Dear First Lady Michelle Obama

Just before Christmas in December 2006, I reached out to you, hoping you would weigh one more thing as you and your husband decided whether or not he should run for President, and I made you a promise.

I was sympathetic to your history changing decision and excited for 8 years of an Obama White house. And I promised you no matter what happened, we Moms would have your back.

So much has happened since I wrote those words that graced my own blog, the Huffington Post, and the Chicago Sun-Times. First and foremost let me say how incredibly proud I am of this administration and of you, the most amazing and flawless First Lady our country has ever seen. It may not have been your favorite role, but damn if you didn’t nail it.

You launched programs that changed lives. From eating right and exercising to making sure military families had a helping hand, your legacy will live on well after you and the family have moved out of that big house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

I know things haven’t been easy, and that you have dealt with more…what’s the right word here…bullshit than any other First Family. You just weren’t under the microscope of the public eye, you were under the microscope of being the first in American history and that history weighed on everyone in the West and East Wings.

You raised two daughters who, by all means, seem to be strong, proud, intelligent young women who will no doubt follow in their parents’ foot steps. I watched as my children grew with yours, passed mile stones and sprouted their wings. Just that accomplishment alone would be enough for praise in this day and age, but you managed to do more, be more, and give more.

You opened the White House to so many families, of all colors and religions and sexual orientations like no First Family has ever done before. Some of my favorite moments of this Presidency are of you and your husband welcoming so many regular citizens into the house of the people and simply chatting.

I hope we Moms have been a source of strength for you. Today, as you embark on the inaugural Women’s Summit at the White House I truly hope my words from 2006 pledging us Moms would have your back has been a tiny source of strength. We’ve been beating back the haters online and off, vigilantly defending the good you do and the good you are.

I want to thank you for making that tough decision way back when, and deciding to take the road to the White House. As a nation we are much better to have had you, and as a mother you have given the rest of us a shining example of what can be if we’re willing to take risks.

Congratulations on two successful and inspiring terms and I hope you find solace and peace in your life after the White House…we Moms will always be here when you need us.



Erin Kotecki Vest

A President, Dr. King, and My High School: Forward

Long ago, back when microwaves were new and we still used VHS tapes, I spent many long afternoons in the Journalism room at my old high school in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. During one of those late nights when we were rushing to get the school newspaper together (times I still think about and cherish more than any grown woman really should) I wrote an article arguing Martin Luther King Day should be celebrated by my high school.

At the time South Lake High did not recognize the holiday and if you were lucky one of your teachers might make you do a worksheet about Dr. King’s life…but I honestly don’t remember ever even doing that much.

We were a predominantly white school. Detroit was literally across the railroad tracks. You would never have known it was a holiday, or even an important day in history if you walked our halls in late January. Yet all around us Dr. King’s legacy was being honored…but no, not here. It was just another day in privileged suburbia.

My article was printed in the January edition of the Lancer and there were some who just thought I was asking for the day off. Of course had they read the damn thing they would note I advocated there to be LEARNING behind our acknowledgement of the holiday…yes, the angst filled teen in me lives on.


It has been 20 years since I graduated and I’m told there is no school on Monday.

I had to confirm the news with people back home. I’m still not entirely sure I believe it…but there is more. And it is making the inauguration of President Obama and the MLK celebrations that much sweeter.

South Lake will be hosting the annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration with the Youth Diversity Council and the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. My child hood friend and fellow alum Edward Cardenas writes,

The event will honor the work Dr. Martin Luther King with a local flavor including the viewing of a student-produced video and presentation of a community quilt. The quilt, was the idea of South Lake Principal Carmen Kennedy, who is also the event’s keynote speaker.

Twenty years and I am finally seeing an amazing change. The celebration of Dr. King’s legacy at my high school…where what once was our all white and privileged hallways didn’t bat an eyelash as his birthday passed. A Youth Diversity Council! Just learning of this (which I understand has been going on for a while now) had me grinning ear to ear.

Yes, the demographics have changed as have the times but we have moved forward. And we continue to move forward as a nation. I’m not sure if the President knew just how appropriate that slogan was when he and his campaign asked the people for a second term.

That, just like my old high school, our nation must move forward and we must finish what we started.

FORWARD, hope, change…those were just a few of the reasons my children and I attended the Democratic National Convention to see the President speak and accept his party’s, OUR party’s, nomination for a second term.

DNC 2012

So as the nation watches the President take the oath of office, I will be thinking of how much has changed since those days twenty years ago. And sadly, how much has not changed.

I will savor the good that has come of President Obama’s first term and prepare for the hard work that must continue in his second. I will think of the articles my children may write in high school, and how they will differ from my own in the hopes their battles are somehow not as profound, not as landmark. Yet I know each generation will have their challenges. Although that is almost the beauty of all of this really as we watch history unfold.

With the change we have already seen, and the hope of four more years…I have no doubt we will continue to move forward.


The Death of Osama bin Laden

But Mom…how do people get evil? Are they always evil? Do they get born evil or does something turn them evil?

Did our soldiers get killed? Why did we kill him? Why did the President have him killed? Why are so many people so happy about killing him?

But why do they hate us so much? Why do we hate them? Why would those men do that? Did they jump out of the planes before they crashed into the buildings? Why would they die too? Why would they do that Mom?

How did we kill him? Why would they make jokes about shooting him in his eyes? Are they yelling U-S-A U-S-A because we won?

Mom, does this mean the wars are over now?

I’m Headed To DC

crossposted at

A week from today Barack Obama will make history and BlogHer will be there.

I’m headed to DC to give BlogHer’s a look at what is going on in and around the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States.

As a democrat I am thrilled, but as a women I must admit I’m over the moon. Working with both campaigns throughout the election I gained some insight into our President-elect that I believe makes the new Ms. magazine cover true:

New Ms. magazine cover

An Obama campaign staffer shared with me a very telling tidbit one day long ago during the election. I was pushing staff to get me an interview with Michelle Obama, I wanted to discuss women’s issues. I wanted to discuss motherhood and working, balance, family leave, Roe, affordable daycare…all those things women tend to deal with.

Of course I assumed Michelle was a perfect fit for this interview, seeing as she has dealt with all these issues on a personal basis and on a practical basis with her husband dealing directly in policy. A natural fit for Michelle to talk to BlogHer…made sense.

But what I got back from the staffer was something I wasn’t expecting. To paraphrase, I was told Michelle did not want to be the face of “Women for Obama” or it’s spokeswoman….why? Because her husband was just a big a feminist as she was, and just as involved in the day to day struggles as she was, and HE should champion these causes as the man running for office, while she did her part as well.

It seems Michelle firmly believed she was not alone in her balance and family issues and entirely believed her husband understood and was on top of it. He needed to be a feminist and should be one.

Of course it was then BlogHer got it’s interview, not with the First Lady to be, but with our President-Elect.

As Eleanor Smeal writes,

“…he ran on the strongest platform for women’s rights of any major party in American history. Feminist Karen Kornbluh, the platform’s principle author, ensured women’s rights, opportunities, advancement, and issues were addressed throughout the historic document.”

And with women in mind, I head to DC.

While in there I plan on attending as many women focused events as I can muster and bring you reaction, feelings, and expectations. I’ll be talking to women at the Emily’s List luncheon on Sunday, January 18th. I’ll sit down with Progressive women at the NetRoots Nation party on Monday, January 19th, and I’ll bring you this BlogHer’s reaction from Capitol Hill on Tuesday, January 20th as Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

There are events all over to celebrate this historic event from a day of service as described by Michelle Obama

to “un”official concerts, parties, and neighborhood balls.

Join me here at BlogHer as I report back on everything I see and hear. I’ll take on those crowds and broadcast live when possible. I’ll blog with YOU in mind and with women at the center of one of the most historic events in our lifetime.

Because 2008 was just…too much

I keep writing and deleting.

I sum up 2008 and then I realize I’ve forgotten something and I start over.

Because I just can’t seem to put into words what 2008 was for me…I’ll will let the videos speak for themselves:

I started the year with Super Tuesday and sitting down with Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

The spring brought me the interview of a lifetime.

And then it was on to both conventions. First the DNC in Denver:

And then the RNC in St. Paul

I was lucky enough to make appearances on CNN and speak with about a gazillion other media outlets.

I also sat on some great panels with some AMAZING women

Yes, 2008 has been a hell of a year. Here’s to 2009 and much more to come.

What The ‘Left’ Has To Be Thankful For

It’s true. President-elect Barack Obama really DOES bring people together and can heal this nation.

How do I know? Because sitting down to write my ‘What the Left has to be Thankful for’ holiday post, I realized fellow BlogHer Contributor EM Zanotti and I agree on a very serious political issue. ONLY Obama has the power to pull something like that off. Only our Commander-in-Chief can bring the Right and Left sides of BlogHer together to give thanks.

What is it we agree and are giving thanks for?

Naked Soccer players.

Don’t look at me like that. As it turns out both the wonderful and fabulous American Princess and Queen of Spain agree the big bank bailouts suck and the only redeeming quality is the chance it will bring us one step closer to Naked Soccer players.

It’s a Thanksgiving miracle.

So aside from the obvious, what does the ‘Left’ have to be thankful for in the Year of Our Lord Obama 2008?


I am thankful the primaries saw that long-time feminist (eye roll) Rudy Guiliani get his ass handed to him.

I am thankful we only had to endure Mike Huckabee’s ‘folksy’ talks for a handful of months.

I am thankful just the act of Senators Clinton and Obama and Governor Palin running brought race and gender discussions to the forefront of our national conversation.

I am thankful the President-elect’s cabinet is shaping up with many women I admire.

I am thankful organizations like the White House project and WomenCount continue to push female candidates.

But you know what I am most thankful for?

I’m thankful BlogHer had a strong voice in shaping this country’s path. By featuring posts from our future First Lady, to Carly Fiorina, to enabling other women to VOTE, to inspiring nonPolitical bloggers to speak their minds, THIS community directly affected the election.

Alright maybe that’s not the most ‘left’ leaning thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. But perhaps that’s how we move forward.

Attempting to find ways to agree with each other and get away from ‘left,’ ‘right,’ or ‘fringe, extreme party whacko.’ Attempting to take what we have learned after months upon months of arguing and fighting and deleting nasty comments and posting nasty comments and sincerely wondering if others in your sacred BlogHer community were entirely insane.

I am thankful we’re all still here. And we’re all still standing.

I am also thankful my conservative sisters haven’t turned away, but instead have continued the dialogue.

Sure that’s easy to say from the chick who’s candidate won. But if EM and I can agree on naked soccer players, who knows what might be possible.

Heck, I bet you most of us can even agree we’re thankful to NOT be one of Sarah Palin’s ‘pardoned’ turkeys… tee hee hee.

Crossposted at BlogHer

Created Not By One, But By Many

Crayons and words, cluttered and cursing

From passion to possible

Buzz and blogs, moms and movements

From hope to history

A leader had the audacity to challenge

A people accept and create change

I believe like my children believe for the first time since I was a child



Created not by one, but by many

I have very few words right now

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