Why We Need Michelle Obama To Run For President Now More Than Ever
On Oct. 13, Michelle Obama made a speech in New Hampshire denouncing Donald Trump and endorsing Hillary Clinton. It was a speech that resonated with the world, a speech that had me tweeting that, if she wanted to run for president, she already had my vote. I wasn't joking. I believe that Michelle Obama should run for president. In fact, after the Associated Press reported that Donald Trump won the presidential election, I believe that Michelle Obama needs to run for president. I believe that a president like Michelle Obama is exactly what this country needs right now and in the future. I believe that a president like Michelle Obama is exactly what I need right now and in the future.
Over the course of this election, America has revealed a skin-crawling level of racism, sexism, and intolerance in our modern society — a level that led a misogynist like Donald Trump to become President-Elect, per AP. Over the course of this election, America has become a country in which I am no longer proud to live, a country that I feel the need to apologize for, a country that I am genuinely ashamed of. Electing Michelle Obama for president can't undo what's been done, but it can send a necessary message.
How can we explain to future generations the concept of Donald Trump? How can we look any child — especially a little girl — in the eye and tell them that, despite a presidential candidate being caught on camera stating that you have to treat women "like sh*t" and "grab them by the p*ssy," he can go on to hold the highest office in our country? How do we explain the amount of states that willfully gave their vote to a man who promised to build a wall to keep immigrants out of an immigrant-founded country and said that a judge could not be impartial because of his race? These questions don't have answers, but they do highlight why I think this country needs Michelle Obama.
The FLOTUS said it best in her New Hampshire speech:
We need someone who is a uniting force in this country. We need someone who will heal the wounds that divide us. Someone who truly cares about us and our children. Someone with strength and compassion to lead this country forward.
With these words, she was endorsing Hillary Clinton, but I think these same words describe MObama as well. She is a uniting force in this country. According to Gallup, as a First Lady, Michelle has an approval rating of 64 percent as of August 2016. In fact, according to the same website, Michelle is even more popular than Bill Clinton — a former president — and Melania Trump. Her eloquent speeches are so well-known that the internet immediately noticed that Melania Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention borrowed heavily from Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention eight years ago. And, after her speech at this year's Democratic National Convention, The New York Times declared, "It's Michelle Obama's Party."
She is someone who truly cares about us and our children. During her time as First Lady, Obama became known for her dedication to children, women, and families, launching Let's Move to fight childhood obesity, working to improve the lives of military families through the initiative Joining Forces, and launching Reach Higher and Let Girls Learn, both dedicated to getting young people — especially young girls — into schools and keeping them there. Her New Hampshire speech reinforced this, questioning the example that Trump was setting for children of both genders. "What do you think this is doing to our children?" she asked. "What messages are little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act? What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings? And how is this affecting men and boys in this country?"
She is someone with strength and compassion to lead this country forward. She has been First Lady for eight years, and, in that time, she has hardly been passive. Her list of accomplishments since Barack entered the White House has been so insanely impressive that she is just as visible and respected as her husband the POTUS. The Washington Times quotes a reported friend, Jocelyn Frye, as saying in 2009, "[Michelle] sees part of her leadership role as being a good example and role model to others across the country. ... She wanted to take that message to a broader community." And I would say, in the last seven years since this quote, that she's definitely done that.
Most important of all, she is someone who will heal the wounds that divide us. Barack Obama became the first African American POTUS in American history. Hillary Clinton tried and somehow failed to be elected the first female POTUS in American history. Michelle Obama, as an intelligent African American woman with a strong background in politics and law, a compassionate spirit, and the strength to see her family through eight years of media scrutiny and criticism, has everything that I would want to see in a candidate.
Again, electing her wouldn't undo the damage of electing a racist misogynist to the office of POTUS. That is something that America can never, ever come back from. That is knowledge about our country that we can never, never un-know. But Michelle Obama, in her policies as well as in her status as an African American woman, represents the kind of forward progression that America so desperately needs.
Women like me need to know that a woman of color can achieve this nation's highest office — even and especially after the rise of a Donald Trump. Nothing can take away the fear and the rage that I felt as I watched the election results flow in, but thinking of a future in which our country is led by someone as capable, tolerant, and compassionate as Michelle Obama gives me back some of the hope that I've lost. Even if only a little.