It’s been a week since a tape emerged where Donald Trump bragged about his ability to get away with sexual assault. Since then, we’ve seen a debate where this was dismissed as “locker room talk” and heard from multiple women alleging that the Republican nominee touched them inappropriately in the past.
In the midst of all this, Michelle Obama’s speech on Thursday was exactly what every citizen in this country needed to hear.
It was a different speech—full of raw emotion, passion, and urgency. It was clear that she was shaken by the Access Hollywood video and was outraged that such a person has a chance to win the presidency.
According to FLOTUS, Donald Trump (who was not mentioned by name) clearly did not “meet basic standards of human decency.”
She denounced Trump’s past behavior towards women, capturing the mood of the female electorate in the aftermath of the video:
“This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to — Democrat, Republican, independent — no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse.”
Throughout her speech, she hit it home that this election is more than just electing a leader. It is about standing up to bigotry and setting a good example for future generations and countries around the world.
“In our hearts, we all know that if we let Hillary’s opponent win this election, then we are sending a clear message to our kids that everything they’re seeing and hearing is perfectly okay. We are validating it. We are endorsing it. We’re telling our sons that it’s okay to humiliate women. We’re telling our daughters that this is how they deserve to be treated. We’re telling all our kids that bigotry and bullying are perfectly acceptable in the leader of their country. Is that what we want for our children?
And remember, we won’t just be setting a bad example for our kids, but for our entire world. Because for so long, America has been a model for countries across the globe, pushing them to educate their girls, insisting that they give more rights to their women. But if we have a President who routinely degrades women, who brags about sexually assaulting women, then how can we maintain our moral authority in the world? How can we continue to be a beacon of freedom and justice and human dignity?”
This speech, while it was in support of Hillary Clinton, broke through political barriers. It spoke to people who, no matter their political allegiances, share FLOTUS’ moral outrage. Moreover, her emotional condemnation of Trump is a defining moment in the presidential race. She framed the election as something crucial for both men and women. It’s a chance for us to speak against the unacceptable behavior towards women in modern society.
“[T]he men in my life do not talk about women like this,” Obama said. “Strong men — men who are truly role models — don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.”
She ended by calling on her audience to vote on Election Day.
“On Nov. 8, we can show our children that here in America, we reject hatred and fear and in difficult times, we don’t discard our highest ideals. No, we rise up to meet them. We rise up to perfect our union. We rise up to defend our blessings of liberty. We rise up to embody the values of equality and opportunity and sacrifice that have always made this country the greatest nation on Earth.”
Watch the full speech here: