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3 Important revelations by Barack Obama in ‘A Promised Land’

3 important revelations Barack Obama makes about his relationship with Michelle in the Grammy nominated audiobook 'A Promised Land'

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44th US President and also a two-time ‘Spoken Word’ Grammy award winner Barack Obama has been nominated for his audiobook ‘A Promised Land’ for the third time. This riveting, highly anticipated first volume of the Presidential memoirs, available on Audible.in, takes you on a compelling story of Barack Obama’s improbable odyssey from a young man, searching for his identity to leader of the free world. It also shares rare and intimate insight about his relationship with former first lady Michelle Obama and the toll his career took on their marriage.

The Obamas’ marriage was continually strained by his political ambition

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Barack Obama describes how his political career put a strain on his marriage to Michelle Obama years before he went to Washington D.C. He adds that while he was a state senator in Illinois, the two “began arguing more, usually late at night when the two of us were thoroughly drained.”

When Obama ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004, Michelle told him “This is it, Barack. One last time. But don’t expect me to do any campaigning. In fact, you shouldn’t even count on my vote.” But soon after winning a place in the Senate, when Barack began to explore a presidential run and told Michelle that he would only consider running if she was okay with it, she said “If that’s really true, then the answer is no”.

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After some time passed, they discussed it again. When she asked him why he needed to be president, Obama said if it happened “the world will start looking at America differently. I know that kids all around this country – Black kids, Hispanic kids, kids who don’t fit in – they’ll see themselves differently, too, their horizons lifted, their possibilities expanded. And that alone … that would be worth it.” His response worked wonders. “Well, honey” she told him. “That was a pretty good answer.”

Michelle Obama understood that there were an extra set of stereotypes applied to Black women alongside the straitjacket that American political wives were supposed to stay in

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Barack Obama describes Michelle as a contrary person to what the media had defined her. “I didn’t know anyone more mainstream than Michelle, whose favourite meal was burger and fries and who relished any chance to pass a Saturday afternoon shopping at the mall. And yet, according to some commentators, Michelle was… different and not First Lady material. She seemed ‘quite angry’ they said. One Fox news segment described her as, ‘Obama’s baby mama.’

While this sort of commentary was infrequent and some members on the staff considered it the usual nastiness of campaigns, that’s not how Michelle experienced it. She understood that alongside the straitjacket that political wives were supposed to stay in (the adoring and compliant helpmeet, charming but not too opinionated) there were an extra set of stereotypes applied to Black women. That they didn’t meet the prescribed standards of femininity, that their butts were too big and their hair too nappy, that they were too loud or hot-tempered toward their men.

Michelle had managed this psychic burden all her life, largely by being meticulous about her appearance. Maintaining control of herself and her environment and preparing assiduously for everything, even as she refused to be cowed into becoming something she wasn’t. That she had emerged whole, with so much grace and dignity, just as so many Black women had succeeded in the face of so many negative messages, was amazing”.

There were low moments in the White House and being married to the president of the United States took a toll on the Obamas’ marriage

Obama says, “Despite Michelle’s success and popularity, I continued to sense an undercurrent of tension in her, subtle but constant, like the faint thrum of a hidden machine” He says “It was as if, confined as we were within the walls of the White House, all her previous sources of frustration became more concentrated, more vivid, whether it was my round the clock absorption with work, or the way politics exposed our family to scrutiny and attacks, or the tendency of even friends and family members to treat her role as secondary in importance.”

Lying next to Michelle in bed, “I’d think about those days when everything between us felt lighter, when her smile was more constant and our love less encumbered, and my heart would suddenly tighten at the thought that those days might not return.”

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