Michelle Obama has gone rogue and it’s spectacular. Speaking at a fund-raising lunch for at-risk youth in Chicago yesterday, the First Lady stepped out of her circumscribed domain of childhood obesity and military families for the first time, urging legislators not to obstruct her husband’s proposed gun control reforms with filibuster threats.
“These reforms deserve a vote in Congress,” she said to loud applause.
According to the Washington Post, Obama was moved to speak out after the death of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old majorette who was shot and killed not far from where the First Lady grew up on the south side of Chicago, just weeks after performing in the president’s inauguration ceremonies.
“Hadiya Pendleton was me and I was her,” she said during the emotional address. On paper that looks a little opportunistic or reductive. If only there had been mandatory background checks, she too might have gone on to Princeton. But actually Obama’s comparison is a pretty elegant summary of her progressive worldview. Watch or read after the jump.
“At the end of the day, this is the point I want to make: Resources matter. They matter. What it takes to build strong, successful young people isn’t genetics or pedigree or good luck, it’s opportunity. And I know from my own experience, I started out with exactly the same aptitude, exactly the same emotional, intellectual capabilities as so many of my peers. The only thing that separated me from them was that I had a few more advantages than some of them did. I had adults who pushed me, I had activities that engaged me, schools that prepared me to succeed, I had a community that supported me and a neighborhood where I felt safe. In the end, that was the difference between growing up and becoming a lawyer, a mother and First Lady of the United States, and being shot dead at the age of 15.”
This is so much better than bangs.