It really just occurred to me that Barack Obama still hasn’t delivered a post-presidency book! He’s still working on that sh-t. What in the world has he been doing? Golfing, yachting, playing basketball? Probably. I don’t begrudge Barack and Michelle Obama their peaceful post-presidency lives. They more than earned the right to NOT participate in the political rat infestation of Washington. But of course, tons of professional political operators wish that the Obamas would say or do more during the Trump presidency.
While Barry has been sneaking cigarettes and golfing, Michelle Obama did get her memoir done: Becoming was a HUGE success in 2018-19, selling more than 10 million copies. As part of their Netflix deal, the Obamas also produced a documentary called Becoming, all about Michelle’s book tour and her conversations with young women about her tenure as FLOTUS and the life lessons she’s learned along the way. Here’s the trailer:
This, to me, felt very Oprah-like. I mean that as a compliment, because Oprah is Oprah and it’s very hard to get her sort of aspirational/inspirational vibe complete with legitimate empowerment and that particular kind of New Age-y double-speak. Anyway, to promote this documentary, Michelle chatted with the Daily Beast. There’s one part of this piece that I wanted to discuss:
The remarkable, and some might argue the disappointing, thing about Becoming is that the headlines are few and far between. While Trump is casually referenced from the first minutes and the mood of the country scores the film’s entire conversation, it’s not until roughly two-thirds through the film that she addresses her negative feelings about his 2016 victory directly. Twice, she talks about how painful it is to her that black voters didn’t turn out to vote for Hillary Clinton, calling the decision not to vote more painful to her than those who voted for Trump.
“It takes some energy to go high, and we were exhausted from it. Because when you are the first black anything…,” she said, referencing anecdotes from her Becoming book. “So the day I left the White House and I write about how painful it was to sit on that [inauguration] stage. A lot of our folks didn’t vote. It was almost like a slap in the face.”
“I understand the people who voted for Trump,” she continued. “The people who didn’t vote at all, the young people, the women, that’s when you think, man, people think this is a game. It wasn’t just in this election. Every midterm. Every time Barack didn’t get the Congress he needed, that was because our folks didn’t show up. After all that work, they just couldn’t be bothered to vote at all. That’s my trauma.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely mad at the people who didn’t vote or the people who threw away their votes on idiot third-party candidates like Yo Mama, Harambe and Jill Stein. I’m massively disappointed in ALL of those people, of course I am. But… I also completely blame Trump voters, and I don’t understand why Michelle is giving them such an easy pass, and why she’s refusing to draw the mirror up to THOSE voters. Those Trump voters went in there and decided to knowingly cast their vote to an agent of chaos, to a fascistic narcissist, to a sexual predator, to one of the biggest racists to ever run for president.
I find it weird – and kind of insulting? – that Michelle is focusing on the black people who didn’t vote in the last election. That sh-t doesn’t exist in a vacuum – voter suppression was massive in 2016, and it will be massive in 2020, and suppression efforts usually target the youths and the communities of color.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.