In her DNC speech, Michelle Obama praised the tireless ethic of her father, standing up in the face of adversity & overcoming obstacles to give his children a chance at life. But does she really understand what her father stood for? And does she realize she’s undermining those very values?
After all the oratory at both political conventions, one line stands out. It was from Michelle Obama, talking about her late father, Fraser Robinson, and his insistence on paying his small portion of her college-tuition bills on time. “You see, for my dad,” she said, “that’s what it meant to be a man.”
In one moving sentence, she opened a vista on a life of self-sacrifice. The narrative arc of her rendition of his life bent upward, and understandably so. He was a working-class father who raised two Princeton University graduates. But she could just as easily have invoked a sense of the country’s loss.
Because we don’t really make Fraser Robinsons anymore. He was a high-school-educated man who married and stayed married, who worked and kept working despite considerable adversity. Whatever his relative lack of education and skills, he was a hero of character, shaped by mores that have been eroding for decades.