Sunday, December 21, 2014

Michelle Obama Is My Cousin

My friend has this saying. If he thinks someone is attempting to get too close too soon, he chortles: "She's trying to be your cousin!" Well, Michelle Obama is my cousin. A proud relation. Not that she needed to try too hard.

Michelle Obama Is My Cousin

Michelle Obama speaks at the Democratic National Convention last night.
Michelle Obama speaks at the Democratic National Convention last night. Getty Images

My friend has this saying. If he thinks someone is attempting to get too close too soon, he chortles: "She's trying to be your cousin!"

Well, Michelle Obama is my cousin. A proud relation. Not that she needed to try too hard.

I didn't need convincing by hearing her deliver a stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention last night. She had me back when she came on the national scene 19 months ago - a God-fearing, educated wife and mother who was tall and chocolate brown to boot. Loved and cherished by two parents who preached the value of a college education and sacrificed so she could get one.

Like many African American women, my connection to her was real and immediate. Because, after all, how many women who look like me have a real shot to become First Lady of the United States of America?

As her mother, Marian Robinson, says, she's fierce.

I would imagine the bond black women feel for Michelle to be not unlike the bond Hillary Clinton's supporters feel for her.

But for those so-called undecideds who still felt squeamish about Michelle's perceived stridency or her lack of patriotism, last night's speech was for them. She talked about the universal things that unite us - commitment to family and community, a desire to make our country better. The hope that someday we can all tell our children and grandchildren  that "this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming,"

And this time turn that the polarizing feeling of otherness that prevents us from doing the bold thing, the different thing, the right thing, into a spirit of unity.

Imagine it. Michelle Obama as First Lady. And maybe even first cousin.

Annette John-Hall Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
Annette John-Hall is a metro columnist for The Inquirer. She was previously a features reporter and columnist focusing on music, film television and pop culture. A native of Berkeley, Calif., she covered professional, college and high school sports at the San Jose Mercury News, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and the Oakland Tribune. Reach Annette at johnhaa@phillynews.com.

Annette John-Hall
Annette John-Hall Inquirer Columnist
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