Former first lady Michelle Obama gave a powerful and emotional speech during the opening night of the Democratic National Convention. She spoke from the heart, as a Black woman, an anxious mother and concerned American — directly taking on President Donald Trump, endorsing Joe Biden and rallying the country to vote at a critical time.
“If you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can and they will if we don’t make a change in this election,” she said emphatically. “If we have any hope in ending this chaos, we have to vote like our lives depend on it.”
Obama has always understood that fashion can send a compelling message. While she typically gets people talking about her bold head-to-toe outfits, tonight she captured attention with the new-must have accessory of 2020, her By Chari Vote necklace. (The brand is owned and designed by Chari Cuthbert, a Black entrepreneur and young talent who is based in Los Angeles.)
“[We have] to request our mail in ballots tonight, and send them back immediately, follow up to make sure they’re received and make sure friends and family do the same,” Obama told the audience. “We have to put on our comfortable shoes…and be willing to stand in line all night if we have to.”
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Obama also was determined make a striking statement about Trump.
“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country…He is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment.”
She contrasted the president to Joe Biden, touting his experience and resilience. “He knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic and take back our country. He will govern as someone who has lived a life the rest of us can recognize,” Obama said. “His life is a testament to getting back up and he is going to channel that same grit and passion to pick us back up. Joe Biden has served this nation his entire life without losing sight of who he is — more than that, he has never lost sight of who we are.”
After skillfully laying out her case, Obama ended her speech with another plea about voting.
“It is up to us to add our voices and our votes to the course of history, echoing heroes like John Lewis who said, ‘When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something.’ That is the truest form of empathy, not just feeling, but doing…If we want to be able to look our children in the eye after this election, we have to reassert our place in American history and we have to do everything we can to elect my friend as the next president of the United States.”