February 18, 2008

Now More Than Never

More interesting to me than the Obama plagiarism flap today was the speech given by Michelle Obama. Drudge has taken down his headline on this story within the last hour or so, and removed it from the page. Wonder why. Here's the attention-grabber:

"What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something -- for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.

and then, by way of explanation...

And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I've seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues, and it's made me proud."

I do so hope Michelle Obama comes to regret that first turn of phrase, and then publicly clarifies and qualifies it. Because surely Michelle Obama's alienation from her country's ideals cannot really be so great that she can say the United States has done nothing in the last 25 years of which she can be proud. Just recently, tsunami relief, Katrina volunteerism, Africa foreign aid and relief work, and rescuing Kuwait and Kosovo from dictators come to mind....Olympic champions?...Nobel Prizes?...Harvard?....Oprah?.... Nothing?

An American success story and an achiever in her own right, this can't be a woman who believes that the American dream is unachievable. You wouldn't think. She did say in her adult lifetime. This must allow for the false pride from the ceremonial patriotism she was made to recite in her youth. But since she went to Princeton and Harvard Law and became a successful hospital executive and university official, the only view she has had of America has been its ugly side. Really?

As much as I'd like to give her a mulligan on an unfortunate slip, unfortunately, it did seem scripted to come out just that way. And so, after having never once felt proud of her country, the first occasion for her pride in country is what? "People are hungry for change." She has seen "people who are hungry to be united around some basic common issues." How convenient that turned out to be as a tie-in to the theme of the campaign!

And she has found people around the country who, like her, feel desperate, frustrated and alone, because the country isn't going in "that direction." (for the newbie, that's the direction of change we can believe in.) All of which makes her proud of her country...for the first time ever.

Sorry, Michelle, but it sounds contrived. It doesn't work for me. And if it's true, it's sad and pathetic.

UPDATE 2/18:

J-Pod's reaction.

Lots of comments pro and con at this boston.com blog

Posted by dan at February 18, 2008 6:19 PM