The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.
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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.
Although the circumstances of our lives may seem very disengaged, with me standing here as the First Lady of the United States of America and you just getting through school, I want you to know we have very much in common. For nothing in my life ever would have predicted that I would be standing here as the first African-American First Lady.
And I love that even in the toughest moments, when we're all sweating it - when we're worried that the bill won't pass, and it seems like all is lost - Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise. Just like his grandmother, he just keeps getting up and moving forward... with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.
Clearly this is a tough economic time, and a lot of families are hurting. So when we talk to parents, we talk about small changes for kids and things that don't cost extra money. Like adding water and eliminating sugary drinks and sodas. That's going to save money right there. Or adding a few more vegetables.
For me, education has never been simply a policy issue - it's personal. Neither of my parents and hardly anyone in the neighborhood where I grew up went to college. But thanks to a lot of hard work and plenty of financial aid, I had the opportunity to attend some of the finest universities in this country.
Fortunately, we have help from the media. I have to say this: I'm very grateful for the support and kindness that we've gotten. People have respected their privacy and in that way, I think, you know, no matter what people may feel about my husband's policies or what have you, they care about children and that's been good to see.
Here in America, we don't let our differences tear us apart. Not here. Because we know that our greatness comes from when we appreciate each other's strengths, when we learn from each other, when we lean on each other, because in this country, it's never been each person for themselves. No, we're all in this together. We always have been.