Monday, August 25, 2008

Michelle Obama & the American Dream

Having just watched Michelle Obama, and listening to her words, I couldn't help but be emotionally affected, as I thought of my own father. My father passed away from cancer, but even to the end, his thoughts were for his family, for how they would be cared for.

Her message and story for how her parents sacrificed and worked hard to give their children every opportunity, resonated with the sacrifices my own parents made.

We grew up being taught how important education was, in addition, my father spent many hours teaching us math, to help us get ahead. My parents were always proud of their children's accomplishments, and I know that our success validated for them, all the sacrifices they had made on our behalf.

I thought of my mother, and how much she focused on her children's happiness, and Michelle's same focus on her children, brought tears not only to my eyes, but to several women in the DNCC audience. Women of all ages and races get this. This reminded me of the song "Bread and Roses", a song that we sang at my alma mater, Bryn Mawr.

"Bread and Roses"
As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!
As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.
As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.

This is where I struggle with McCain and his sincerity to understand what American Dream is all about - creating opportunities for all Americans, being the land of opportunities.

There are so many families out there, trying to make ends meet, trying to make a better life for their children. America's direction has been going in the wrong direction, and our ability to continue to be a strong economy will depend on the investments we make not only in our foreign and domestic concerns, but the future we leave for all children.

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