Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Does it Mean to be an "American"?

Last night, as I was watching Michelle Obama give her speech at the Democratic Convention, I was really impressed with her message and also with the eloquence and heart-touching quality she possesses. I mean, few people can give her husband a run for the money in the speech department, but Michelle certainly can. In fact, as I was watching her speak, I envisioned her as a future president of our country. She has that elusive, inspiring presidential manner that exudes integrity and intelligence and makes you want her to represent your country. She makes me feel proud to be an American.

But before we get too carried away, let's step out of the rose garden for one moment, shall we? As much as I adore Michelle, there was one part of her speech that I thought would be interesting to discuss critically as it is relevant to the subjects we like to discuss here.

Referring to her daughters, Michelle Obama said:

I think about how one day, they'll have families of their own. And one day, they — and your sons and daughters — will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They'll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming.
My question to Michelle is - how do you know your daughters will have children of their own one day? Isn't that presumptuous? Maybe they will not choose to have children. Maybe they will be (gasp!) childfree. Maybe they will choose to do other things with their lives. Maybe they will set out to do wonderful things because it will benefit all of humanity, not only their own offspring.

Politicians, like the rest of society, assume and promote the idea that being an American means having kids. They are always yapping about "single mothers" and "hard-working families" and people struggling to feed their kids, and struggling to get healthcare for their kids, and on and on and on for their kids. Well, there are plenty of hard-working Americans whose lives do not revolve around caring for children, but who also are struggling, and they deserve to be acknowledged. In this economy, I don't know one person who isn't feeling the squeeze. We are all struggling to get by, to pay our bills, to pay for groceries, to get quality healthcare, kids or no kids, and it would nice if all Americans were cared about, praised and catered too to the degree that "families" are.


Leann said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

This is in the same vein: I get tired of people who are a couple but who have no children being thought of as not a real family. I've had person after person tell me that a couple is not a family. Apparently kids have to be added to the mix.

Well, it's just me, my husband, and our two dogs, and we ARE a family!

Childfreeeee said...

I agree with you, dogandmusiclover. I definitely think of my hubby, me and the cats as a "family", even though our society doesn't look at us this way. In fact, sometimes when hubby, me and the cats are all cuddled up together watching t.v., hubby will say to me, "what a beautiful family!"

Stepher said...

There's something on my blog for YOU!


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I get that vibe from people too when I talk about my family with my husband and two cats. It's so rude! And as for rising prices: ouch! My grocery bill keeps getting larger even though we're pretty much buying the same amount of food. Politicians philander to all types of demographic groups but apparently the CF don't count! Doesn't that warm the cockles of your heart? *sarcasm*

Childfreeeee said...


Thanks for the "gift"!!!

Childfreeeee said...


I feel your pain, sister.

Stepher said...

Yes, yes, yes!

Presumptuous, indeed.

She may have created a new spot on the Breeder BINGO card w/that one.

Who knows how her children will turn out?

That comment smacks of the "You won't have anyone to take care of you when you're older" BINGO. As if people can see into the future to know for a FACT that their children will be there to "take care of them."

Stella said...

Thank you for saying this.

I love Michelle Obama, but feel disappointed and saddened that she has to wear the Mommy-in-Chief costume. She's a Harvard-trained lawyer, for godsakes. It's so depressing.

Ozjeppe said...

Yep, you've hit another nail that bugs me. That neverending taking-for-granted attitude that everyone is gonna have kids in the future. And along with that economics/recession sad tune they play: "in these tough times, pity the parent/kid-family especially". No siree, not from me, not more than any other societal constellation!