Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Last night at the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama did what she was supposed to do. She presented herself, her children, and her husband as authentic, approachable, passionate, patriotic, and most importantly American. She had the daunting task of setting the tone for the convention. I was eager to hear what she had to say and particularly how she would do so. I had the opportunity to watch and discuss her speech last night with some friends, one of which was African American woman. I mention this because she said she did not really take anything away from the speech. She felt it was too bland and did not give her what she expected. My question to her was, "what did you expect?" "Just something more," was her reply.
At this stage in the game Michelle Obama is simply playing her position. She had to step away from the political caricature of her as some angry black nationalist that was in some way a mixture of the blaxploitation characters of Cleopatra Jones and Foxy Brown (as seen on the satirical cover of the New Yorker). If you watched the coverage (no matter what channel) you saw that she did what she was supposed to do when you saw white women crying. What do I mean by this? It was the goal of the speech, in my estimation, to create some common ground, empathy and shared experience with those white women still uneasy about Barack and still pissed that Hillary is neither the nominee nor on the ticket. Michelle's use of her "American"story was masterful not just for what it said, but how it made people...especially white women feel.
Now I too did not think the speech was as brilliant as some media outlets have proclaimed or gave the "talking points" the sister was looking for last night, but after careful thought, Michelle could not give some spectacular, emboldened speech that communed with the prophetic. Michelle's job was to create a place from which to build and find consensus and she did just that. Unlike President Bush's declaration of "Mission Accomplished" on May 1, 2003, Michelle Obama completed her task and has set the stage for a unifying of the Democratic Party. Only time will tell if she along with Hillary tonight will provide the closure that some white women need to move on and pull the lever for Barack in November.
On a side note I would also add in a more light hearted way that Michelle Obama is my awardee for the 2008-2009 Claire Huxtable Award. Michelle Obama is one bad sista!
Posted by negrointellectual at 9:16 AM