I promised all of you on Twitter that I was done for the night. I fully expected to lay in bed, prepare for my morning practice and listen to Michelle Obama’s speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention before slipping off into a steady slumber.
Then Michelle Obama spoke to me.
On a night in which Stacey Lihn brought us to tears, Deval Patrick inspired the base with a fiery speech that definitely will earn him some national credentials, Martin O’Malley slightly redeem himself, Ted Strickland bring laughter into the convention & Julian Castro breathe new life into the future of the Democratic Party; the First Lady of the United States did everything and then some.
I can not eloquently break down Michelle Obama’s speech in a way that would do it justice. Her speech wasn’t policy-driven per se but definitely political. It was delivered in the voice of your favorite elementary school teacher with the intense passion of your favorite college football coach at halftime. It had moments of comic relief sprinkled in with moments that probably successfully brought tears to your eyes. You idolized her in the same way that you related to her.
This is only Day One?
But what Michelle Obama did to me was even more powerful. I heard her say what I’ve been thinking for the past three years, especially when referring to her college education.
I’m a person who has made it through college on loans, grants and a lot of hard work from my father (and myself as well). The past few years have not been amazing for my family, but we have yet to lose anything even if sacrifices have been made. One thing for sure though was hearing about the First Lady’s father working long hours to finish paying off the tuition that helped her get an education.
That brought tears to my eyes and I wasn’t expecting to be that thoroughly moved by a political speech ever, especially tonight. Sure Stacey Lihn made me tear up, but that’s because I’m human and her story is beautiful.
Michelle Obama exhibited that she did go through the same struggles of me and even the accompanying guilt that overwhelms you when you realize that a parent is breaking their back for you to have the chance to improve yourself through academia. You are immensely proud of your parent for working that hard for you, yes, but it the elephant in the room continues to exist.
“Is it worth all this financial sacrifice? In this job market?”
That’s a question many college-aged students are asking themselves and to hear the First Lady of the United States of America say that she was in the exact same position was just….the right thing for me to hear at this time of my life.
I did enjoy Ann Romney’s speech for the most part. In all honesty, she had one of the highlights of the entire 2012 Republican National Convention and I can also relate to Paul Ryan’s personal anecdote about his mother working late hours to help out his family. At various times, they hit the right chord and I got to witness the younger version of themselves; struggling to make ends meet in the current while dreading what the future may or may not hold.
Yet Michelle Obama transcended all of their speeches in one swift motion. She nearly wept when talking about her favorite job being “Mom-in-Chief” which nearly brought the house down as she maintained her composure to go into the crescendo of her speech. Party loyalists were in tears, family members were looking at one of their own with nothing but pride and viewers back home were rendered speechless.
Michelle Obama has transcended her office. She is now going to be seen as a prospect for future office and she is going to be on the national scene for a long time coming, regardless of the results of the election this November. She was relatable, and no she did not mention Mitt or Ann Romney, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, George W. Bush nor even Todd Akin. But in a roundabout way, she might as well have because she connected in a way so few others have.
There is a good possibility that Michelle Obama’s speech tonight will not bring a single additional vote to the Obama campaign. In fact it runs the risk of overshadowing the entire convention. However, it was so understated in delivery that you couldn’t help but want more even though the speech was lengthy in its entirety.
Michelle Obama lived the American Dream, just like Mitt and Ann Romney has and numerous of other Americans as well. But she conveyed it in a sense that so few others have done before. It was refreshing to hear a break from direct partisan attacks and just hear a story or two mixed in-between some fun anecdotes about a spouse that’s loved.
We got to hear all that tonight and also saw the emergence of Michelle Obama as not just a popular public figure but as an icon. The sky is brighter than it’s stars tonight as it represents the limit.
I am personally glad I got to hear it.
Transcript of the speech can be found here.