Post by Joseph M -
Bill Clinton spoke truth this evening; the mists of darkness that covered the land have dispersed and scattered, and America's collective memory of last week's confusion and half-truths (and even lies) at the RNC has cleared. Clinton solidly reviewed and dismissed the misinformation from the RNC speakers, and he highlighted Obama's record in so many areas. View the speech or read the transcript, if you have not already. By the way, the pundits keep referring to policy wonk, and they're saying that Clinton's speech was full of it. Can I admit that I am already tired of the word, "wonk?" When Romney or Ryan say wonk or wonky, it seems like a desperate attempt to sound cool, but it's completely uncool instead. However, Bill Clinton took cool into the 21st century: he had swag. Paul Adams tweeted: "Usually they tell you not to cram in too many statistics. Different rules apply to Bill Clinton. He makes them sing."
But beyond the wonk or the wonky, Bill Clinton gave us inspiration like this:
"Now -- but he has -- he has laid the foundations for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it. You will feel it. Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know that I believe it. With all my heart, I believe it."
This doesn't bode well for Romney and Ryan. President Clinton has given President Obama a load of talking points to take to the debates and every campaign rally from here until November. (And FINALLY we even heard about the proposed cuts to Medicaid!) Having watched three days of the RNC, I am surprised by the tepid drone of the Republican speakers compared to what I have seen in just two days of the DNC. (I am biased here?) I don't think so - check out this article from Smart Politics that reports that Michelle Obama's DNC speech was seven grade levels higher than Ann Romney's. This also is fascinating because Michelle Obama's speech was "written at a higher grade level than all but 11 of the 70 orally delivered State of the Union addresses delivered since 1934." Of course, the Democrats have an advantage because their convention was held a week after the RNC, but more than that: they have the lucky benefit that Truth is back in style and trending on Twitter this week.
And we Mormons are taking to the internet, (Twitter and Facebook), our phones, and even to the streets (of Charlotte NC!) to make clear our message: we are Mormons, and we are voting for Barack Obama for a second term. (See our previous post for links to news articles about the Mormon Democrat gathering in Charlotte.) This article from the Las Vegas Sun may have misunderstood a portion of our purpose when it wrote, "having a Mormon candidate at the top of the Republican ticket will only make it that much more difficult for Democrats hoping to win over the Mormon vote this year. But some felt that even if winning over LDS voters was a longshot, the political circumstances make it worth trying."
You see, Mormons have voted for the Republican ticket in high numbers for some time, and having a LDS candidate doesn't necessarily change that. Besides, change, as Bill Clinton aptly pointed out tonight, is a "long, hard road," and each of us will find our own way. (I haven't always voted Democrat, and neither have many Mormon Obama supporters.) So our goals are beyond convincing other Mormons to vote for Obama - (seriously now) - but we aim to add our unique voices to the wealth of diversity of those supporting President Obama; we understand that we are breaking from the expected, the norm, or even the stereotype. However, this also is part of why we hope to make ourselves heard - and to find strength from one another, because we are "all in this together," and we are not "on (our) own."
With so many reasons to vote for Obama this November, (and thank you Pres. Clinton for spelling it out so clearly,) we Mormons also feel to press forward and do what we can to get him that second term. In this regard, Bill Clinton asked this question during his address: "Are you willing to work for it?" We answer with the delegates at the Charlotte convention: "Four more years!"
Read Hannah's post here to find out how you can get involved.
Lauara Club Fancy wrote about the White House garden, and now we should all go to our favorite independent book store to get a copy of the book that details the garden further. (My favorite Seattle indy bookstores are: Elliott Bay Books and Third Place Books)
Michelle Obama's new book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, is both a book full of pictures of the White House garden and a book of great recipes that match this ongoing theme. The reviews are plentiful and complimentary, and there are a number of video reports as well, including one on C-SPAN2 / Booktv.org . Even Sasha and Malia weighed in, calling it "a good book." And Alex Klein reveals "12 juicy bits" about the book in his Daily Beast review. Now back to the pictures: they are impressive and colorful, and I cannot look at them without wishing that I could go outside and weed a garden. (I do not have garden...just a handful of house plants in my apartment to remind me of Costa Rica)
The book is apolitical and should please the "typical" Mormon who strives to build up our food storage by gardening, canning fruit, making homemade jams and (of course, Jell-O).
Finally, I want to thank my own amazing mother who grew up on a hard-working family farm on the other side of the mountains from Seattle. She raised me to appreciate farm life - while living in the suburbs and taking me on big city adventures during my childhood. So of course, she spoiled me with my very own copy of Michelle Obama's book, and in return I plan to make a few of the recipes for her...and hopefully warm her up to the Obamas one delicious recipe at a time.
As I anxiously look forward to the delivery of our first summer CSA box this week, I can’t help but think about how inspirational Michelle Obama has been promoting healthy food and living. One aspect of her dedication to health that I’d like to highlight in this post has been the White House Kitchen Garden.
In addition to it just being really cool that there the White House now grows its own food and donates most of it to charity, Michelle Obama uses it as an outreach opportunity to inner city elementary school kids. She worked with local elementary school kids to plant the food garden in March 2009. Urban-living children are invited to the White House each year to plant and harvest the vegetables as a way to learn and get excited about fresh, healthy, local food.
Just a little bit about the garden. The White House Kitchen Garden is 1,500 square feet, and produced over a ton of food in the first two years. The garden is completely organic. It includes special vegetables planted from seeds from Thomas Jefferson’s Montecello. The last time there was a food garden on the White House grounds was the Victory Garden, which was established by Eleanor Roosevelt during World War II. It started a trend and by the end of the war more than 20 million home gardens were supplying 40% of the produce consumed in America. You can watch more about the White House Kitchen Garden here you can also tour the garden.
During last year’s planting season, Michelle Obama went through the different vegetables that they were planting that day like swiss chard, leeks, and beets, and said, “uh-oh, the President doesn’t like beets. But it’s okay. We’re an equal opportunity garden.” Many of the kids had never eaten swiss chard or leeks before. Her reply was, “So that’s going to be the fun part, is trying some new things.”
In 2008, Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and In Defense of Food, wrote a letter to President Elect, which was published in the New York Times, called Farmer In Chief.
In his letter, Pollan discusses that whoever the future president is, the focus should be on reforming food in the US. It’s a great article. He recommended all sort of things to the future president, like food stamp debit cards should double in value when swiped at a farmer’s market, creating a federal definition of “Food”, and that WIC should be expanded to include food vouchers to farmer’s markets.
Included in his recommendations was the suggestion to begin a White House food garden. “I don’t need to tell you that ripping out even a section of the White House lawn will be controversial: Americans love their lawns, and the South Lawn is one of the most beautiful in the country. But imagine all the energy, water and petrochemicals it takes to make it that way. (Even for the purposes of this memo, the White House would not disclose its lawn-care regimen.) Yet as deeply as Americans feel about their lawns, the agrarian ideal runs deeper still, and making this particular plot of American land productive, especially if the First Family gets out there and pulls weeds now and again, will provide an image even more stirring than that of a pretty lawn: the image of stewardship of the land, of self-reliance and of making the most of local sunlight to feed one’s family and community.”
Wow. Stewardship, self-reliance, with a focus on family and community is what Michelle Obama is bringing to the White House through this garden and her incredible example.
From Michelle Obama in her speech at the Democratic National Convention:
"And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us--no matter what our age or background or walk of life--each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation."
I’m a Mormon for Michelle Obama.