program.

The images we see of ourselves are so dark, so debasing, so violent and so ugly you feel deviant even if you are divine. Pro-athletes are featured over and over telling stories of mothers in jail or on drugs or on welfare and fathers who were phantoms, ghosts, haunts in their lives. This is what popular culture has told America and other blacks. It has told us that our “ordinary” is of the most desperate, disgusting things. Functional loving homes with black faces were the things of “Huxtable” fiction.

The black community has its share of problems, but Monday night was the first night in a long time where the story of the black woman, of a particular black woman was not about dysfunction, but love. It was of a story about a working class family who worked their way up through determination and the education of their children.

It was a normal, ordinary story that became extraordinary because of the stature and status of the individual telling it.

But while I reveled in this, seeing black self-actualization take place, there was something that nagged at me.

The fact that Michelle Obama had to give the “normal, ordinary” just like you speech.

The common insinuation from the Obamas critics is that they are not just like you. They are not one of us. They are unpatriotic. They are racists. They are up to something. And they don’t know what this mythical something is, but they know it is not good. And the only way a black woman is supposed to get into the White House is with a dust mop and a frying pan. The black maid makes the bed, she doesn’t sleep in it.

I fear that the more and more the Obamas and their supporters spend time “defining” their candidate they will fall into the trap the opposition has set. The Republicans and John McCain want to make this election about Obama, who is he is and why “true Americans” should be concerned. They want to do this because they have nothing, not one issue to run on. The economy? Bad. The president? At 28 percent. The war? People want it over. All they have are “we’ll appoint conservative judges” and beware of the black guy.

When people demand, falsely, that they don’t know who Barack and Michelle are, the Democrats should charge back with the fact that we know the Republicans all too well. The mistakes and crimes are plentiful and overripe, spoiled fruits to be plucked and lobbed directly into the faces of the opposition.

I loved what Michelle Obama did for black America. But I’m ready for the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign to make this race a referendum on what nearly eight years of Republican Party rule have done to America. They are the ones who should be on trial and explaining who they are and how they made the mistakes they made.

If you wonder what, who Michelle Obama is, she is ordinary and extraordinary. And she has nothing to explain.

9 thoughts on “Isn’t She Lovely, But Politics Are Ugly

  1. “Being black in America means that by being “ordinary” (re: mainstream), you are extraordinary. You are treated as if you are a unicorn. “This is such a dead on statement. Being in coroporate America I get that ‘unicorn feeling’ on a daily basis it seems, but I have a gaggle of friends just like me so it amazes me that people think I or other black people who are eduated, witty, kind, family oriented are an anomale…. Le sigh…

  2. Man you always so on point and brings me back to sucky reality. I think my [our] girl did amazing last night. Sasha and Malia? too cute. But you’re right, they shouldn’t have to keep explaining over and over and over and over again who they are. To me, I think people should be asking whether or not we really know McCain and little Miss Cindy. I think not. Not to knock Valley Girl or anything, but she could not give a speech like that.

  3. omg i literally sat there during the speech thinking, “it’s a shame that she even has to basically ‘make nice’ with the white folks” with this speech. she was fabulous and all but this was basically about softening her and when there was nothing wrong with her in the first place.

  4. You are of course, on point, Snob, but Michelle did what she had to do. When you have your so-called friends pulling BS like that New Yorker Cover, and that New York Magazine piece of tripe, why are we surprised that Michelle had to do what she did last night. I have no qualms with it. This was always about Obama. I’m tired of the ‘ bullshit’ answer – ‘ I don’t know enough about him’. Then dammit, get your ass to a computer and look up his website and read the policy papers on ANYTHING YOU WANT. Get your ass to a library and check out the man’s books. But, don’t give me this shit about not knowing if Obama ‘ shares your values’. As if McAncient and the Thievin’ Junkie Ho share your ‘values’. Or maybe they do. The values of leaving a wife that waited for your ass while you were in prison, and in return, you left her DISABLED, DISFIGURED SELF for a ‘ Rich, Hot Young Thing’. THOSE family values? Or, the family values of having 2 siblings, and taking a MULTI-MULTI-MILLION dollar fortune, while they are left with the dogfood in the dish.THOSE family values? Of pimping the POW card to get a Senate Seat, all the while voting AGAINST anything and everything that would help the common serviceman and women.THOSE family values? I understand what you’re saying, but Michelle did what she had to do. She bitchslapped America with the invisible Black America that’s always been there. But, that was ALWAYS her role. That was ALWAYS her part of the Racial Rorschach Test that is the Obama candidacy.The First Black has never been an easy road, and never will be. PS: Here’s a great diary of a compilation of <A HREF="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/26/17434/0867/862/575795“ REL=”nofollow”>Newspaper Front Pages about Michelle today.

  5. As always Snob, you are on point. Your way with words is truly a gift. I cannot wait to see the amazing things God has in store for you.

  6. I feel the same way you do Snob. I also get Rikyrah’s point. It’s just pathetic that this has to be an issue. I was speaking to a someone who considers themselves liberal and up with race relations and even he has had to be checked because he made a comment about to me about how he sees Michelle being a woman who would tell you to shut up and sit down – and that he’d do it. He had no proof or examples of why he assumes this but it’s there. I explained to him that she is confident and self-possessed and despite the fact that he may ‘know’ assumptions like that are wrong, it doesn’t stop him from making them. it’s very frustrating. I blogged about this so feel free to visit.http://actsoffaithinloveandlife.blogspot.com

  7. rikyrah: It’s true that the speech was what Michelle had to do, but it’s just sad that after more than 250 years of living in this country black people still must explain themselves. How they got where they got. How did they get what they have. Why do they behave as they do. To prove we’re just like other (white) Americans. It’s insulting.So she gave a knock-out speech, it’s just a shame it had to be under these circumstances where individuals who question Michelle and Barack’s “realness” as Americans and label them as radicals/black nationalist racists.It dives me bonkers! I don’t know if you can get more American than black Americans because America is all we have, for better or worse. Because of the circumstances which brought us here, for most black Americans our family history starts in the US, unlike for many white Americans who can say they’re Irish-Italian-German-Fin-Swedish-Russian whatever. I can trace my moms family back to Mississippi where her great-great grandfather escaped from slavery. That’s it. And I’ve had a male relative serve in every American war since the Indian Wars of the late 1800s.The history that I know begins here so I get sick of people looking at us and expecting us to produce evidence of our right to be here. It’s obscene and rude.But I’m stepping down from the soap box now. That’s just one of those things that pisses me off to no end.Per Anonymous 7:42 PM, thank you. I really pride myself in my craft so it’s always nice to hear from you and everyone else who comments that you enjoy and appreciate my writing.Thanks for reading.

  8. Well I have to agree with other posters about how every candidate, every election, has to try to identify with voters, its a symbol that black america HAS come along way and “arrived” that they are on stage “doin the dance” that every candidate does. Normally candidates are rich white people and they have to give speeches about how normal they are (reference the Kerry daughters pathetic hamster story four years ago).

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