Wow. I just got back from seeing Michelle Obama speak and I'm going to write about it while I'm still high and her words are still fresh. It was only announced late Wednesday that she was coming, but one of the best things about my job is that I can just say "Hey, I'm taking Friday off to go see Michelle Obama." And I'm so glad I did. I even took Anna out of school a little early and took her with me. After all, it's not every day that you get to see the potential next First Lady speak. As I told her, "This probably won't mean much to you today, but one day, you'll think this was pretty cool." Anyway, it was a great turnout, close to 2,000 people. Nothing compared to Barack's 14,000 in Boise, but it was on a work day AND Hillary decided to come to town and speak at the exact same time as Michelle. So all 7 (ha!) of Spokane's Democrat's had to decide between the two. I chose to go to see Michelle because, while I'll obviously vote for Hillary if she's our candidate, I am 100% behind Obama. Going into Michelle's speech, I'd say I was 85% for him and 15% for Hillary. But his lovely, intelligent and articulate wife just sealed the deal for me, and here's why: I've always felt that Hillary is just too much of a politician. She has spent her entire adult life, her whole career, working toward being President. She, I think, wanted it more than Bill did. But America wasn't ready for a woman president then, and they knew that. I question her values and motives; frankly I don't consider her to be that much different than Bush, Cheney and all those rich white guys we currently have in office who are controlled entirely by special interests. She may have more experience in Washington DC, but is that really a good thing?? I don't think so.
Barack, on the other hand is different. First of all, he was raised by a single mother, a white woman raising a small black boy in the 60s. She worked hard to support him, but at times they were on food-stamps. Nonetheless, she knew that she had something to give, so she packed up her son and moved them to Indonesia, so that she could work to educate and empower young Indonesian women who would otherwise live a lifetime of poverty. Barack Obama's father is African, and his grandmother lives, literally, in a mud hut in Kenya. He spent most of his childhood in the poorest parts of Chicago. And yet his mother instilled in him the belief that he could do and be anything he set his mind to. He went to Princeton (where he met Michelle) and then to Harvard Law School. Not because his daddy and grandfather did, but because he worked his ass off to get there. Then after graduating from Harvard law, he easily could have gone into corporate law or to Wall Street; he had offers. But he wanted to go back to Chicago and make a difference for the people he'd grown up with there. And he did. He and his family have sacrificed living a fat, comfortable life so that he could DO THE RIGHT THING. Did you know that he and Michelle just finally paid off their student loans THREE YEARS AGO?? He knows what it's like for people who work minimum wage jobs to support their family, because he grew up that way. Now, I don't know much about Hillary's upbringing, but I know it wasn't as a poor black child with a single mother in Chicago's roughest neighborhoods. To me that speaks VOLUMES about who he is and what matters to him. I truly believe that he is the best chance we have at REAL CHANGE in this country. I, for one, am tired of our country being run by people who are part of that .01 percent of the nation's wealthiest people. They have never had to struggle, to do without, to work 3 jobs to put food on the table. It is absolutely not right that most mothers are unable to stay home with their children because she must also work to support the family. For all these wealthy, white candidates who grew up privileged (or even just middle-class), where is their motivation to change our health-care system so that every child in this country has health-care? Where is their motivation to keep social security available when they have billions in the bank themselves? It makes no difference in their lives or in the lives of the people they grew up with, so why would it even be on their radar? It's NOT. Hillary just isn't that much different from the fat cats who have been running our country forever. Barack IS different. He is change. And tomorrow, I'm going to caucus and he is getting my vote. Then I'm going to call his campaign office here in town and I am going to volunteer. He's my man. Yes, we CAN!!!