Michelle Obama’s Speech Was the Heart and Soul of the DNC’s Opening Night

Junge/NTB Scanpix via ZUMA Press

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Michelle Obama’s speech Monday night at the Democratic National Convention was the heart and soul of opening night. 

Obama’s passionate remarks hewed to a characteristic she is beloved for: she is a moral compass, she’s clarity in the muddiest days. “Most of us practice [empathy] without a second thought…because there but for the grace of God go I,” the former first lady said. “But right now, kids in this country are seeing what happens when we stop requiring empathy of one another. They’re looking around wondering if we’ve been lying to them this whole time about who we are and what we truly value.”

She cited several national horrors from the past four years—police brutality, white supremacist marches, a border patrol that rips children away from their families and imprisons them.

When it came to discussing President Donald Trump’s tenure outright, she got straight to the point. “Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” Obama said steadily. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.”

She was also unwavering in her support for her husband’s former vice president. “Now, Joe is not perfect, and he’d be the first to tell you that,” she said. “But there is no perfect candidate, no perfect president. And his ability to learn and grow—we find in that the kind of humility and maturity that so many of us yearn for right now. Because Joe Biden has served this nation his entire life without ever losing sight of who he is; but more than that, he has never lost sight of who we are, all of us.”

She continued: “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. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”

Watch her full remarks:

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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