(...I wish I could be surprised.)
I admit I haven't talked about the election much. I don't feel bad about that or anything; you can go elsewhere for better, more focused political commentary. In my defense, I provide way better So You Think You Can Dance recaps than Think Progress does.
But I've mostly stayed quiet because...what is there to say? This election is such a no-brainer it's barely worth talking about. Either the last eight years have got you motivated for a change in this country's direction or it hasn't. Either a shitty economy, a war with no end in sight, rock-bottom international relations, shredded human rights, and an arrogantly corrupt regime in Washington has you practucally begging for a new set of leaders -- for a new set of ideas -- or it hasn't. John McCain represents 100 more years of war and four more years of status quo Republican control. If you don't have a problem with that, I can't say anything to sway you. Moreover, if you DO have a problem with that but you're also too busy falling for racist campaign tactics or crying in your beer over Hillary Clinton, I can't say anything to sway you either.
That being said, I watched the salient bits of the Democratic Convention last night, got choked up listening to Ted Kennedy as usual, and watched Michelle Obama do her level best to convince us that she's not a militant black lady with any scary opinions. Don't get me wrong, her speech was fantastic, warm and easy and indicative of the sparkling personality and grace she would bring to the position of First Lady.
But the commentary afterwards put a knot in my stomach. Michelle did a great job presenting herself as a daughter, a wife, and a mother, they said. Michelle was effective in convincing us she loves her country, they said. Michelle did well to avoid any discussion of policy, they said. The only way she fell short was in not making explicit her Christian faith, said Pat Buchannan on MSNBC. I guess so we all don't assume she's a Muslim sleeper agent, eh Pat?
Rather than be happy at the ludicrously low bar Michelle had to clear if these were the objectives of the speech, I got incredibly depressed. This was a speech designed to position Michelle as a wife and mother, not someone with a head for policy. I'm sure that's the politically wise thing to do, which manages to make me even more depressed. Even in a speech where Michelle tipped the metaphorical hat to Hillary for making those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, she still needed to convince the country that she's not the crazy black lady. Still needed to convince Americans that by electing Barack Obama, they won't be putting Omarosa in the White House.
I forget who said it, but one of the pundits actually praised Michelle's speech as being a good way to to show the country that the Obamas are indeed Americans. Motherfucker, anybody who doesn't already realize that fact never, ever will.
Here's the thing: Michelle Obama is a total badass, and that's what I like about her. (That's what I liked about Hillary Clinton, too, not that some of the more severely myopic Clinton supporters these days realize that when they're busy slamming Michelle while trying to extract their pitiful little pound of flesh from her husband.) It's my feeling that Democrats aren't going to get anywhere pretending we're something we're not. We're not going to get anywhere pretending our candidate for president isn't a smart man capable of complex thought and with a vision for the future. And we're not going to get anywhere pretending his wife isn't an independent-minded woman with a mind for public policy and spine made out of steel. I don't need to be reminded that she loves her kids. I don't need to be reminded that she loves her country. I need to be reminded that enough people in this country aren't so easily fooled and won't so readily be prey to their prejudices.
And I won't't know that for sure until November. Fingers crossed.