On Monday, I received an email advertising free tickets to see Michelle Obama speak at a rally at Upper Dublin High School. I am a huge fan of Mrs. Obama- I find that she and I share many of the same values when it comes to raising children, as well as lifestyle choices and overall well-being. I find her to be intelligent and insightful, and was eager to have an opportunity to hear what she had to say, especially as election day approaches.
I managed to stop into the office in Bristol on Tuesday and left with two tickets- at absolutely no cost. On Thursday, I had the great pleasure of seeing Mrs. Obama speak to a gymnasium full of eager listeners.
I was able to get one other ticket in addition to my own, so Rob joined me at the rally, camera in tow. He is a more skilled photographer and better-versed in politics than I am, and it was great to have some company in line and at the event.
The rally was very well-organized. There was a line to enter the building because of the tight security, but volunteers were distributing water to the people in line, and it moved quickly. After passing through metal detectors and turning our bags over for inspection, we made our way into the gymnasium.
The bleachers were already filled with people and the school’s band was playing a mix of classics and modified chart-toppers. It was such great energy- everyone was either sympathetic to the goals of Obama’s campaign or, at the very least, a welcoming and interested party.
A number of people spoke prior to the First Lady’s appearance, all using their time at the podium to share what Obama’s presidency has done for them and why it is so important that we keep up the momentum for another four years. Everyone who spoke did a great job of engaging the crowd and getting peoples’ energy up.
There was an hour lag in between the initial speakers and Mrs. Obama’s appearance, and although it was definitely worth the wait to hear her speak, the general consensus was that it would have been good form if someone had come out and addressed the crowd. Nevertheless, at 4:15 we warmly welcomed Michelle Obama to Montgomery County.
She was exceptionally well-spoken and charismatic. She began by acknowledging each person that has been integral to the campaign- including each one of us out there, for our support and our votes.
She spent a lot of time talking about what Obama has done thus far, and why extending his presidency for another four years is essential to the forward movement of our country. I am not going to use this space as a political soapbox. I will only say that no, I do not agree with absolutely everything that Obama is doing, but I think that his aims will benefit our country much more than those of the competition.
Listening to Michelle Obama, it was immediately apparent that I was not listening to a stuffed cotton sack. Mrs. Obama is well-spoken and intelligent without airs. She speaks from the heart about issues and solutions that she genuinely believes will benefit the American people. She expresses her understanding of the struggles of the middle class and those who would like to be, and is sympathetic to all of the challenges we are facing as a country.
Her interests lie, not in material profit, but in the well-being of the people on whose backs this country rides. The purpose of government is not to help the wealthy remain at the top of the ladder, but rather to ensure that each and every person has the same fair shot at success. That is the basis of the majority of my support for the Obama campaign- that because of the healthcare and student loan policies he has implemented, I am able to complete school and have excellent healthcare without suffering under crippling debt.
Mrs. Obama also spoke on the topic of change, which of course has been an overarching theme in her husband’s current and past campaign.
“One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.” -President Barack Obama
It is a simple truth- people generally don’t speak up for what is right. It is a rare thing to see a person speak out in a crowd to show their support- most of the time, we’re afraid of being the only one. This only does us a disservice, for no one is better equipped to stand up for someone than themselves. Standing up for your values and beliefs is part of being an individual, and provided that your actions don’t bring harm to another being, it is a right all of us share but few of us honor. Mrs. Obama’s message was simple: use your voice, be the change you want to see and encourage others to do the same.
What moved me the most about Michelle Obama’s speech was the encouragement she offered all of us to “hitch our wagons to something bigger than yourself.” It is extremely important to me to always be encouraging of Jack and Carolyn’s ambitions, regardless of how big or small they might be. I wrote once before that I want to raise them to believe that with a lot of hard work, they can do anything. Mrs. Obama touched on that, and it resonated with me. It is important as a country that we encourage people to reach, instead of settling for whatever they are handed. We have become a complacent country, and that has affected everything from our health to the place we hold in the hearts and minds of the rest of the world. I believe that we could go a long way by simply realizing the potential that all of us have for real success and happiness, and then tap into it.
She was charming in her stance and her candor- listening to her speak, I felt as though I were being addressed not by the First Lady of the United States, but by another hardworking mother like myself. She was so real.
The political rat race is hardly something to celebrate- every election, I feel completely overwhelmed, bombarded with slogans and propaganda telling me all of the best and worst things about each candidate. It was so nice to feel a deviation from that maddening atmosphere. Although most of the people at the rally were supportive of Obama and his campaign, and Michelle was of course speaking in that interest, there was no denying that her demeanor was something to be admired. Democrat or Republican, you can’t argue that the woman has a way with people, and I was so honored to be in that room on the receiving end of the message, nodding my head in agreement, and smiling.