For Michelle Obama, this election is about the kids. On the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, the first lady wove her vision for the next generation with her hope for the next president.
“This election, and every election, is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives,” she said, adding that Hillary Clinton is the only candidate “who I trust with that responsibility.”
On a night struck by discord, with Bernie Sanders supporters disrupting speakers and protesting outside the convention hall, Obama spoke by name only of Clinton. Her clear criticisms of Donald Trump and his campaign did not include Trump’s name.
“Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again,” Obama said, referencing Trump’s campaign slogan. “Because this, right now, is the greatest country on earth.
“And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls’ promise and all our kids’ promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.”
She described Clinton as a “champion” for children who “never takes the easy way out.”
Once a reluctant political spouse, as NPR has reported, Obama used Monday night’s platform to go beyond the election, referencing the “police officers and protesters in Dallas who all desperately want to keep our children safe” and those who donated blood in Orlando after the shooting at a gay nightclub “because it could have been their son, their daughter in that club.”
She concluded by once again making the speech personal — in a way that also noted the historic significance of Clinton becoming the first woman to lead a major-party ticket.
“That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves — and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters — and all our sons and daughters — now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”