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  • take us to the time when you first met Michelle.

  • Many people associate you with President Barack Obama.

  • But Michelle, in the way was the gateway.

  • She sure was and tell us what you saw in her and I write has been so Michelle Robinson.

  • I know it was a while ago summer of 1991.

  • As a matter of fact, I had worked for the city for four years.

  • I've been promoted to deputy chief of staff from Mayor Daley and I was looking to hire great people and someone sent me her resume and across the top, it said a brilliant young lawyer has no interest in a big law firm would like to explore the public service.

  • So I thought my kind of person s exactly And so I called her and and she came for an interview and she walked in.

  • And even a 27 you know, she's tall.

  • She's strikingly handsome, simply dressed.

  • I remember she had on all black here, pull back just a touch of makeup and she walks in and she looks me right in the eye and shakes my hand and sits down and just like, exuded confidence.

  • I'm like, how did you get so such a young age?

  • But I was nothing like that at 27 and I know she saw her resume on my desk.

  • Never mentioned Princeton undergrad, Harvard Law, Sidley Austin.

  • None of that.

  • You know what she did?

  • She told me her story.

  • And it's a story that we all now know is the quintessential American story growing up on the South Side of Chicago working class family parents who hadn't gone to college but valued education and excellence and giving back and instill those core values in her.

  • And she was searching to see if her education intelligence gifts could be applied and be useful and purposeful in the setting.

  • And I could remember listening to this story, and I opened up and told her things going on in my life and then about off 20 minutes into this interview.

  • All right, we're getting along really well.

  • She starts asking me questions about the job.

  • Keep in mind.

  • I just got my job.

  • I didn't have any answers for her and she was asking me really specific questions as well.

  • This isn't going well, so I blurt out a job offer on the spot.

  • That's one right now, mind you.

  • No authority to give her a job offer.

  • I haven't talked to anybody about it, but I thought, Well, maybe she'll stop asking me questions.

  • If I offer her a job, that's a lot.

  • And so wisely she jim your word and she said, I'll get back to you.

  • And so a few days later, we were talking, and by that time I had cleared the job offer.

  • And, uh, I said, Well, what do you think?

  • And she said, Well, we've got a problem and I said, Well, what's that?

  • I thought we really hit it off so well and he said with my fiancee doesn't think it's such a good idea.

  • And so I said, Well, who's your fiance and why do we care what he thinks?

  • And she chuckled.

  • And she's only while his name is Barack Obama.

  • And he started his career as a community organizer on the south side of Chicago, and he's concerned that I would be going right from the practice of law to private firm into the fire.

  • At least I have the frying pan in the beginning.

  • Under here Washington she'd be going to work for Mayor Daley, and he said, Well, what if I want to come and protest one day and you're the person that comes out of City Hall?

  • And so he said they talked about it and she said, Look, would you have dinner with us and talk it through?

  • And fortunately, I said yes to that dinner and I still remember the two of them and just even they're not even married yet.

  • But they were a partnership, and they're in the years that have gone by since then.

  • Whenever I tell this story, people will say to me, Why did she need to have his approval?

  • I say in response, there wasn't a single decision she that he made in his career where she wasn't sitting right at the table, too.

  • And so it was really more of a reflection of the partnership that they've formed even before they were married.

  • And it was a dinner where we opened up in.

  • In fact, I remember he said to me, So where you from?

  • I said, Chicago to grow up here?

  • Yes.

  • Were you born here?

  • Well, no, I wasn't born here and that he said.

  • Where were you born and I said Shirazi, Ron and he said, Well, that's interesting.

  • Tell me why and I start to tell him just a little bit.

  • And then he says, Well, you know, I lived in Indonesia during my childhood because my mom was working there and he starts to open up about Indonesia, and the next thing you know, I'm telling him all of these things that we're agreeing about how much we've learned from that experience.

  • And I honestly think it's the first time in my adult life my life where I felt somebody else understood me and this rather unusual childhood that I've had, and I realized he'd had 12 That's fantastic.

  • That's fantastic.

  • Now you are the longest standing presidential adviser to anyone.

  • That's true, Let me tell you, I so did not want to leave that when president Mrs Obama left for the inauguration, I am still wandering around that building and at about 11 45 Secret Service was like, Ma'am, you really do have to move.

  • A lot of time is up.

  • Time is up from January 20th to January 20th and people say, Well, how could you stay that line?

  • Wouldn't you burn out.

  • There's no way I knew I had the best job I would ever have.

  • I used to always tease, and my job was much better than his job.

  • Uh, his job was really, really hard, and I was hard, too.

  • But but I just I thought it played to my strengths and I to serve a president who I had known for so long respected so much both e and his one.

  • She did say yes, by the way, and come and work.

  • Yes, it's just so you know, I did win that, that dinner over.

  • I wound them over dinner.

  • But, uh, that and also the time that he came in office where I mean, think back.

  • We were in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

  • We're losing 758 100,000 jobs a month.

  • The banks were on the verge of collapse.

  • The automobile industry was literally in bankruptcy to yours.

  • We had so much going on.

  • And I'm just so incredibly proud of what he accomplished in those eight years.

  • Part of why I was there.

  • I think in addition to my line responsibilities is to be that Touchstone for somebody who he knew shared his values, his core purpose in being there, who shared his ability to kind of ignore the chatter and take the long view and focus on, you know, every single morning, reminding ourselves that we were there in service of you, not his political agenda or his ego or cellphone.

  • Grand eyes mint.

  • And and I think one story I can give you associate it with that is around the affordable care Act.

  • And, you know, there were a lot of people who said to him, Forget about it.

  • It's too hard.

  • The Republicans aren't that into us.

  • They're not supportive of it.

  • Why don't you compromise?

  • And just to health care for Children, why don't you come back and do it in your second term?

  • There are lots of people inside and outside of government who were telling him that we're telling him, Don't do it.

  • And I always felt that if you're there and you have political capital, what's the point in having it if you don't use this for a good purpose?

  • And he felt the exact same way, And so all the times when people were going well maybe we shouldn't do it.

  • I was like No.

  • One.

  • I would just Let's do it.

  • Let's try what what else can happen and the reason why, um, the story I would say Share with you is the ninth of the Affordable Care Act passed.

  • We knew we had the votes because we're from Chicago.

  • We count the votes early and often eso right?

  • Exactly.

  • So I went home to watch the vote on television.

  • Ah, and I use in my pajamas and have my baba bullet popcorn, a little glass of wine.

  • One of the lawyers who have been the person who sent me Michelle Robinson's resumes isn't sure Lived across the hall from me.

  • She was now fast forward, had been the general counsel of the University Chicago Medical Center, so she'd come on board to help with health care.

  • So we're sitting in my apartment together, and Katie Johnson and the president's assistant reaches out, and she said he would like everyone who's worked on the Affordable Care Act to come back to the White House and watch the vote together.

  • So I said, Well, that's really nice, but you know what?

  • In my pajamas, Bold popcorn glass of wine.

  • We're good here.

  • And Katie said room.

  • Perhaps you didn't hear me President.

  • President Obama would like everybody who worked on it to come back to the White House.

  • So this season and I looked at each other and we go back to the White House and we're glad we did.

  • It was so exciting to be with everybody 100 people, from the junior most person on my staff to the vice president of the United States, and afterwards, spontaneously, he says, Come on upstairs to my residence and we'll celebrate.

  • There were 100 people there, and I think the only reason he got away with that is that Mrs Obama was out of town.

  • I could just imagine his code name was renegade, so I could imagine the Secret Service going Renegade plus 100 moving and, you know, pigs in the blanket or any of the freezer finds of champagne.

  • So we have this celebration into the wee hours of the morning.

  • I mean, like, 2 a.m. And, uh, he went around.

  • He thanked every single person one on one, and there was such joy in him.

  • It was an unseasonably warm spring day reminded me a lot of election night in Chicago in Grant Park again, unseasonably warm.

  • And he was so jubilantly happy.

  • And so in the wee hours, after most people left, I sidled up to him and I said, You seem so happy tonight.

  • How do you feel tonight compared to election night?

  • And he said something I'll never forget.

  • He said, No comparison.

  • He said Election Night was simply the means to get to this night.

  • Oh, yeah, exactly.

  • Exactly right.

  • That's what I'm talking about.

  • That's a president who's not in it for himself.

  • He's in it for you.

  • That's fantastic.

  • Fast forward to today.

  • Okay?

  • What's not the same?

  • It is not to say the very least, it's just not the same.

  • It is so not the same.

  • And you've lived your life thinking about people and you serve so many people, whether it was with, um, Mayor Daley, as chief of staff and deputy chief of staff for President Obama.

  • Um, I know you must pull out your hair when you see this.

  • Is there any advice?

  • What strategic mind would you bring to those who are listening to This is to what we could do.

  • That's easy.

  • That's easy.

  • And that is since since the election that well, to begin with, that found its sole question.

  • I didn't see it coming.

  • It's turned out to be far, far worse than I thought it would be.

  • Um, that's kind of the bad part of it.

  • And certainly this administration has dismantled much of the progress we made, and people say, Well, how do you feel?

  • You guys work so hard I said, No, we're fine.

  • You go to service to work hard.

  • That's not That's the contract What?

  • I feel better about other people whose lives are being impacted and whether you know it's the way he's treating members of Congress telling them to go back home when they are home or the Children that the borders that we're seeing who have been separated from their families, or the young dreamers who are worrying about their status or the raid on people where you see the Children whose parents have been swept away with no kind of, uh feeling or empathy towards what we're doing to their lives or people who are gonna be affected by rolling back all these environmental protections and communities of color are the ones that disproportionately have illnesses such as asthma and around environmental challenges.

  • So for all those reasons, it's, um, and not to mention our statue around the world, which is diminished greatly.

  • So that's the bad news.

  • The good news is this.

  • The good news is you and I have had the privilege of traveling this country so much over the last two plus years, and what I have found everywhere is a level of activism and engagement that I have not seen in a while.

  • And I think many of us were kind of lulled into a false sense of security that we're on a good path.

  • It'll keep going, or that maybe the election doesn't matter and our vote doesn't matter.

  • And what difference does it really make?

  • Who's the president of the United States and all those people?

  • They've had a wake up calm, and that is, I wish it hadn't had to come to that.

  • But it does give me a sense of momentum that's building around the country, and people who realize that ordinary people can still do extraordinary things that their voices can make a difference can be heard.

  • And so one of the organizations that I'm involved in now is one that Mrs Obama created last summer.

  • Tell when we all vote and it's nonpartisan.

  • And our theory is this is that our country, our democracy, relies on we, the people, we the people of the people, for the people, by the people.

  • All that people stuff means us.

  • And so we have to get involved in.

  • So what we want to do is really try to change the culture around voting.

  • 43% of eligible voters did not vote in the last presidential election, and the good news is in the midterms we saw an uptick.

  • But for young people, it went from 20% cause they vote to put disproportionately low numbers to 30.

  • So that's a big jump up.

  • But it still means 70% of them did not vote.

  • Even in these times they didn't vote, Um, and part of the uptick.

  • His response is due to the enormous efforts of those young folks from Parkland traveled the country last summer, registering young people devote.

  • And so we want to really enlist you Exactly.

  • I hear them clapping and thank you for the support of the Parkland been through the worst trauma no young person should have to go through.

  • No person should have to go through and would have been completely justified for them to just withdraw.

  • And instead they are pushing way outside the covers on.

  • One of them was telling me about being in Texas Open, carry state and going outside of his venue, where he had a rally on voter registration to talk to the demonstrators.

  • Bond, I'm like, Why did you do that?

  • It's not safe.

  • And he said, I have to be prepared to listen to their side to better understand why they feel that having an assault weapon is so important to them rather than saving young people's lives.

  • And he really did want to.

  • He wanted to hear from them.

  • And so that level of engagement and then the time's up on me to movement and the women's march, the day after the election, the energy and environment march is the just the level of activism is what gives me reason to think optimistically and on.

  • The other thing is that I'm old enough to know that our democracy, what has it ever been easy and simple When have we not had Leon focus and put our shoulders of metal?

  • Not for like one election cycle, but over and over and over again.

  • One year for my birthday, President Obama gave me a copy of the signed petition for universal suffrage.

  • Signed in 18 66.

  • I know.

  • Where did he get that?

  • Um, for some Museum is missing this document, but sign next to it was the resolution when Congress passed the right for women to vote the 19th Amendment in 1919 so 53 years later.

  • And so a lot of the people who started the suffrage movement and who were doing hunger strikes and getting imprisoned and having their husbands does own them and suffered so greatly caring that baton for the 50 plus years didn't live to see it across the finish line.

  • And so we have to take the long view, and we have to recognize that democracy does zigzag and we take one step for two steps forward and a few steps back.

  • And the question isn't where are we today?

  • The question is, what are we going to do to make sure there's a better day tomorrow?

  • And that's on all of us.

  • That's not anything that we shouldn't look.

  • I mean, people often say to me, Well, why isn't President Obama speaking out more?

  • Well, if he want to speak out about things that he sees that are going wrong, I believe he would have to speak out every single day, right?

  • And that doesn't make sense.

  • And also the point is, if it's truly a movement, then we can't just rely on one person.

  • We have to have that moving inside of us.

  • Thank you.

take us to the time when you first met Michelle.

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ヴァレリー・ジャレットとヴァレリー・モズリーが語る|ヴァレリー・モズリー&ヴァレリー・ジャレット|TEDxBeaconStreetSalon (Valerie Jarrett talks with Valerie Mosley | Valerie Mosley & Valerie Jarrett | TEDxBeaconStreetSalon)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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