Just about every time Michelle Obama opens her mouth, I gush with emotion, cry out in solidarity, and want to spring into action — but Michelle Obama's speech about Donald Trump and his lewd and sexist behavior did so much more than turn on my usual waterworks. More than just a powerful stump speech for her fellow friend and democrat Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama's speech brilliantly explained why Donald Trump's words and actions aren't just problematic for women — they're dangerous for the entire country.
It's no secret that a Donald Trump presidency could have scary implications for women. Between the vulgar, derogatory, misogynistic language he often uses when talking to and about women and the way he responds, insincerely and nonchalantly, to all of it, the idea of Trump as president is, quite frankly, a nightmare for women of all ages and backgrounds. The way he aggressively and violently conducts himself in public sets a dangerous precedent for a country that is looking for a leader and example to live by, and instead has found a sexist man with a microphone.
But these aren't just problems for women. These are problems for every person in this country — and that's what Michelle Obama wants to make sure everyone here knows.
The First Lady did not mince her words as she responded to Trump's leaked 2005 comments about kissing and grabbing women without their consent — comments she views as nothing less than "hurtful, hateful language about women." Vulgar, degrading, and sexist speech like Trump's — speech Obama refused to repeat and so will I — doesn't just devalue women, but is painful to any person who hears it. And, I mean everyone. As Obama pointed out, Trump's language "has been painful for so many of us, not just as women, but as parents trying to protect our children and raise them to be caring, respectful adults, and as citizens who think our nation's leaders should meet basic standards of human decency."
Basic standards of human decency — ouch. To be president means to be the public face and, more importantly, be the voice for our entire nation, both to American citizens and to the rest of the world. To have Trump be that face means to give our country — not just women, but men and children, too — over to a man who doesn't seem to understand basic humanity.
"It's about basic human decency. It's about right and wrong and we simply cannot endure this or expose our children to this any longer." — Michelle Obama
As Obama acknowledged in her speech, Trump's words and actions are outwardly cruel, hurtful, and overtly damaging to women, but they're equally as damaging to the boys and men who are exposed to them. She asked:
"And how is this affecting men and boys in this country? Because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this and I know that my family is not unusual. And to dismiss this as everyday locker room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere [...] And, like us, these men are worried about the impact this election is having on our boys who are looking for role models for what it means to be a man."
Having someone at our helm who brags about sexual assault and condones insulting women, poor people, and disabled people will teach young boys that it's OK to degrade women and treat their bodies like property, while young girls will get used to feeling valueless and unworthy. And that isn't even the most disturbing part, either. In one powerful statement, Obama zeroed in on why this election is truly dangerous to our entire country — because, as she says, we're treating it "as if this is normal. Just politics as usual."
But as Michelle Obama knows, and as she wants everyone to know, this isn't about politics: "It's about basic human decency. It's about right and wrong and we simply cannot endure this or expose our children to this any longer."
Wiser words have never been spoken.