Former First Lady Michelle Obama disapproves of current state of America, encourages everyone to vote

Former First Lady Michelle Obama disapproves of current state of America, encourages everyone to vote

Former First Lady Michelle Obama left the American public with passionate remarks in a 19-minute speech Monday that closed the first day of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Obama centered her speech around the subject of empathy and character, culminating in her public endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, the Democratic Party candidate, for president. She created a strong case for Biden, former vice president to her husband Barack Obama during his two terms in office, by discussing the dire and immoral state the country is in today.

She used her time to explain the ways in which incumbent President Donald Trump has fostered a state void of moral values.

“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can,” she said. “Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head.”

Obama continued to rebuke and disapprove of the current president by explaining the ways America has failed its people in the last four years. She brought up the 170,000 plus deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic, the current downfall of the economy, the loss of healthcare across the American public and the end of alliances with other countries. She said that, on top of all of that, Trump has failed to recognize and support the idea of Black lives receiving fair and equal treatment.

In addition to listing the actions by Trump, Obama highlighted what she sees as less tangible yet similarly impactful effects of his presidency, such as the overall loss of an empathetic moral character across the country.

Obama said she sees this lack of empathy exemplified by Americans shouting at grocery store workers unwilling to wear a mask or by some unnecessarily calling the police for people of color. This sense of entitlement and greed is what concerns Obama for the next generation.

Children of America “see our leaders labeling fellow citizens enemies of the state while emboldening torch-bearing white supremacists,” Obama said. “They watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages, and pepper spray and rubber bullets are used on peaceful protesters.”

Overall, America is  “a nation that’s underperforming … on matters of character,” Obama said.

To combat this struggle, Obama referenced her famous catchphrase “when they go low, we go high,” popularized by her speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. She said that to go high means to fight to the top and stand strong against hate and bigotry. She encouraged people to use their efforts to unite under one nation despite differences, whether racial, religious, political or otherwise.

Obama explained how the American people’s efforts are needed in the upcoming election more than ever. She encouraged people to request their ballots now and register to vote.

During her speech, Obama emphasized the impact she thinks Biden can have on the country through his experience, grit and passion.

In the end, Obama called for the public to use the same courage and resilience they have practiced in the past days, months and years. She urged Americans to do whatever is necessary to make theirs votes count and to keep fighting injustice to build a better future for the next generations.

“And if we want to keep the possibility of progress alive in our time, if we want to be able to look our children in the eyes after this election, we have got to reassert our place in American history. And we have got to do everything we can to elect my friend, Joe Biden, as the next president of the United States,” Obama said, finishing her speech.

This story was written by Aminah Beg. She can be reached at aminah.beg@marquette.edu.