Sunday, August 03, 2008

More Angst From Michelle Obama

Duane R. Patterson at 12:16 AM
From the Women For Obama luncheon on July 28, 2008, here is more of Michelle Obama's outlook on the state of American society, from the eyes of a woman.

Michelle Obama - 1

And then we have to get them to vote. That's what we have to do, because if there's one thing that I've seen out there as I've traveled around the country over this last year is that women need an advocate in the White House now more than ever before, more than ever before. Michelle Obama - 2

See like all of you in this room, I wear a whole lotta hats, lots of hats going on. I'm a working woman, I'm a daughter, I'm a sister, I'm a best friend. But the one role that I cherish the most that you've come to know is that role of mom. My girls are the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about before I go to bed. And I don't care where I am - on the campaign trail, in a fundraiser, sitting in the back of a van somewhere, I am worried about how my girls are doing, about their well-being, about their stability. So for me, policies that support working women and families, this is personal. These are the issues that I carry in my heart every single day.

Michelle Obama - 3

And it's even harder if you're a single parent. Often times, they work more than one job just to keep ends together. And that doesn't include the jobs that happen when you come home from work. Those jobs, quite frankly, that still fall predominantly on the laps of women, things like getting the laundry done, making dinner, nutritious dinners, because you can't just make a dinner. It's got to be a nutritious dinner grown with good, fresh, clean food. That takes time, trust me.

Michelle Obama - 4

...handing out discipline, getting the homework, paying the bills, and as you see the bills piling up, and the money running short, then you've got another job. And that's often late night worrier. There's just not enough hours in the day. And I know, like many of you, I have spent my nights wishing for that magic machine that could add more hours to the day so I could sleep a little longer, something that would clone me so that I can be in two, three places at one time at least. But I don't know about you, I haven't found that machine. It hasn't shown up. But even with that, I joke about our challenges, but I do know Barack and I know that we are lucky. We are some of the lucky ones, because we have resources.

Michelle Obama - 5

I hear these stories everywhere I go, from women doing everything that's asked of them. And these women aren't asking for much. They're not asking for government to solve all their problems. They're willing to work. They're just hoping that Washington will understand what's happening to families on the ground, particularly mothers with the variety of the challenges that they face. And there just aren't enough Sister Bertas out there in the world to catch folks who don't make it, and fall through the cracks.

Michelle Obama - 6

These struggles, the struggles of working women and families, are just not new to me. They're not new to many of us, and they're certainly not new to Barack. You see, Barack is the product of this kind of strong women upbringing, trying to struggle, making it together. Barack has been shaped by these stories. He grew up with a mother who was a very young, single woman who struggled to finish her education and take care of him and his sister. Now she was one of the kindest people that you'd ever meet. She was a dreamer, the kind of person that would hop on the back of a motorcycle to help women in rural credit programs all over the world. And she had this eternal optimism and commitment to fairness and justice, an unwavering belief that she could help bring about better lives for women all over the world. And a lot of her still lives in Barack. It explains a lot, if you know what I mean.

Michelle Obama - 7

She was determined to show him and his sister that in America, there are no barriers to success if you're willing to work hard. But he also saw her struggle, often times, needing to rely on food stamps to pay the bills. And in her final months, stricken with cancer, he saw her worrying more about how she would pay her medical bills than getting well. He saw his grandmother, the primary bread winner in his family, work her way up through a bank from being an assistant to being a senior person in the bank. But he also saw her unable to break certain glass ceilings, watching men who were less prepared than her soar past her. And he sees me, his wife, trying to juggle it all in the midst of it, always living with the guilt that if I'm spending too much time at work, then I'm not giving enough time to my girls. And if I'm with my girls, then I'm not doing enough for work, or you name it. It's a guilt that we all live with in this room. Can I hear an Amen?

Michelle Obama - 8

And trust me, Barack understands this, too, because the women he loves most in the world have gone through this. So that's why he carries our stories, the stories of women and our struggles with him every single day. And that's why as president, Barack is going to change Washington so that we're not just talking about family values, we're actually creating policies that show that we value families in this country.

Michelle Obama - 9

And as many of you know in this room, when Barack first talked about running for president of the United States, what was my reaction? No. Don't do it. Please don't. You see, the truth was, is that I thought that politics was a mean, rough business. And honestly, the last thing that I wanted for my girls was to have them grow up in this, have their lives turned upside down in the midst of all this, to have them hear their parents being criticized on national TV, to have them away from their dad for weeks on end. I didn't want that for my girls. I don't think anyone would really want that for their kids.

Michelle Obama - 10

But then I had to take a step back and take off my "Me" mommy hat, and put on my "Us" mommy hat. And I started thinking about the kind of world that I would want to hand over to my daughters. I had to think long and hard about wanting them to be able to dream of anything for themselves, you know, wanting them to be able to imagine any kind of future for themselves, and know that they would have the kind of support from this country that would allow them and all of our children to achieve those dreams. And then I realized that if that's the kind of world that I wanted for my girls, then I had to do everything in my power, make every sacrifice, to make it possible. So that's why I'm a woman for Obama. That is why.

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