Last Updated on July 22, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1316
Control was a concern for Michelle, who was plagued by nightmares about her family’s safety. They’d had to relinquish control of every aspect of their lives. She recognized that Barack would be blamed for many things beyond his control. No one could control the man who shot a semiautomatic weapon at the White House, nor could they control the rumors that Donald Trump, who was considering a presidential run in 2012, perpetuated about Barack.
Michelle visited victims of tragedies, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, frequently accompanied by either Jill Biden or Barack. She was especially moved when visiting military hospitals. Conversations with injured soldiers and their families revealed a resilient pride that Michelle greatly admired.
The nightly routine after dinner was to read the briefs that staff had compiled for the President and the First Lady. Barack also read ten letters from constituents each night. He felt responsible to live up to the oath he had taken as President, and he lost sleep to absorb all the information he needed.
Michelle kept busy, starting mentoring programs for high school girls or holding youth workshops to introduce the arts, but she also made a point to spend time with friends.
One evening, she returned home to find the White House buzzing with activity. Barack was about to speak to the nation about the end of the search for Osama bin Laden. Michelle knew that Barack’s search for bin Laden had been risky, but he had taken this risk to protect the people.
Malia and Sasha accompanied Michelle to South Africa, where they were honored when Nelson Mandela invited them to his home; Michelle humbly reflected on Mandela’s profound impact on South Africa and the world by going to jail rather than turning his back on his morals. He had not seen his children and some of his grandchildren grow up, but he was not resentful. He believed he had done what was necessary for the country.
At the end of 2011, Barack was pressured to create more jobs by Republicans who had voted down previous bills. Most frustrating to Michelle was Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell’s comment that the Republican Party’s most important task was to make sure Barack was “a one-term president.” Nevertheless, Barack remained focused on work, and Michelle campaigned for reelection.
On election night, Michelle was incredibly nervous. She suffered in silence, however, not turning on the news and wanting results to be delivered by someone close to her. Finally, Barack brought news of victory as she was getting ready for the afterparty. Relieved, Michelle was optimistic about the good they could accomplish over the next four years.
She could not have known of the tragedies that would unfold in the next weeks. Children lost their lives to a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. There were no words that could mitigate what had happened, but Barack addressed the nation, attempting to offer some comfort. Not long after, Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed after having been mistaken as a gang member. Michelle was deeply moved by the tragedy and attended the funeral in support of Hadiya’s parents.
Michelle now embarked on a violence prevention campaign. She remained realistic, however, understanding that this was a daunting issue that could not be solved simply or perfectly, but she had to try to make even a tiny difference in people’s lives.
Michelle reflects on Sasha and Malia growing up under the shadow of being different. No other teenagers were followed by a security team, had visitors pass through checkpoints to enter the house, or had their every move could be broadcast to the world. The girls knew that their father’s position placed a great deal of pressure and responsibility on them....
(The entire section contains 1316 words.)
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