About that bar.......... Author: velveeta jonesDate:05/04/2008 12:45:01
Reporting from NC: Where Velveeta went to hear our next first lady, Ms Michelle Obama, speak at a rally on Friday evening.
Coincidentally, Hillary Clinton spoke just hours earlier and a few miles down the road. Had I wanted to, I could easily fit both into my day - I chose to see "Iron Man" instead. I point this out as somewhat of a "nudge-nudge" poke. On Friday our local TV "News at Noon" broadcast live at the Hillary event and proudly speculated a crowd of 2000! Not bad for a small town. This was later downplayed on the Saturday morning local newscast, as they were forced to report a crowd of around 3500 at the Michelle Obama rally. Instead, our local news turned Ms Clinton's rally into "thousands showed up...." (Reminder: Ms Obama is not running for any office, Ms Clinton is).
Now, in defense of Ms Clinton, her rally was at Noon on a workday, while Ms Obama's was around dinner time. But still. Mark my words: I will call in sick to work on the day our next President, Barack Obama, comes to town (rumored that he is). Gosh I hope no one at work is reading this.
The rally was held outside on a beautiful, clear, crisp day. A day that started out painfully hot, in the 70’s, the wind was blowing nicely and the temperature was dropping to a much more pleasant low 60’s as the sun slowly set. Perfect for Rallies, Bluegrass music or Baseball!
First up, the obligatory patriot display of the Pledge and Prayer - for we must remind those righties that we are still Americans and we do believe in God. Well, in my case, God is a loving feminine God, rather than the one that causes hurricanes and acts of terrorism due to gay people. Then, our Mayor, the very popular Terry Bellamy, our first African-American Mayor, got up to a standing ovation and a stirring speech. I believe she had to attend the Clinton rally held two weeks ago, but clearly she is either an Obama supporter, or, a very talented actor.
Our Mayor then introduced one of our town “celebrities” Ms Gladys Knight who sang a stirring rendition of - what, imo, should be our National Anthem - “America The Beautiful”. She then read a letter that she wrote a while back, of thoughts that has come to her after her morning meditation.
“Never did I dream in my lifetime I would be able to campaign for a presidential candidate and first lady that look like me,” Knight said. “America is ready for this. It’s time for a change,” which brought thunderous applause and chants of “change” from the crowd.
Michelle Obama was introduced by a non-celebrity, a women from town. I suppose in keeping with the Obama’s theme of being the “regular, working American’s” President, as opposed to the our current pResident who panders to the “have’s and have’s more”.
Finally, Michelle took the stage. She wore a lovely silk floral dress, that she may have later regretted as you’ll see. (Hint, the wind picked up).
Her speech, which is probably a stump speech that’s she’s done everywhere she goes, focused on “the bar” and how it's continually moved for working Americans as well as the Obama campaign.
For example, at the beginning of the season, we had been repeatedly told the next President would be determined by how much money the candidate could raise. And one candidate had all the money and a strong well oiled political machine. But when Obama raised a lot of money, suddenly, that didn’t matter. What mattered was who won Iowa! But when Barack won Iowa, then Iowa didn’t count because it was a Caucus state. So the next bar became New Hampshire. But when he did so well in NH, surprising the pundits and pollsters - NH didn’t really mean anything. The bar was raised again. Oh and, South Carolina didn’t really count because it was a black state, she said, which drew much laughter and cheers.
She compared the bar that is always being raised for her and her husband to the one working class Americans face every day. “Life has gotten harder, not easier, for working people,” Obama said to thunderous applause. “Barack will work every day to make that bar even.”
She went on to speak about single mothers struggling to get their child into that one good school. About how important public schools are and how a decent living is so important. She reminded the crowd of her humble beginnings, but her father was able to save money for her to go to college. She reminded us that she is a product of public schooling and that it can work as long as we focus on teaching things like Math, Writing, the Arts, PE, Science and History and not so much on testing - an obvious criticism of the failed No Child Left Behind.
She spoke about how elitist the Obama’s were, again, drawing howls of laughter. She said that they were so “elitist” that when Barack becomes President he’ll not just be the first black President, he’ll be the first one to have just recently finished paying of his school loans. She reminded the crowd that Barack could have gone on to make a lot of money as a corporate lawyer - but instead was taught to give back to his community, by his Mother and Grandparents.
She also reminded us that Barack has experience, that his 8 years in the Legislature is often over-looked, as is his work as a Constitutional attorney.
One woman in the crowd, sitting under the speakers was very vocal, and the acoustics of the outdoor quad and the building surrounding it, seemed to carry her voice, so that even Michelle heard it and at times smiled. When Michelle talked about the struggles of single moms, a “Tha’s Right” was audible. The “Tha’s Right” and “Hm, Hmmm” and “Oh yeah” continued throughout the speech, amusing both the audience and Michelle.
Ms Obama did have some dress issues, but handled it so well that everyone in the audience felt at ease over it. I could sense everyone thinking the same thing as me, that light fabric dress and the wind picking up was a bad combo! And soon it happened, the wind taking her dress and filling it up, a la Marilyn, so that she had to quickly catch it and spent most of the evening trying to contain it. (Note: old theatre trick, sew small weights into the hem, it may stretch the fabric a tad but not enough to notice). She handled it so well, joking to the crowd behind her, “Oh no, I’m not gonna flash anybody. I caught it. I’m not gonna be on YouTube!” Later when a man behind her shouted during a pause, “Michelle for VP” and drew lots of laughter she said, “Now don’t listen to those people behind me. He may be biased. He’s getting a little more leg than those in front”.
The speech may have been a well rehearsed stump speech, but it was a damn good one! She will be an elegant, smart, and active first lady. One in which I’ll believe her smiles are real and not phony or done just for the camera. It’ll be a GREAT change from the current uptight first lady.
Well, there’s so much more, but I’ll end with this: irony is a funny thing. I present to you, Michelle Obama on YouTube!