Michelle Obama was the guest speaker in the NAACP National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. She started her speech by remembering the reason for the creation of the NAACP. She said that the NAACP was created in pursuit of the ideals of the nation’s founding fathers.
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She added that the main goal was to secure the blessings of liberty and to bring about the fulfillment of the promise of equality (Obama 1). It was merely her introductory remarks. She went on to tackle an issue that seems to have no direct bearing regarding the issue of liberty and equality. She talked about obesity.
She talked about obesity because she is familiar with the topic. It can be argued that she was not equipped to talk about complicated issues like equality and liberty in the context of popular American culture. She was in her comfort zone when she talked about planting a garden in the South Lawn of the White House.
She was in her comfort zone when she talked about the lack of access to fresh produce. She pointed out the reason why most people are unable to buy fruits and vegetables. She said that there are many communities across American wherein people have to walk long distances or commute long distances in order to purchase fruits and vegetables.
It was heartwarming to talk about those things. However, it seems inappropriate considering the fact that the NAACP is an icon of African American struggle for liberty and equality. In addition, it was not an ordinary gathering. She was invited to speak in the 101st NAACP Convention.
The importance of talking about the American Dream and the ideals of liberty and equality is not due to the need to sound intellectual. She should have discussed the ideals of the American Dream because it is the solution to some of the problems that she discussed in her speech.
She talked about the lack of awareness regarding obesity-related conditions. She highlighted the problem regarding the deficiency of information dissemination programs regarding healthy habits. The reason why there is little awareness regarding these issues among African American families is due to the fact that African American children and African American youth are struggling to get a decent education.
The First Lady should have discussed the ideals of the American Dream because of the lack of vision regarding their importance is the reason why crime rates are high in certain neighborhoods. This is the reason why there are no groceries to supply fresh fruits and vegetables.
The NAACP should have invited Cal Thomas. He was the author of the article entitled: “Is the American Dream Over?” Cal Thomas did not only discuss the importance of the American Dream; he defended it (1). He clarified the reason for the slow demise of the American Dream. He blamed high taxes, government overspending, and overregulation (Thomas 1). He said that these problems resulted in the erosion of self-reliance, individual initiative, and personal accountability (Thomas 1).
He lamented the fact that the ideals of the American Dream are no longer supported by popular culture (Thomas 1). The best evidence of that was the First Lady’s speech. He said that even though no one wants to talk about the American Dream, it does not mean that the ideas behind it are ineffective. He said that there are certain rules to follow. He listed the following rules: 1) study hard; 2) earn at least an undergraduate degree; 3) avoid drugs; 4) get married before having children; 5) work hard to stay married; 6) create an example for children to follow; 6) invest for retirement in order not to overburden taxpayers; 7) do not overspend; and 8) be honest (Thomas 1).
The NAACP would have learned so much more if they invited Cal Thomas. However, they were pleased with the fact that Obama was there to honor them with her presence. As a result, they received a speech about the health problems of the country. These are merely symptoms of an underlying sickness.
Since Obama was only able to talk about superficial issues in the context of the NAACP’s history and achievements, she was unable to provide inspiration to the listeners in the way Martin Luther King, Jr. was able to inspire the parents and grandparents of those who were in attendance. It was an opportunity for her to shine, to talk about the standards required to achieve the American Dream. However, she was content to talk about obesity and fresh vegetables.
The NAACP was established so that African Americans will have the opportunity to experience the American Dream. Michelle Obama would have been in the right place if she decided to talk about the ideals of the American Dream. However, she surprised the crowd by talking about health issues that are important, but not at the same level as liberty and equality. But it is not the same view as the other commentator.
He was correct in his diagnosis that the root cause of the problem is the failure to appreciate the importance of the American Dream. (Thomas 1). By discussing the ideals of the American Dream, African Americans are given hope of a glorious future if they are willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
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They can construct grocery stores and eat fresh fruits and vegetables. But without the guiding light of a vision in their hearts, the grocery stores will shut down because of high crime rates and the absence of paying customers. These are problems that Obama’s speech failed to address.
Obama, Michelle. Remarks by the First Lady to the NAACP National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. The White House. 10 July 2010. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < http://goo.gl/zLjWVP>.
Thomas, Cal. Is the American Dream Over? Townhall.com. 23 Nov. 2010. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < http://goo.gl/NAKzMt>.