Ethics Hero: Michelle Obama

Like it or not, Michelle Obama has established herself as a cultural role model, and millions of American respect her statements and opinions and take them to heart. As clearly contrary to reality as  her now-famous “When the go low, we go high” remark was—its is difficult to remember the last time the Democratic leadership “went high”—the statement would have been an ethical one if it were true, and was still arguably aspirational, unless regards it as cynical public deception.

(Which, I confess, I have…)

This week, as important voices in her party increasingly courted hate, anger and violence among members of the public in the wake of Operation Smear Kavanaugh failing so spectacularly, the former First Lady refused to encourage the mob, and told the Today Show,

“Fear is not … a proper motivator. Hope wins out, and if you think about how you want your kids to be raised, how you want them to think about life and their opportunities, do you want them afraid of their neighbors? Do you want them angry? Do you want them vengeful?…Which motto do you want them to live by? And I have to think about that as a mother.”

Coming so soon after Eric Holder used the image of physically assaulting Republicans while explicitly rejecting Michelle’s “go high” statement,  and on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s even more direct statement that Democrats should not be civil until they have regained power, this qualified as a pointed rejection of the party’s current ugly and divisive posture.  She is one of the very few progressives with the influence and high position on the cognitive dissonance scale to have a chance to halt and even reverse the dangerous course her party’s leaders have pursued for two years. All Americans should hope that her approach wins out, because it is the only ethical course.

There is plenty of cynicism and hate to go around among the targets of Holder and Clinton’s incitements. Conservative blogger Ed Driscoll, among others, refuses to believe that Michelle is sincere, writing that she is playing “good cop.” Another prominent blogger, Allahpundit, wrote,

I don’t think Obama’s advice is really intended to be taken seriously, though. Her niche in the party at this point, and in American culture more broadly, is “role model.” Urging people not to stoop to fearmongering is precisely the sort of moral encouragement you’d want to hear from a role model, and precisely the sort of thing most of us discard instantly once real money or power is on the line. Dems will applaud her for this, and they’ll be back to demanding an uprising against Republican monsters tomorrow.

If society is at the point that a clear statement of ethical values like hers is taken that way, we are really looking into the abyss.

Incidentally, why hasn’t her husband endorsed his wife’s sentiment?

____________________

Pointer: Robert Broyles

24 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Leadership, Quotes, U.S. Society

24 responses to “Ethics Hero: Michelle Obama

  1. JutGory

    Jack: Incidentally, why hasn’t her husband endorsed his wife’s sentiment?”

    I am just happy he is saying nothing, which is what he should have been doing?

    But, yes, it is too bad that her words are not simply taken at face value, especially considering she is right. It is sad that it seems everything is analyzed for ulterior motives, political impact, or psychological maneuvering. This is done too often by the left, with their laundry list of dog whistles. This should not be the norm. Sometimes, people say what they actually think and, even if you don’t like them (I have no fondness for Michelle Obama), they just might say something you agree with. (Hopefully, that statement did not induce and head explosions.)

    -Jut

  2. Did you notice that the major news networks must not think that Michelle Obama’s words are not news worthy or not prominent enough for front page space on their websites?

  3. I agree that these words from Michelle Obama rise to ethics hero status.

  4. Seeing her gives a better context:

    • That video is just another that confirms my opinion of what I generally think of Michelle Obama the person, she’s comes across as being a genuinely concerned parent and human being that worries about the core character and future of our youth and knows how they are our future and how we set an example will stick with them throughout their lives.

      Many, many years ago that’s what I thought about a lot of Liberals but so many Liberals have allowed that part of them to be stripped away and replaced with the shit we see today.

      No matter what you personally think of Michelle Obama she is a true ethics hero for putting herself in the public eye and saying what she said in the way she said it. Too bad she is being drowned out by Progressives and social justice warrior cults propaganda bull shit.

      IDEA: I’d like to see previous First Lady’s Laura Bush and Michelle Obama (yes publicly snubbing Hillary Clinton) go on a nationwide speaking tour together to promote political civility (stay away from all political topics except civility) and publicly stomp down all the propaganda attack crap. They could promote it as a tour to raise money and blood drive for the Red Cross. Something like this is really needed in the USA these days.

      • That comment was not directed at anyone in particular it was a very general use of the word “you”.

      • That video is just another that confirms my opinion of what I generally think of Michelle Obama the person, she’s comes across as being a genuinely concerned parent and human being that worries about the core character and future of our youth and knows how they are our future and how we set an example will stick with them throughout their lives.

        My view is that everything hinges on interpretation. How should one interpret Mrs. Obama’s appearance at a Girl’s Power Rally which, if looked at in a certain way, takes on that Maoist propaganda and Maoist social activism aura. Looking at the surface, and responding as we are trained to respond, nothing might seem out of order. But a deeper look, I think, reveals just one more manifestation of Marxist-inspired social activism. The entire idea of ’empowerment of girls’ is a questionable idea. This ’empowerment’ often really means ‘rebellion’, and the manifestations of a general rebellion surround us now. It can be looked at critically. It can be seen within the context of a post-Sixties social activism with links to revolutionary/rebellious political feminism. Then, with that interpretive schema in place, one can turn to address Mrs. Obama’s presence there. The wife of an Alinsky-trained political organizer (to throw in a somewhat loaded phrase which is yet true). These people are operatives.

        What seems a spontaneous appearance, and a spontaneous event, is simply not so. These are *produced media events* and they had designers and managers who pitched the idea, scripted them (even if generally), and presented them within a frame of intention. In her performance — and this is what it was — she plays a role and it is that of a certain *image-management* which has also been produced.

        I find this almost unbelievably incredible. Again, you have to take some steps backward in order to find a place from which to *see* it and, as I say, interpret it. In my view it is extremely sophisticated PR that had been created by experts in their art. It cloys, it tricks, and it also deceives. But yet the people who *love* it desire their deception. They participate in it like the Maoist mobs. It’s right and good.

        If you consider that at around minute 12 of the above-video there appears some rapper in the back seat, and if you consider the deleterious effect of this astoundingly horrid and vile *music*, and that here it is celebrated and indeed the first lady of the United States is shown as under its (wicked) spell; and then if you turn around and reexamine your observation:

        …a genuinely concerned parent and human being that worries about the core character and future of our youth and knows how they are our future and how we set an example will stick with them throughout their lives.

        This is a good example for ‘our youth’? You use the general, democratic and Maoist *we* without understanding its full implications. True, to speak about implications and ramifications involves all manner of different interpretations, and my interpretations generally run counter-currents to The Present (and I get into trouble for this), but I regard this entire production as VILE. This shows levels of corruption, willed by underclasses, that have shown what it means when their emotions penetrate into the higher levels. It is simply unreal. To critique *all this* is to critique what is going on in America generally. It is a long, involved conversation. It involves an entire interpretive effort and a very demanding one.

        IDEA: I’d like to see previous First Lady’s Laura Bush and Michelle Obama (yes publicly snubbing Hillary Clinton) go on a nationwide speaking tour together to promote political civility (stay away from all political topics except civility) and publicly stomp down all the propaganda attack crap. They could promote it as a tour to raise money and blood drive for the Red Cross. Something like this is really needed in the USA these days.

        One of the things that always strikes me about you (forgive me Zoltar, but I always say what I think!) is how self-suckered you are. One of your favorite videos was The Wave, which parodies, superficially, a Maoist social-pressure social-engineering school-setting. You presented this as an alarm: “See this, pay attention to it, here there is a danger!” And yet you, like millions, are trapped within a PR Construct which is entirely, not partially, performed strictly for political-manipulation purposes. Now, you are requesting a performance, requesting that some Producer design it, script it, and pitch it for manufacture. To make a point I have to risk offending you.

        ‘All the propaganda attack crap’ is the sort of statement that the various Powers that direct the present charades is now resorting to. It denies that right now there are important battles going on. Not meaningless battles. But real political and social struggles with implications for the present and also — as you profess to have concern for — the future.

        To get clear about what those battles are, and what their implications are, is an interpretive project. If one only looks at and reacts to the surface image passing across the TeleScreen . . . one misses what is really going on.

        • Missy Elliott sings:

          “This is for my ladies, like soldiers we stand up
          Remember when 2Pac told us keep our head up?
          And even when the times get rough we get up
          Treat your life like a stage, you go ‘head and tear it up
          Pass the mic, pass the mic, ladies come through
          Don’t ever, ever let ’em try to stop or try to block you
          You better tell ’em you something better than any other
          You’ll never settle, you’re next level, yeah, you’re making moves
          Woo, put your hands up high
          This is you and I, Team Y
          Yo, yo, this is how it go, woo
          This is for my girls all around the world
          Stand up, put your head up
          Don’t take nothing from nobody
          This is for my girls stand up and be heard
          This is for my ladies, my sisters, all over
          This is for my girls
          This is for my girls all around the world
          Stand up, put your head up
          Don’t take nothing from nobody
          This is for my girls stand up and be heard
          This is for my ladies, my sisters, all over
          This is for my girls

        • Holy shit Alizia, your cosmic puzzles about what I wrote really aren’t conducive to further the conversation, I’m not biting.

          Can’t some things in life just be simple and to the point?

          • As you could guess I am not too concerned about *you* and a conversation with *you*. The issues are far larger. And they can only be approached from some distance and dispassionately.

            Can’t some things in life just be simple and to the point?

            That is a good question I guess. But your question is rhetorical and tentative. You are really making a statement. A desire that things be that way? A lamentation that they are not?

            And they are not. That would be my answer. There is nothing simple about what is going on in our present.

            Again, it all hinges on interpretation.

          • PS: My Dear Zoltar. I am a deliberately polemicalwriter. It would help if you understood this. I think you have perceived this tendency (this choice) as ‘trolling’. I seek idea-battles in the larger ‘the Culture Wars’.

            In fact, I have been getting clear about my role and, if you will, my *purpose* as a result of my time here on EA.

  5. E2

    I see no reason to believe that Michelle Obama’s comments should not be taken at face value. What does she have to gain — going against her own husband, Holder, Hillary and all the other “resistors — except her own self-respect? She chose the ethical course, and putting it in terms of teaching her own children made it more than politics, it made it very personal, as it should also be.

    Especially for all the resistors who by their actions are raising their own kids to be mean little totalitarians trained to hate everyone who disagrees with them. When does bullying start? We know the answer to that.

    Kudos to Michelle Obama; and a pox on those who now demean her for straying from the party line or don’t cover her statements because they just don’t like ’em. Holder is newsworthy, but the former First Lady is not? Res ipsa loquitor.

  6. Sarah B.

    I will admit (bias may be making me stupid) that my first instinct is to distrust Mrs. Obama’s motivations. Her words are excellent and I hope we can follow them on both sides of the aisle, just like we should all follow “If they go low, we go high.” However, given how many on the left are claiming that the right is causing fear, how many of us are angry and vengeful, I have trouble seeing this as anything other than cynical public deception. While I hope I’m being an idiot, I see too much “rules for thee but not for me” coming out of my lefty friends right now to believe that this is meant honestly. Too much of what I see indicates that Mrs. Obama very well could be telling off the right, instead of asking the left to get the freak out under control. I certainly feel that her statement should be something we all strive towards and I hope I start seeing this more from all of us. Taken solely at face value, this is a great statement and worthy of Ethics Hero status. My only concern is whether or not the statement was intended to be taken at face value by half of the nation.

  7. Besides Michelle Obama, there wasn’t a whole lot of media coverage of something Chelsea Cnton* said recently, too – something that certainly seemed sensible, if not ethically heroic. I believe it was something about not harassing families of people like Brett Cavanaugh, but I could be wrong.

    Chelsea has said some other things – none of which I can recall specifically in this moment – that have led me to believe she is as poisoned in her otherwise respectable brain as are her parents in theirs.

    *Bloodline moral luck – I still have to spell the child’s name the same way I spell the parents’ – because, after all, there are no “li”s in them.

  8. Glenn Logan

    Her words are aspirational, and I can’t fault making her an ethics hero, even if I think the bar for that has become pretty low. If a celebrity can just avoid being an ethics corruptor or dunce, it’s truly noteworthy.

    A pity she didn’t seem to have her husbands ear during his tenure. Hard to blame her for that, I guess… she didn’t say all those divisive things.

    Alternatively, this could be just bloviation and is about as sincere as “if you like your doctor, you can keep him.” But it’s fair to give her the benefit of the doubt, I guess.

  9. PennAgain

    Urging people not to stoop to fearmongering is precisely the sort of moral encouragement you’d want to hear from a role model, and precisely the sort of thing most of us discard instantly once real money or power is on the line.

    Happily, we’re not the same as “most of you.”
    ===============================================
    Not to play devil’s advocate, but hasn’t Obama been keeping a pretty low profile all along — as a good ex-president should? I thought that was a good thing. The wives are supposed to speak up with “moral encouragement” for all (though especially for her Party’s benefit, of course).

    Oops, just got a glimpse of Ivana in the role.

    • PennAgain

      egregious errors: Ivanka with a “k.” Melania as de facto eventual ex-First Lady … unless there is a … no, that could never happen.

  10. adimagejim

    My mistrust of her is far overshadowed by the real value of her comments. She is deserving of ethics hero status.

  11. Try as i might, I cannot reconcile Obama’s statements with her other stances in past years:

    “The realities are that, you know, as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station, you know.”

    I would note that this is expressly not true, given his publically funded security. However, if we stipulate that ‘Barack’ is a normal black man, then they have no more chance of being shot that my lily white tuckus.

    “As far as I’m concerned, any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice in a way.”

    Sexist much? Sour grapes for sure.

    “We know that today in America, too many folks are still stopped on the street because of the color of their skin…”

    Bullshit rhetoric, plain and simple. There are NO objective stats to support this.

    “Someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.”

    Marxist boilerplate. I notice that the progressives that spout this line never volunteer to donate some of their pie… It is always someone else.

    “We had a miraculous victory in Iowa. Ain’t no black people in Iowa! Something big, something new is happening. Let’s build the future we all know is possible. Let’s show our kids that America is ready for Barack Obama right now.”

    Racist. Condescending. Pandering use of ‘ain’t.’

    “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn…”

    More racist pap. Wrong in every sense.

    Of course, her ‘We go high…’ was utter propaganda, and a smear on her political enemies. Given the context and the times, I judged it along the same lines of ‘If you like your doctor…’ Just another lie from a progressive radical.

    “…Hope wins out…”
    This little quote, along with the Chelsea Clinton one mentioned up thread, are similar pap, in my opinion. You have to take the speaker in context with other things they have said and done. This is why I posted the above: to show what she really thinks.

    My guess is that both ladies are positioning themselves as ‘moderate’ and reasonable’ should the current Democrat strategy backfire with voters. They would become the ‘reborn’ face of the Democrat party.

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