Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Don't Back Down Michelle Obama - Guest Blog

I received permission to reproduce the following essay from Alturo Rhymes - my frat brother and television producer over at Kapitol Hill blog.

Don't Back Down Michelle Obama
February 19, 2008

Greetings, I guess because it is a slow news day, Michelle Obama is getting criticized for saying: "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country."

Some are suggesting she was unpatriotic in her statement, Mrs. McCain saying she has always been proud of this country. While this argument and issue is one of the stupidest things to make an issue out of, it begs the question, since both of them are at least 45 years old...

Let's go back to 1963
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of this country when Blacks were living under Jim Crow?
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of this country when Blacks were being lynched?
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of this country when it stripped Ali of his title?
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of this country when 4 little girls were killed in Birmingham?
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of this country during the Tuskeegee Experiment?
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud when male astronaunts were sent to the moon and the female astronaunts who trained along side them were shuttled into absurity?

    Let's move to the 70's
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of this country that women were stereotyped into stay at home moms, with no sight of getting into the Boardroom?
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of this country when women were forced into shady clinics for pregnancy choices?
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of this country when Vietnam Vets came home to homelessness because of no acknowledgment of PTSD?

    And the 80's
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of this country when it supported the Apartheid government of South Africa?
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of the Iran-Contra scandal?
  • Was Mrs McCain proud of the S&L scanddal?

    The 90's
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of the lack of intervention in Rwanda?
  • Was Mrs. McCain proud of the racists immigration policy toward Haiti?

    C'mon.. outside of the fact that one is reaching for straws to even criticize such a statement, as an African-American Woman I am sure there are more days when one felt ashamed of the government action of this country than proud... I guess that is the difference between Mrs. McCain and Mrs. Obama.

  • And Barack Obama hasn't backed down either, yesterday he trounced Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin 58 percent to 41 percent. He has now won the last NINE primaries and caucuses since Super Tuesday.

    plez sez: i agree with her sentiment, that America seems to be living up to its creed and judging Barack Obama on his merits and ignoring his race... something that was inconceivable only 3 to 6 MONTHS ago! like Michelle Obama, i never thought that Barack would get a serious look because at some point in this contest, he'd finally be cast as the Black presidential candidate.

    so yes, in my entire adult life (because i'm the same age as Michelle), plezWorld can say that this is the FIRST TIME in memory that a Black politician did not win (or lose) an election because he was Black... and that is something that ALL Americans should be proud of...

    ...with that said, i can see where some quarters may find issue with the way she expressed this sentiment - it does come off that she does not appreciate the blessings that she has received as a direct result of being an American (access to quality Ivy League degrees, a loving husband & family, a good chunk of change in the bank account, etc.).

    to my way of thinking, an apology and clarification about the statement should be sufficient.


    All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo said...

    she and cindy should have a debate

    epikles said...

    sure, but it's one of those basic no-no's of politics, like burning the flag or not saying the pledge of allegiance or grabbing your crotch while butchering the national anthem. just don't say it!

    David Sullivan said...

    Plez: I think black people don't give enough credit to the average white person. Having a Black President hasn't been inconcievable to the majority of whites for decades (I voted for Jessie in the '84 primary, don't ask why , but for the last 3-6 months Black people might be realizing that they are more valued, more respected and more relevant as a race than before. Validation is a strong emotion and Barack has validated Black America. The fact that white America has voted for a Black man has validated the validation.

    Blacks never let their guard down, for good reason, but this is another positive step forward in the process.

    plez... said...

    i think you give a "majority of whites" too much credit. i do agree that by-and-large white folk were ready to be color-blind much earlier than Black folk gave them credit for... but i wouldn't go back decades (i don't think Jesse Jackson ever got more than 10% of the white vote when he ran in '84).

    change takes time... and unfortunately, change may come more slowly in some quarters than others... i assure you that there is a BIG SECTOR of older Blacks who are convinced that Barack Obama will never receive enough votes to become President of the US.

    i'll admit, i've been pleasantly surprised at the outcome of the last couple of weeks... in early january, i thought Iowa was an abberation, especially after he lost New Hampshire.

    Lori said...

    Hey Plez,
    I'll go along with a "clarification." But an apology? Nah. Michelle is just keeping it real. This country needs to grow up and recognize--the "American experience" isn't the same for all of us.

    I love the fact that Michelle isn't afraid to speak her mind and Barack isn't afraid to back her. Traditionally, it's always been about a woman standing by her man . . . but the opposite isn't something we see a lot of in any race. Hopefully, we are truly on the verge of a new day (smile).

    oba said...


    I think her comments lent themselves to the sound-bite based criticism that's part and parcel of electoral politics.

    I certainly understood what she said. My wife certainly understood what she said. At the same time, we both knew that Mrs. Obama's statement lent itself to all sorts of negative "spin".

    I agree with the idea that she said nothing which warrants an apology, but that a clarification isn't such a bad idea.