Black People : The Making of a First Lady

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by oldsoul, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The Making of a First Lady
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    The first Saturday after Barack Obama won the White House, his wife, Michelle (“Miche” to her pals), did what she had been doing most Saturdays for years—joined her friends Sandy Matthews and Yvonne Davila to take their daughters to ballet and soccer and later to a movie. Usually, they went to the California Pizza Kitchen on North Avenue for lunch, but this time Yvonne picked up sandwiches, and they ate in the car en route to see Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. The friends had kept to their routine through the nearly two-year presidential campaign, so having the Secret Service in tail was nothing new.
    It was a last burst of normalcy before the lives of Michelle, 45, and her daughters, Sasha, seven, and Malia, ten, would get turned upside down. But sticking to that prosaic Saturday routine—just four days after the Obama family celebrated a historic ascension before a thrilled audience of tens of thousands in Grant Park and millions more on TV worldwide—suggests something fundamental about the personality and style of the striking five-foot-eleven woman who was about to become the nation’s First Lady.
    Colleagues and friends from every era of her life describe a woman of remarkable consistency in demeanor, looks, objectives, and habits. “Michelle appears to differ very little today from the student I knew in college,” said Derrick Burns, a friend at Princeton University. “Much like now, Michelle did not seek the spotlight in college. When it was on her, she shone brightly.”

    Interviews with more than 50 acquaintances portray a South Sider passionately devoted to family, to hard work, and to doing good—and with a deep skepticism of electoral politics, an attitude that at times has caused strains in her marriage. Michelle is someone who relishes order and routine—her husband has remarked on her “strong perfectionist streak”—and the uncertainty of a political career has often conflicted with her desire for a generous family income and a big, comfortable home. Throughout her life, in school and at work, she has gone out of her way to help others, and Barack’s ideals attracted her. She knew from the time she met him that he wanted to change the country and had his eyes on the presidency. But she wanted a husband who did pro bono work on the side of a lucrative legal career, who also helped with the children. (Michelle would not give an interview for this story.)
    Dan Shomon, a top aide who traveled Illinois with Barack when he was a state senator and a U.S. Senate candidate, says that Barack called Michelle once after he had made a particularly rousing speech. “They’re drinking the juice,” he told her enthusiastically. “I feel like I’m inspiring people.”
    She replied: “You don’t even have enough money to drink your own juice.”

    Michelle’s roots are far more Chicago than her husband’s—she grew up in a South Shore bungalow and attended city schools. Her father worked in the machine of Richard J. Daley, and she put in time at Richard M.’s City Hall. Unlike her husband, she comes from an intact family, one so wholesome and American that Barack has written that visiting them in their apartment was like dropping in on the set of Leave It to Beaver.
    Friends say the close-knit Robinson home gave Michelle her confidence, her levelheadedness, and her altruism, but the memory of it—steady, warm, reliable—was in large part what made her uncomfortable about her husband’s ventures into politics. Family mattered above all, and she did not want to put it in jeopardy. Still, Michelle eventually came around—particularly after Barack made millions from his books—and a key piece of the story of the 2008 election is Michelle’s emergence on the campaign trail. After some rough patches at the start, she turned into one of her husband’s strongest assets and a formidable presence on her own. With perhaps a bit of affectionate hyperbole, Malik Nevels, a former employee of Michelle’s, puts it this way: “We could potentially see another Obama in the White House before we see another Clinton.”
     
  2. LindaChavis

    LindaChavis Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    And there

    ..you have it
     
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