So, I watched President Barack Obama give his second State of the Union Address and felt totally dejected like a pimply teenage girl who’s searching find her identity. Yep, to say the least the speech did feel quite underwhelming and non-surprising . . . “we’re going to [fill in the blank with your best conception of democracy]” knowing that the actual end result will not liberate the many inequalities communities of color endure. Therefore, I turned my attention to the First Lady, Michelle Obama, who was dressed in a very conservative plum dress that seemed more reminiscent of a Stepford wife than a woman who was Vice President of Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago.
But, let it be known, Michelle Obama could have had on paper sack and I would still be a Michelle Obama’s groupie because she’s from the south side of Chicago and because in some ways she reminds me of the many black women school teachers who have enriched my life by saying among many things, “Baby, you got legs. Walk,” which is why I hate for white women to call her Mrs. O.
She ain’t no Mrs. O that name makes her sound like British tea and crumpets instead of sounding like she’s from the South Side of Chicago where little black kids drink “red” Kool-Aide and eat hot Cheetos Fries. Also, I don’t particularly like calling her First Lady Michelle Obama because it requires her politically non-committal husband to speak for her saying, “Oh, she [i.e. Michelle] gets embarrassed.” Really, Barack your wife gets embarrassed in front of crowds when it was once her job to speak in front of them. How belittling which got me to thinking about the “state of their union” and what is going through Michelle Obama’s mind when she hears her husband speak. Don’t you ever wonder what she’s thinking? I do. I know in our culture we are taught not to think about what the wife thinks, but I do.
I know she nods and waves and performs the role of the First Lady with dignity and grace, but a part of me wonders how she feels about her husband turning his back on many policies and agendas that would benefit black people that live on the South Side of Chicago. How does she feel? How does she feel when her husband in the press room disavows race as an issue, while her mother, Mrs. Robinson, who’s “age” speaks of Jim Crow sits in the blue room with her granddaughters?
How does she feel when her husband beckons to Reganomics as a bonafide philosophy knowing that those types of policies make black mothers and black fathers on the South Side of Chicago re-envision how they will creatively stretch their living from pay check to pay check?
Given these questions, what does Michelle Obama think? I know it’s completely unfair to believe that she may be just as disgusted as I am by husband’s politics, but given her South Side upbringing and her statement, “this is the first time I am proud of America,” I venture to say that she knows bullshit when she sees it and hears it even while dressed in her Isaac Mizrahi dress, freshly pressed hair, and sparkling white pearls. She knows, but perhaps the love of her husband compels her to support the initiatives of the White House. Perhaps, love in the form of duty keeps her from yelling to the press, “This healthcare bill is some bullshit. It doesn’t insure Mexican immigrants, it cuts funding for abortions, and it fines people who choose not to buy health insurance . . . pure bullshit.” Perhaps, it’s the love of her husband that keeps her from speaking prophetic truths about exploitative corporations like Mc Donald’s instead focusing on how to help parents decrease their children’s obesity.
Perhaps, loves shapes her feelings about the politics that are being played by her husband in the name of a diluted change. And yes, I know that just because you outwardly show one behavior does not necessarily mean you are not dissident in other ways. So, perhaps this is the case for Michelle. I just wonder how she feels about her husband’s politics and when he steps in to publicly “hush” her. It must be love. It got to be love that keeps their state of their union together.