Michelle Obama's Moving Speech Is the Antidote for Our Election-Abused Souls

Michelle Obama and Donald Trump both gave speeches on October 13. Michelle's was significant because of its emotional honesty and direct appeal to women. Trump's was significant because of its blatant display of the dangerous ideas he's been dancing around all election season. Both were important to watch for their own reasons, but Trump's doesn't deserve any more attention or airtime than we've already given it. So let's talk about Michelle's.


She was scheduled to make her normal campaign speech at the Hillary Clinton rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, but she said that since the video and stories about Donald Trump's past interactions with women were recently released, it'd be wrong not to talk about them.

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She explained that, "while I'd love nothing more than to pretend that this isn't happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous for me to move onto the next thing like this was all just a bad dream."

The full speech was about 30 minutes and appealed almost exclusively to our experiences as women living in a world with men who do not respect our bodies. Michelle made one of the most powerful cases against Trump that we've head so far, and she did it all without mentioning his name once:


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"I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I'm sure that many of you do, too -- particularly the women," she said. "The shameful comments about our bodies, the disrespect of our intelligence, the belief you can do anything to a woman? It is cruel. And the truth is, it hurts."

She's right. As women, we know what it's like to be addressed in lewd terms or grabbed without our consent. If it hasn't happened to you, it's happened to someone around you. And by nature of who we are and the world we live in, all of us know what it's like to be treated -- most likely in an unwanted way -- based on our looks alone.

Michelle is also right that it's absolutely mind-blowing that we have to talk about these things in the context of a presidential election. That we have to worry that kids will be subjected to this kind of language when they turn on the TV, and that they're being raised in a world where a man with such upsetting and dangerous thoughts about women is not only a serious contender for president of the United States, but that he has millions of voices of support behind him. 

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But even despite every wise, true, and relatable thing she said, the most shockingly significant part about her speech was the way she communicated it all: with words that were tough but measured and with emotion that was as touching as it was genuine.

When she's battling a candidate with such a strong predilection for volatile language and unsubstantiated assertations (and whose only emotion we can recall seeing so far is indignant anger) as Donald Trump, her calm and composed heartbreak is not only significant -- it's downright moving and damn impressive.

So. Michelle 2020, anyone?


Image via Ricky Fitchett/ZUMA Press/Splash News

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