I didn’t actually meet Michelle Obama. But it sure felt like I did. Because her warmth and passion fill any room she’s in. And I was lucky enough to be in the same room with the First Lady.
It was a fundraising event in Detroit for President Obama’s 2012 campaign. It was a full house of enthusiastic supporters, and meeting fellow volunteers and citizens who believe in the work President and Mrs. Obama are doing for our country was electrifying.
When the First Lady was introduced, the applause and cheers must have made the ballroom’s chandeliers swing. I don’t know, because I couldn’t take my eyes off Michelle Obama. I felt so proud and grateful to be in her presence.
And then she began to talk about why she was there — why she and President Obama are so committed to the ideal of a country that includes everyone. That offers hope for everyone. That represents the chance for everyone to have an equal opportunity and for everyone to contribute to the common good.
Mrs. Obama emphasized what’s at stake in the 2012 election: A choice between two very different visions of what America is and can be. Contrasting visions of who we are and who we want to be as a country.
Like President and Mrs. Obama, I want our country to be a place where everyone can get a good education, a fulfilling job and affordable healthcare. I want our country to be a place where people are free to love who they love. A place where we’re all in this together.
Michelle Obama even shared a glimpse into her husband’s private side. How he tells her the stories he hears every day, about everyday Americans. Those stories, she said, are what keep him going.
She may be the First Lady, but Michelle Obama told us she’s in this as a citizen who knows we can work together to make this country better. That’s the kind of citizen I want to be, too.
I still hope someday I can shake Michelle Obama’s hand — and perhaps even the President’s — and say how much admiration and gratitude I have for them. Until then, I’m inspired by knowing I have something in common with our President and First Lady: I am a citizen whose efforts can make a difference to our country’s future.
Yes, Mrs. Obama, I’m in.