Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Michelle Obama's Speech at the DNC: The Personal Is Political



Michelle Obama was stunning at DNC2012.

I'd already planned on voting for her husband in November.  Hesitatingly.  Not that I'd ever vote for Romney, but I was seriously thinking of writing-in Bernie Sanders or The Dude or The Ghost of George Carlin.  But Mrs. Obama's speech helped remind me to be patient, that President Obama's worth four more years.  I like EJ Dionne's opinion piece here:

"A speech that was thoroughly apolitical on the surface carried multiple political messages, linking a very traditional message about parenting with a call for social justice.  And it was almost entirely done though personal stories."
Regular people seem to crave more openness, more intimacy from our world leaders, the people who put us and our children in harm's way with their mistakes and stupidity.  Shouldn't we get to know them a little better before we hand over such power?  Mrs. Obama's masterful use of family narrative in her speech at the DNC helps me trust her husband a little more.  It's healing for progressives like me who have felt skimmed over by the President. 

My horn deserves tooting much less loudly than Mrs. Obama's in the personal-is-political arena, but I feel validated by her big hit with the personal stories.  Maybe what I'm doing with this blog isn't such a waste of time.  

It gives me hope that my own stories on this blog might help sway others onto a more politically progressive path.  At least give people a laugh as they watch me trip along it.

Sharing our personal stories is important.  Recognizing that other people also found ways to rise from their wreckage reminds us that our worries are therefore both insignificant and universal, triggering a sense that somehow everything will be OK.  As the Democrats chanted with President Clinton during his speech at the convention, "We're all in this together."  

Government can be boring because most regular people don't feel connected to politicians.  Telling personal stories allows us to show people how politics and policy affect our daily lives, leaving fewer people feeling erased from the story. 

Feel free to leave your personal stories in the comments below.