…in both the positive and negative sense. On the one hand, she’s no Stepford Wife (one thinks of Ann Romney. The only words I heard out of that woman’s mouth during her months with Mitt on the campaign trail were the strikingly original, “We’re gonna go to Washington…and clean up that mess.” Yikes.)
But Michelle Obama’s comment this week that “for the first time in [her] adult life, [she is] really proud of [her] country,” made me wonder if she is some kind of ingrate, or numbers among the extreme leftists in the U.S. who seem to take this remarkable country entirely for granted, except when using the liberties for which others have fought and died to bash the U.S. for water-boarding a few terrorist kingpins and the like.
I had generally liked this outspoken mother of two beautiful children, who is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, has had a successful career as a corporate attorney-cum-nonprofit social service director, and seems the only avid supporter of her husband’s to resist completely deifying him. She comes from a close and loving family of origin whose family name—Robinson–I’m partial to.
But you really gotta wonder about that comment. In fairness, she recently sought to clarify the remark. In Milwaukee, she told WJAR-TV, “What I was clearly talking about was that I’m proud in how Americans are engaging in the political process.” But that’s not what she originally said. What she said was, “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change.”
It’s the “clearly” in her clarification that bothers me. She’s simultaneously claiming that she meant something other than what she plainly stated, which would have been her error in failing to clearly articulate the important nuance, but at the same time, she asserts that she was being perfectly clear in the first instance.
People’s comments in on-the-record, public forums can be a goldmine for journalists, and here’s why: when they are pumped with adrenaline, and they are “feeling the love” among admiring friends and supporters, people—even public figures–are often more likely to spill the truth as they see it than when they are being grilled directly by the press.
Mrs. Obama made this comment in a public forum and it is fair game for analysis. Let’s assume the woman said exactly what she meant. She’s never felt proud of this country in her adult life until now that her husband stands at the precipice of gaining the Democratic nomination for president. Think about what a remarkable statement this is.
What about on 911, when American firefighters and police were laying down their lives to enter the buildings and rescue others at the mercy of terrorists? Was there ever a greater contrast between what America stands for—the value of each human life—and what radical Islamists and their apologists stand for than the sight of those who desperately want to live sacrificing themselves not in service to death, but life?
How could she have failed to be proud?
What about during the years her husband served in the Illinois state legislature, and as a U.S. Senator? Was she never proud of the country he served? How could she not be, assuming she has any respect for her husband?
Implausible as it seems given her success, maybe she’s got a real attitude problem towards this country.
One doesn’t like to get too hung up on a single comment. And it was hers, not his. But it does raise questions.
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