M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Michelle Obama
RE: Mom-in-Chief? Was it Really Necessary to Try to Out-Mom Ann Romney?
Full disclosure: I have been and remain a supporter of your husband, President Barack Obama, as well as a supporter of your tireless efforts to curb childhood obesity, your unwavering support of military families and your roll-with-it response when your hair styles and outfits get endlessly critiqued by anyone with a Twitter or blog account …
However, in the interest of equal time (see Ann Romney MEMORANDUM), I must share some disappointment. Despite delivering a stirring, ovation-generating speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention …
“Every day, the people I meet inspire me…every day, they make me proud…every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth.”
“If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time…if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.”
Let’s remember and celebrate the sacrifices those before us made to remind us of our potential. That we, too, must sacrifice…
“Our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys…Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at grandma’s house…and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn’t stay awake for both.”
You were so almost there at being inclusive, Michelle! But was it really necessary to play the mom card?
I held you to a higher standard. I was convinced you wouldn’t try to “out-mom” Ann Romney. I know how much you value the importance of looking beyond stereotypes, of getting beyond personal interests, of respecting each and every individual in our society.
“We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean…and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.”
I totally get rhetorical devices. I understand why every politician (or their spouses and supporters) have to invoke the greater good to motivate the electorate, to ensure that we don’t stumble or screw up our communities, our countries or our planet for those who come after us.
“And I say all of this tonight not just as First Lady…and not just as a wife…”
No…no….Michelle! Do NOT say it, you’ve made your point…!
“You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still ‘mom-in-chief.’ “
AAArrrghhh! Did you really have to invoke your momminess?
This may come as a newsflash, to both you and Ann, but many of us who are not parents also want to leave the world a better place than we found it.
As First Lady, you own the bully pulpit. In fact, we need you more than ever in this mommy-centric era in which we live to get beyond the easy punch lines, to respect and value the efforts of all women. Yes, we know that mothers and fathers play a central role in raising children (we are endlessly reminded of how fabulous you all are) but you don’t do it alone. As Hillary Clinton reminded us — in the previous century — It Takes A Village.
And it bears repeating that women who are not moms and men who are not dads in this century live in that village, too.