Remember 2014? Before campaigning had started for the 2016 election, when Barack and Michelle Obama were just an awesome first couple and not the country's last gasps of sanity for at least four years? 2014 was a good time, and one of the amazing things to come out of that time was Michelle Obama's turnip video, which is just absolutely, stunningly beautiful in all of its simplicity. Vegetable puns and awkward dancing — what more could you want out of a FLOTUS?
It came about on Vine, as so many hilarious things do. She was holding a Q & A to promote her "Let's Move" campaign for a healthier lifestyle, which has been one of her main initiatives as the First Lady. An impersonator of her husband asked her how many calories she burned when she turned up, a reference to the DJ Snake and Lil Jon hit "Turn Down For What". Michelle Obama, ever the picture of class and grace, responded with a six-second Vine in which she said "Turnip for what?" while holding a turnip, and then proceeded to move her shoulders your friend does way towards the end of a night at the club. It was, in no uncertain terms, gorgeous.
One of life's little joys: sending the Michelle Obama turnip gif to non social-savvy friends. The utter confusion is a sight to behold. pic.twitter.com/EEX38fjNY8— Al Fox (@MrAlFox) December 16, 2016
A pun about a vegetable that many people either avoid or have never had, a funny dance move, and a message to eat healthy food and exercise? Really, this one little Vine is a microcosm of the Obamas' relationship with their country. It's funny in a dad-joke sort of a way (maybe Barack made it up), it's relaxed, and it's all in the service of a higher goal for the country. It's simple, it's optimistic, and it went viral because it brought Michelle Obama that much closer to the people who elected her husband. What's not to love?
This is exactly the spirit that everyone needs to enter 2017 with. There are problems to address, and it seems likely that they'll only increase when Michelle and her family leave their current home in the White House. But maybe, just maybe, some of those problems can be addressed with humor, informality, an absolute lack of pretension, and a willingness to do silly things in order to meet goals.
Michelle Obama may not always be in public life, but this Vine of her dancing with a turnip will live on for as long as the internet's around, reminding us of the fact that politicians can be that way too. Hopefully it's just something that the position of First Lady pulls out of people — and Melania Trump will give us more to love very soon.