Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

The softer side of Michelle Obama

Elections, Obama 2008

So, Why do we need change? 

I listened to Michelle Obama last night. She spoke about how she and Barack came from humble roots. No trace of her for the first time I''m really proud of my country attitude. She did a nice job, but her persona last night was quite different from the Michelle of the campaign trail.

It was very clear she had wonderful parents. She spoke passionately about how they were hard working and dedicated to their family. When she spoke about them, I believe it was from her heart. From the transcript: (My emphasis throughout)

He [My dad] and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child can receive: never doubting for a single minute that you're loved, and cherished, and have a place in this world. And thanks to their faith and hard work, we both were able to go on to college. So I know firsthand from their lives — and mine — that the American dream endures.

She then spoke of Barack's background and how even though he was raised by a single mom and grandparents, they shared those same values: that you work for what you value. 

And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.

I could relate to her speech. I was raised in a blue collar family. My parents did not go to college; my father did not even attend high school. I was the first in the family to go to college and they scrimped and saved to make that possible. God blessed me with fantastic parents who instilled in me the very same values that Michelle extolled.  

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them. 

Hard work is the common thread to achievement. She then goes on to talk about how she and her husband have made sacrifices to serve their country, a country which she admits has given her much.

And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us — no matter what our age or background or walk of life — each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.

Very nice. It is good to give back. But that life of public service is hardly on the same plane as joining the Peace Corps or something. The Obama's live very comfortably serving the public and are considered rich by most American people's standards. Don't get me wrong, they have every right to make money--I am all for it. I guess I just take exception to the idea that they somehow are living sacrificially now. I suppose all things are relative.

She concludes with, 

And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they'll have families of their own. And one day, they — and your sons and daughters — will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They'll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country — where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House — we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be. (Then a pitch to vote for Barack.)

But if an African American blue collar worker (without a college education) from the south side of Chicago could produce a Princeton schooled lawyer, who is now a potential First Lady of the land, and a single mom on food stamps along with dedicated grandparents can send a son to private school, and that son goes onto Harvard and is the Democrat's candidate for president, doesn't this prove America already is the land of opportunity? There is room for improvement, of course.

Michelle acknowledged the "American Dream endures." As she summed up the reason for their success, notice that it was the simple principle of HARD WORK that got both of them to this unique moment in history.

Michelle Obama did a good job with her speech--it just did not ring true to me. I don't think what she said last night supported the need for the kind of "Change" her husband's campaign promotes.

Campaign signs of Common Values/Common Purpose abounded in the audience. I share the values of hard work and sacrifice Michelle spoke about. What I don't share is Obama's vision for our nation's future.


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