Wednesday, January 9, 2019

BECOMING - by Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, Personal Favorite for 2019!





Barack and I got married on a sunny October Saturday in 1992, the two of us standing before more than three hundred of our friends and family at Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side. It was a big wedding, and big was how it needed to be. If we were having the wedding in Chicago, there was no trimming the guest list. My roots went too deep. I had not just cousins but also cousins of cousins, and those cousins of cousins had kids, none of whom I’d ever leave out and all of whom made the day more meaningful and merry...

We were surrounded by love—the eclectic, multicultural Obama kind and the anchoring Robinsons-from-the-South-Side kind, all of it now interwoven visibly, pew to pew, inside the church. I held tightly to Craig’s elbow as he walked me down the aisle. As we reached the front, I caught my mother’s gaze. She was sitting in the first row, looking regal in a floor-length black-and-white sequined dress we’d picked out together, her chin lifted and her eyes proud. We still ached for my father every day, though as he would’ve wanted, we were also continuing on...

Marriage was still more mysterious to him than it was to me, but in the fourteen months we’d been engaged, he’d been nothing but all in. We’d chosen everything about this day carefully. Barack, having initially declared he was not interested in wedding minutiae, had ended up lovingly, assertively—and predictably—inserting his opinion into everything from the flower arrangements to the canap├ęs that would get served at the South Shore Cultural Center in another hour or so. We’d picked our wedding song which Santita would sing...
~~~

There were so many changes coming in Michelle's life, she started to write in a journal, sharing a main concern:

One, I feel very confused about where I want my life to go. What kind of person do I want to be? How do I want to contribute to the world? Two, I am getting very serious in my relationship with Barack and I feel that I need to get a better handle on myself...

...All this inborn confidence was admirable, of course, but honestly, try living with it. For me, coexisting with Barack’s strong sense of purpose—sleeping in the same bed with it, sitting at the breakfast table with it—was something to which I had to adjust, not because he flaunted it, exactly, but because it was so alive. In the presence of his certainty, his notion that he could make some sort of difference in the world, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit lost by comparison. His sense of purpose seemed like an unwitting challenge to my own...
~~~


Becoming

By Michelle Obama


Remember the old classic question: If you had the chance, what famous person would you want, living or dead, to meet and have lunch with... Would you believe, I had never had an answer, until I read Michelle Obama's book, Becoming...

We don't often see an important part of our lives in an open, sharing way. Especially in politics where, in one way or another, good or bad, your life will be spotlighted. Being able to read Michelle's words, as if she was sitting and talking with each of us, is a powerful  message. For the first time, I could imagine, wishing that famous person to meet Michelle Obama. I would have no insecurities about meeting her...because she would already empathize with those feelings and enjoy the opportunity to share how it happened with her and what she did when it happened...

Say, for instance, in her younger years...Her background wasn't much different from so many of us. Sure race was a factor, but children can be mean, no matter what color...and each of us learn how to handle it. Her mantra, her constant question to herself... "Am I good enough?" For surely each of us has asked that question. I found myself, first, liking, and then, admiring, this woman, Michelle. Because, of course, sooner, rather than later, she answered her own question!

Am I good enough? Yes I am.


It's hard to separate Michelle and Barack, as we think of the presidential family which has become, perhaps, the most famous, well-liked, and effective of administrations, even under strange circumstances.

But as we listen to Michelle's inner thoughts, it is quite easy to get to know what she is all about, as herself, not as Barack's wife, or even their children's mother. Because Michelle was already a strong woman, with professional goals and achievements as we read through her life. She had set her goals to help in the world and she went after positions in which she felt she could contribute. Amazing, isn't it, that God put these two people together, who both cared for people so much that they wanted to dedicate their lives...to...us... We who are looking for somebody to help, to be proud of, and to fight for us...

Indeed she was successful in establishing different programs as First Lady which proved valuable to children and the military. But there was an underlying issue that, for me, could not be ignored as just part of her, their story in the White House.
Since stepping reluctantly into public life, I’ve been held up as the most powerful woman in the world and taken down as an “angry black woman.” I’ve wanted to ask my detractors which part of that phrase matters to them the most—is it “angry” or “black” or “woman”? I’ve smiled for photos with people who call my husband horrible names on national television, but still want a framed keepsake for their mantel. I’ve heard about the swampy parts of the internet that question everything about me, right down to whether I’m a woman or a man. A sitting U.S. congressman has made fun of my butt. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been furious. But mostly, I’ve tried to laugh this stuff off.
~~~

It was in 2011 that Donald Trump came into the picture. Not being as involved in following politics before Trump ran for president, I learned much about what was happening during the Obama Administration by the Republicans and I was appalled...

Over the course of the winter of 2011, we’d been hearing news that the reality-show host and New York real-estate developer Donald Trump was beginning to make noise about possibly running for the Republican presidential nomination when Barack came up for reelection in 2012. Mostly, though, it seemed he was just making noise in general, surfacing on cable shows to offer yammering, inexpert critiques of Barack’s foreign policy decisions and openly questioning whether he was an American citizen. The so-called birthers had tried during the previous campaign to feed a conspiracy theory claiming that Barack’s Hawaiian birth certificate was somehow a hoax and that he’d in fact been born in Kenya. Trump was now actively working to revive the argument, making increasingly outlandish claims on television, insisting that the 1961 Honolulu newspaper announcements of Barack’s birth were fraudulent and that none of his kindergarten classmates remembered him. All the while, in their quest for clicks and ratings, news outlets—particularly the more conservative ones—were gleefully pumping oxygen into his groundless claims. The whole thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed...
~~~

As I read this book, adding it to the awareness and knowledge I now had seen over the last two years, I realized that, for many, having selected Obama as president, although by high majority, there were many with racially-based anger and hate that had begun to actually work against Obama's administration, first releasing the stirrings of hate and prejudice that has now become rampant. 

...But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks. I feared the reaction. I was briefed from time to time by the Secret Service on the more serious threats that came in and understood that there were people capable of being stirred. I tried not to worry, but sometimes I couldn’t help it. What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this, I’d never forgive him.
~~~

When I had heard on the news when the book came out that Michelle had said she would never forgive Trump, I was curious to know more, only to discover that Trump had started calling "a base" that would become so strong that it was already causing damage to the Obama Administration and the country.

Three times over the course of the fall of 2011, Barack proposed bills that would create thousands of jobs for Americans, in part by giving states money to hire more teachers and first responders. Three times the Republicans blocked them, never even allowing a vote.
“The single most important thing we want to achieve,” the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, had declared to a reporter a year earlier, laying out his party’s goals, “is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” It was that simple. The Republican Congress was devoted to Barack’s failure above all else. It seemed they weren’t prioritizing the governance of the country or the fact that people needed jobs. Their own power came first. 
I found it demoralizing, infuriating, sometimes crushing. This was politics, yes, but in its most fractious and cynical form, seemingly disconnected from any larger sense of purpose. I felt emotions that perhaps Barack couldn’t afford to feel. He stayed locked in his work, for the most part undaunted, riding out the bumps and compromising where he could, clinging to the sober-minded, someone’s-gotta-take-this-on brand of optimism that had always guided him. He’d been in politics for fifteen years now. I continued to think of him as being like an old copper pot—seasoned by fire, dinged up but still shiny.
~~~

How could politics become so biased, yes, biased, as to place their party above the concerns of the people. I knew that McConnell was evil, as he now stops anything going on to the Senate floor preventing work to stop the horrendous shutdown brought about by Trump. But reading now, I knew that it wasn't just Trump who was at the root of such country-wide turmoil...It was the Republican party, whatever they had become.

Well, the Obamas won two terms and continued trying to do things, only to be stopped. We all know that it was Mitch McConnell who refused to place the supreme court judge onto the floor for vote! I could not believe that all this was happening in America, perhaps because the first Black family had moved into the White House! And yet, all that has happened after the Obamas left office has proven that what concerned Michelle...what made Michelle very afraid for her family...was still going on...but it had spread to hatred toward anybody...that...was...not...white...and...Republican... 

This revelatory book from The First Lady perspective is a must-read. Citizens did rise out during the mid-terms, but McConnell and Trump are still refusing to budge...They will not give up the power they feel they deserve, they own. God Help Us...

This is a must-read recommendation for me...


GABixlerReviews







The Obamas after leaving the White House. Only now is our country seeing what we lost when they left office. Read this book to learn of two of the most caring people we have ever had, trying to help America... And realize that Trump has personally destroyed most of what this administration had achieved for America. Whether you agree or not, no one person should have that power in a democracy!



Hi Everybody! I went further than I normally do for a book review. So I am not going to post it on Amazon, where there are already thousands out there with 5 ranking...

I wanted to show how this book affects all of us, as we find it did Michelle and Barack during their administration. The reality of how some chose to demean this administration and, actually, stop governmental actions frankly blows my mind...and is so disgusting...And yet, it explains a lot about how we got where we are today...Trump and McConnell seem to make a good team...to stop anything that republicans don't want to have happen. This has got to stop, one way or the other. I am asking you to share this review because there will be many who cannot afford to buy the book... It's important to the country, in my opinion. 
Right now, it might seem to some, like the Democrats are stalling...but as we look back, many important actions were stopped by the opposing party in the past. To me, if we allow this bully to act, it will not stop...yet, it is ridiculous to hold government employees hostage by the president. Thanks for listening to my opinion, generated from this fantastic book by a true female role model!


GABixlerReviews

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