Politalks: Humanizing the runner
“To the right, to the left, let’s move. Ehhhh!” The stereo calls out at Alice Dean Middle School on a Tuesday morning in Washington D.C.
Michelle Obama, the first lady of the United States, gets into the groove. Her hands elongate, tight to her chest, and she moves her knees in a swift motion from side to side. Being the cool-cat that she is, Mrs. Obama knows how to “dougie”– and she does it well.
Mrs. Obama launched the Let’s Move! initiative, a program that aims to prevent the development of obesity at an early age by encouraging kids to adapt a healthy lifestyle of adequate exercise and a healthy diet. She travels the country and hosts events that draw crowds of thousands.
Mrs. Obama followed the tradition of first ladies: get into the White House and create a program that is meaningful to her.
It has held for decades.
Mrs. Obama is following in the footsteps of Laura Bush, an accomplished politician who followed the rules and conducts of First Lady 101 like it was her mission.
And it was.
Mrs. Bush began life as a schoolteacher, and then ended up as a librarian at a Houston’s Public Library branch before moving to Washington, D. C. As was fitting for her past occupations, Mrs. Bush founded Ready to Read, Ready to Learn, a program aimed at promoting innovative teaching practices.
She also founded the National Book Festival, which gave children access to their favorite authors, encouraging them to read.
There is no doubt that the job of first lady can be incredibly rewarding; these women lead impassioned missions for change, backed up with all the power and might of the presidential seal. But this lifestyle is a dualistic one. Every election year they put their altruistic passions aside and serve in honor of their spouse.
So we ask Mr. Obama, how’s that presidential re-election campaign coming along? By all measures, mediocre.
With the intention of creating momentum for the Democratic party, Mrs. Obama spoke during the Democratic National Convention. Her speech was well-received, drawing cheers from the crowd and high-admiration from journalists.
Mrs. Obama has become a celebrity, perhaps even overshadowing the message of the President. Certainly, that was not her intention; rather, Mrs. Obama’s goal is to sell her husband to a nation that lacks a certain confidence in electing him for another four years.
Under the bright lights of the convention, Mrs. Obama talked about the kind of man Obama was when she first fell in love with him, and still is to this day. To her, he is honest, doesn’t take shortcuts and lives a life of decency and integrity.
Mrs. Obama explained that the President stands for “the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle.”
It seemed like a fairytale, but that was the theme of the speech: the President has fulfilled the American dream, and his goal is to make this dream accessible to all.
It is evident that a voter’s choice of a candidate can depend as much on the way he looks and interacts, and on the morals he lives by, as it does on his policies. For this reason, Michele has done Mr. Obama well.
I think we can all agree that Mrs. Obama presented a compelling reason for re-election, and did so with a superb speech. She put Obama on the level of a family man, and gave a clear message of what he stands for.
It is the first ladies’ job to humanize the President, and to be a public figure. Mrs. Obama has done both, and as the election heats up, I think it’s time.