Tuesday, Dec 12th

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The People's First Lady in the 21st Century

Michelle

In a famous cartoon from the early 20th century era, a coal miner looks up from his tedious work to cry out, "For gosh sakes, here comes Mrs. Roosevelt." Because she was so often seen out amongst the people, Eleanor Roosevelt, was known as "The People's First Lady."

Michelle Obama's community building efforts echo the ethics of Eleanor Roosevelt, as she continues to make her mark as the The People's First lady in the 21st Century.

The current President and his First Lady face many of the same obstacles as their predecessors, in a bleakly depressed society in need of socioeconomic reform. A similar op-ad could be scripted for Michelle Obama's "21st Century People's First Lady" featuring a harried discount chain associate looking up from her work to exclaim, "What the--? Here comes Michelle Obama!" Eleanor, like Michelle, was an advocate for African Americans, women and children. She famously preached, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Beautiful and poised, elegant and sure, Mrs. Obama embodies every woman who refuses to feel inferior because of her gender, her skin color, her height or girth, or her presumed position in life. Michelle Obama is quoted as having said that she is an "example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity." Michelle Obama is Jacquelyn Kennedy with the veil peeled back; it's hard to imagine the former allowing her husband's indiscretions with tragic starlets. After all, she's southside.

She moves seamlessly from doing the "Dougie" with a group of D.C. high school students, as part of her health-conscious Let's Move program, to effortlessly donning a Naeem Khan strapless gown at the recent White House Correspondent's dinner, to cheering the US teams in the Olympics with a singular charm and simple elegance that commands attention and respect. As we watch, our eyes, and the camera's, return to her repeatedly.

Mrs. Obama practices the healthy lifestyle she preaches while maintaining natural curves. She's well read and rounded, earning degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law School, building an illustrious and successful career, engaging in impressive humanitarian endeavor; she's the first African-American First Lady in America's history, an exemplary role model, and a fashion icon to boot. Alongside her husband and extended family, she's raising socially-conscious, fair-minded daughters, sustaining a marriage to a powerful, attractive man, and supporting her husband while building and maintaining her own unique and successful brand.

"And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us--no matter what our age or background or walk of life--each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation." – Michelle Obama

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll finds Michelle Obama one of the most popular political figures of any gender or party in the nation, with 69% of Americans having a favorable opinion of her. CNN reports a 71% favorability rating for Michelle Obama, a "rating [that] far exceeds that of her husband."

The President has been called an elitist, a terrorist, and even a liar while addressing a joint session of Congress—an unprecedented paroxysm at which his self-possessed First Lady shook her head in obvious dismay. President Obama's political base wavers as much as his ill-reputed resolve. He has been criticized by long-time Democrats and African-American leaders such as Rev. Reggie Jackson and Dr. Cornel West while, according to the Huffington Post, the First Lady's favorability rating is 13 points higher than her husband's. She also scores higher than Mitt and Ann Romney, as well as, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose favorability is consistently high.

So while Marine Sergeant Gary Stein recently used social media to make insubordinate statements about his Commander-in-Chief, America's "Mom-in-Chief" remains steady at the helm, faring well in every squall. In the arch of her brow and the set of her eyes, one can read the steely determination and the courage of her foremothers. In the slant of her cheekbones, we remember a mother, a wife, and a sister.

MIchelle Obama is reach out and touchable. She makes us proud to be American, inspiring us to be more aware of our country's capacity for greatness. She's the People's First Lady for a new millennium. Leading by example, Michelle Obama makes us believe that, yes, we can.


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