Michelle Obama did not utter the words ‘Donald Trump’ even once and yet she rallied the Democrats like they have never been in a long time. The First Lady of the United States of America made a compelling and forceful speech at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia Monday night, her address littered with references and anecdotes that could point a finger to what can be a credible candidacy for the White House in 2020.
Michelle has never been an ordinary FLOTUS. She may have started off on the wrong note eight years ago when she told a gathering how she felt proud of the US ‘for the first time in her adult life’ after her husband’s triumph in the general elections that year. But as the years progressed, Michelle outgrew herself into a sort of pop culture figure whose popularity ratings even beat that of her husband Barack Obama. She took out public campaigns for childhood exercise and girl child education, always stepping into the spotlight now and then to set out her agenda. Like her husband, she was never stiff in her official position, always opting to let things loose. On a visit to India in 2010, she did not hesitate a second before throwing her shoes and breaking into a dance with children.
On Monday night at DNC, Michelle’s public persona radiated even more as she stressed on ‘family values’ and talked at length about her teenage daughters.
“I will never forget that winter morning as I watched our girls, just 7 and 10 years old, pile into those black SUVs with all those men with guns. And that all their little faces pressed up against the window, and the only thing I could think was, What have we done? At that moment, I realized that our time in the White House would form the foundation of who they would become. And how well we manage this experience could truly make or break them,” she said.
Setting herself and her husband in the roles of responsible parents, Michelle stressed how important it was for whoever became America’s next president to safeguard the lives of the future generations.
“Make no mistake about it, this November when we go to the polls, that is what we are deciding. Not Democrat or Republican. Not left or right. No in this election and every election is about who will have the power to shape our children’s future for the next four or eight years of their lives,” she added to raucous cheer and applause. Some of the women in the audience were seen with tears rolling down their cheeks.
Michelle went on to endorse Hillary Clinton, which was expected, in a fashion that was very much convincing. There’s no denying that Clinton carries a lot of baggage and is despised even among a large section of the Democratic voter base. But in a fight against Trump who has divided the US like never before, she would come across as the acceptable face. Michelle’s endorsement of Clinton spoke volumes of the latter’s public service record and more importantly, the idea that a glass ceiling would indeed break in November when a woman becomes the president of the country. She also hit out at Trump, never using his name, but striking at the heart of his actions and prejudices.
Michelle’s address at the DNC was full of power and confidence, assuming a style presidential candidates take. She may have taken the microphone to gather votes for Clinton this time, but her speech was a portent for a possible Michelle candidacy in 2020. Four years from now, if she can set a solid policy agenda and still electrify crowds like tonight, I believe her victory is a foregone conclusion.