Sorry, John, but this isn't simply a case of "poison-mean word-twisters." A woman with Michelle Obama's academic resume ought to be a lot more adept at phrasing and a lot quicker with her explanations. I certainly don't believe that Ms. Obama has never before in her adult life been proud of her country. The very idea is silly. However, that particular utterance was a genuine gaffe on her part and she should have owned up to it, and done so immediately. By not doing so, she lobbed a very slow pitch right down the middle of the plate of the people looking for something to hit.
Sorry, John, but this isn't simply a case of "poison-mean word-twisters." A woman with Michelle Obama's academic resume ought to be a lot more adept at phrasing and a lot quicker with her explanations.
So, what? It's okay if people make hateful speculation (or tell outright lies) about her, because what she said could be misinterpreted? I'm sorry, I don't agree. I still blame those who intentionally try to make something out of nothing.
It comes down to this: her words did not force anyone to broadcast poison-mean speculation. It simply gave folks an opening.
They had to choose to use that opening; they had to be ready to take that opening; they had to lack the sense of decency that would have prevented them from pouncing on something like that. And, they had to be the kind of audience that didn't just reject this kind of charge as mean-spirited bullshit.
No, it's not okay to make hateful speculation, and it's never okay to tell lies. But it is okay to ask for clarification, because it is okay to assume that a woman with substantial formal education from such prestigious institutions would choose her words carefully, and it is okay to parse those words just as carefully.
I'm not looking for any opening against her. I wouldn't support candidates like Obama, Clinton, or McCain. However, when I heard those words, my first thought was that it was a remarkably impolitic thing to say. And if an educated person actually says, in clear speech, that this is the first time that she has been proud of her country in her adult life, it's perfectly alright to call her on it and ask if she doesn't regret her phrasing.
Wisely, she has clarified her point since then. She should have done so sooner.
You know what? I've spent way too much of my own adult life feeling not very proud of my country on a whole bunch of counts, including the ways we've dealt with race. Michelle Obama has far more reason to feel that way than I do, and even if she meant for her words to be taken literally, I can't blame her one bit.
That demagogues like Bill O'Reilly - whose words do more to harm the country *every day* than her statement of pride could ever do - choose to attack her on it just tells me we've still got a long way to go. Give me impolitic but sincere any day over phony and manipulative.