February 27, 2008

What Michelle Obama meant

I suspect many Indians would agree with Michelle Obama's recent comments.

I’m Older Than Michelle Obama, and I’m Not Proud of America Yet.

What she said:“What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something—for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I’ve seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues, and it’s made me proud.”What she meant:In short, Obama was saying this: “If the essential substance that makes up our nation is equality, then this is the first time that I can say our nation’s equality is not questionable, defective, or sub-par.”

That’s the heart of it. She’s not saying this because a successful presidential campaign benefits her husband, and thus her. She’s saying that being so close to the sight of a Black man getting this near to the nomination has been transformational. (Or as she said to Katie Couric, “This is a trip.”)
Comment:  Many Indians aren't proud of America's record on human rights. Presumably they'd agree with Obama that America's record hasn't lived up to its rhetoric.

Anyone who criticizes America's flaws, as I do, gets the same kind of flak Obama received for her remarks. Our country is still rather intolerant of dissent.

23 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Except Native Americans rarely say anything in public for which they later have to apologize and then say, "This is what I REALLY meant!" From time to time, writerfella WRITES something that either was mistaken or too easily misapprehended, and thus he may offer either apology or expansion, but RARELY!
Michelle Obama is a career politician's wife and certainly is far from uneducated or inexperienced about what one says in public and what one does not. Therefore, she meant what she said. Otherwise, why 'clarify?'
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

dmarks said...

"Anyone who criticizes America's flaws, as I do, gets the same kind of flak Obama received for her remarks. Our country is still rather intolerant of dissent."

Not sure how much intolerance there is when Michelle and her husband are so popular. And Michael Moore, "Kos" and others are rich, powerful, and/or famous as a direct result of their dissent.

carole said...

Hey, let Michelle say whatever she pleases...and likewise, let all of us in fly-over country think whatever we choose about whatever she says.

In other words, she seems like a spoiled brat to me. No more, no less.

dmarks said...

Carole's "flak" is a form of dissent, just as valuable as Mrs. Obama's dissent. Far from being intolerant of it, or country lets it fly.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
There was a political cartoon today in the New York Times that said it best: Barack Hussein Obama stood outside the grounds of the White House, saying, "The first thing we have to do is to change the name of this building!"
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

Even experienced politicians (e.g., Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton) make rhetorical mistakes. Name one politician who hasn't. So it's perfectly possible that Obama didn't mean exactly what she said and needed to clarify her remarks.

It's easy to allow dissent when there's no crisis at hand. But we saw what happened after 9/11, when people who criticized America were vilified. For more on the subject, see The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel and Patriotism Means Asking Questions.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
BUT -- BUT -- BUT --
Michelle Obama IS NOT A POLITICIAN! She is a politicians's wife! She may be running obliquely for the perceived position of First Lady, but voters do not elect First Ladies! She even may be said to be political but what that means in this case is that either she is a liability or an asset. And, with that statement, she definitely is a liability...
AllBest
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

Did you forget? You're the one who used Michelle Obama's political nature to blame her for her remarks. "Michelle Obama is a career politician's wife....Therefore, she meant what she said." Oops.

Since you just contradicted yourself, we're left wondering what you think. Is Obama an experienced political operative who knew what she was saying? Or is she a naive politician's spouse who made an innocent mistake? Pick one of the two positions and stick with it this time.

Rob said...

As for the issue of dissent, try burning a flag, wearing a Nazi emblem, or shouting "Death to America!" in public. If you're a politician, try saying God doesn't exist, gay marriage should be legal, or Bush is an evildoer. Let us know how soon Americans impose on your right to dissent.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Which exactly is why, if Barack HUSSEIN Obama becomes the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, the 'cultural majority' will vote for and then elect Republican John McCain as their next President. Period. There is no other outcome. writerfella only can suggest that voters should read 'John McCain's Lust For War' in the current issue of THE ROLLING STONE. But, of course, it only is a suggestion...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

dmarks said...

"As for the issue of dissent, try burning a flag, wearing a Nazi emblem, or shouting "Death to America!" in public."

I do find flag laws problematic. Nazi emblem? I am not aware of laws concerning wearing it. And it is not unreasonable that someone calling for the extermination of an entire nation of 300 million might be scoffed at by people of that nation.

"If you're a politician, try saying God doesn't exist, gay marriage should be legal, or Bush is an evildoer."

I see a difference between oppressing the expression of dissenting views, and voters refusing to give someone great power because of these views. Any politician who alienates voters on these things and fails at the polls is still able to dissent. Dennis Kucinich is one successful politician who says two of those things, and he does get elected to a very high and powerful office (even if it is not the highest).

Kareen said...

Most of the comments here reinforce my belief that Americans appear to be blind to their own ills & just as terrified to speak up as they were in the 60's. If you can't name the sickness, how can you cure it? At least she was brave enough to say something has been wrong & is looking forward to the opportunity to do something different to fix it. Have you checked the economy, instutionalized racism, our public education system, health care & the state of the people lately? Pitiful....what Michelle said was a postive message not just a slam. My Native Perspective

dmarks said...

Terrified to speak up? What's stopping anyone from starting a blog, Kareen?

(Also, I've said little about this, but I certainly don't slame M.O. for saying what she said)

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Michelle Obama never has been 'slamed' in all her life (nor has anyone else writerfella knows), and so she must be happy that DMarks didn't 'slame' her'
Tonight, one wonders what Michelle Obama might have to say after Hillary Clinton's performance evened up the game and even may have superceded it when she won both Texas and Ohio in their primaries. The so-called 'superdelegates' reached an agreement on Sunday that they would commit their votes according to what and who won the various primaries. Oklahoma's 'superdelegates' already committed to Hillary this week. The game is afoot, but also is far from over. Now, what does it mean that Barack HUSSEIN Obama has a criminally-indicted fundraiser among his supporters? And now HE is being investigated BY FEDERAL AUTHORITIES after certain elements raised by the past two episodes of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE? Oops...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

There doesn't have to be a law against something for people to react vehemently to it, DMarks.

"Scoff" is an understatement for what would happen if someone shouted "Death to America!" in public. Physical attacks would be more like it.

"Refusing to give someone power" if he's an atheist, a trait unrelated to his ability to govern, is an example of intolerance. This hypothetical person also would be shunned by potential friends and employers, even though his religious beliefs would have nothing to do with his qualities as a person.

Hence my claim that "our country is still rather intolerant of dissent." So far you haven't said much to challenge it.

Rob said...

"Slamed" is a combination of slammed and blamed, obviously. ;-)

You didn't explain the contradictions in your statements, Russ. Presumably that's because you can't and you'd look foolish if you tried.

Clinton is still behind Obama in the delegate count. In fact, she gained only a dozen or so delegates, at most.

I have no idea what Saturday Night Live-related investigation you're talking about. This is probably something else you made up.

Obama already addressed his connection to fundraiser Rezko:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/124171,CST-NWS-obama05.article

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama expressed regret late Friday for his 2005 land purchase from now-indicted political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko in a deal that enlarged the senator's yard.

"I consider this a mistake on my part and I regret it," Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times in an exclusive and revealing question-and-answer exchange about the transaction.

Rob said...

Re "the 'cultural majority' will vote for and then elect Republican John McCain as their next President. Period. There is no other outcome": I'd be worried if you had a track record of being right about things. Fortunately, you don't.

If you think Clinton would be tarred with fewer scandals than Obama, you've got to be kidding. Tell me you're not really that deaf, dumb, and blind.

If you think America is readier to vote for a divisive white woman than an inspiring black man, I'd say you don't know what you're talking about. Since Americans already have elected blacks as mayors, governors, and members of Congress, your facts are as wrong as your opinions.

Rob said...

I'm tired of your constant sniping and destructive criticism. If you have a better presidential candidate for the Democrats than Obama, name him or her.

In other words, put up or shut up. If you have anything positive to say about anyone, here's your chance.

dmarks said...

Russell: Oh, he slamed me!

Rob: Probably not. But he is good at spelling flames. Good point about "Death to America" really being dissent, but such a call for massive genocide is kind of at the extreme of dissent. From this and other comments today, I think someone urinated in Writerfella's corn flakes this morning.

I'm not sure that if Dennis Kucinich had been an Atheist, things would have been much different.

(As for better candidates than Obama, I am a little disappointed that Richardson or Dodd didn't get more attention. They have a lot more experience than the two that have made it so far. )

Rob said...

"Death to America" doesn't necessarily mean killing Americans. It could mean destroying America's government, economy, or "system" while leaving its people alive.

Anonymous said...

To carole:

Exactly what makes Michelle a spoiled brat? If anything, Clinton acted more like a spoiled brat, pulling out the race card whenever she couldn't get the votes she wanted--this being America, that usually works, but, thank God,voters actually saw through her BS and decided she wasn't gonna stay in the race.

All Michelle simply said was that was finally proud of the fact that we as Americans have FINALLY decided to get our prejudices long enough to say, "Hey, a black man is just as qualified to be president as anybody else, and that's all that matters!" Why is THAT so hard for anybody to understand? Also, she's an accomplished educated,professional women in her own right, not just some "career politician's wife", BTW. I think a lot of white folks are having a problem with her simply becasue they're still wrestling with the thought that the next First Lady might actually be black for a change, and they can't handle that---plus the fact that she obviously has a mind of her own.

Rob said...

I agree with you, Anonymous. Thanks for writing.

Rob said...

Alas, Russ, your comments on the 2008 presidential election proved to be incredibly ignorant. For more on the subject, see Stupidest Indian Prediction Ever.