It was 2008 when I first heard the name “Barack Hussein Obama” and my reaction was “Yeah right! No way does a name like that get elected president.” I did not have faith that my countryman would see beyond a name that rhymed with Osama and included the name of Hussein (because of Saddam Hussein).
Against all odds he became the democratic nominee. I was inspired. I was the aunt to a biracial girl (who I doted on) and girlfriend to a American born Bangladeshi man. I was personally invested in electing our first African American president.
I drove the local Republicans nuts by bringing a life-size cut out of Barack out to dinner with me more than once in the weeks before the election. I anxiously watched the results come in and I was filled with hope when my country elected Barack Hussein Obama as our 44th president.
During his 8 years in the White House I felt safe and secure with him at the helm.
I loved Michelle’s mantra “When they go low we go high.”
I was equally disappointed and scared when the United States elected the amoral misogynistic reality star Donald Tump as our 45th president.
I literally mourned for days as I felt like my countrymen failed me by not seeing how thoroughly unfit he was to be president.
Since that November day I anxiously read the news every evening, trying to be vigilant in my role as a citizen.
Recently I read Michelle Obama’s “Becoming.” I was moved to tears more than once. Listening to her words I felt a kinship to a fellow mom, professional woman and optimist who wants to believe humanity is more good than bad.
The memoir covers her life from a young girl doting on her dolls, to the moment as the first black First Lady leaving the White House after Barack Obama’s two terms in office.
To me, the Bitty Baddies Art series is a examination of villainy. What causes it. It’s motivations. It’s path.
In reading Michelle Obama’s book I found a hero. A woman that I admire for her dislike of politics, but willingness to serve anyway when called to.
It just so happened that I was driving by an American flag when Michelle Obama said these words (via Audible)…
“I’ve never been a fan of politics, and my experience over the last ten years has done little to change that. I continue to be put off by the nastiness—the tribal segregation of red and blue, this idea that we’re supposed to choose one side and stick to it, unable to listen and compromise, or sometimes even to be civil. I do believe that at its best, politics can be a means for positive change, but this arena is just not for me.”
People who become leaders out of necessity I believe are the most true to their post. They’re less likely to be swayed by the power or the fame to act as anyone other than who they are.
Her words in that moment made me look at the American flag differently. It’s segregated blue with stars butted up against the red and white stripes. Not mixing, not melting together as perhaps they should be.
This is the image that sprang to mind.
Thank you Michelle Obama for answering the call with incredible grace and dignity. You’re a true hero.