'We cannot afford to withhold our votes, or waste them on a protest candidate. One of these two men will be president. And only if we vote for Joe Biden with power and with passion will our voices even have a chance at being heard.'
She might not live in the White House anymore, but that hasn’t stopped former First Lady Michelle Obama inspiring us on the regular.
In fact, she’s our go-to girl when it comes to pep talks, calling out injustice and giving advice.
This week, it was the upcoming US Presidential Election that got Michelle talking, as she delivered a 26-minute closing argument video, telling Americans to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris like their ‘lives depend on it’.
‘I want everyone who is still undecided to think about all those folks like me and my ancestors — the moms and dads who worked their fingers to the bone to raise their kids right,’ Michelle explained as part of the video. ‘The teenagers who wear hoodies while working hard to get their diplomas. The millions of folks who look like me and fought and died and toiled as slaves and soldiers and laborers to help build this country. Put yourselves in our shoes for just a moment.
‘Imagine how it feels to wake up every day and do your very best to uphold the values that this country claims to hold dear — truth, honor, decency — only to have those efforts met by scorn. Not just by your fellow citizens, but by a sitting president. Imagine how it feels to have suspicion cast on you from the day you were born, simply because of the hue of your skin. To walk around your own country scared that someone’s unjustified fear of you could put you in harm’s way. Who will project on us their own fears of retribution for centuries of injustice and thus only see us as a threat to be restrained? And we know what happens next — a racial slur from a passing car, a job promotion that never comes, a routine traffic stop gone wrong, maybe a knee to the neck.
The video concludes: 'Think about what would possibly compel you to accept this level of chaos, violence, and confusion under this president, and be willing to watch our country continue to spiral out of control. We can no longer pretend that we don’t know exactly who and what this president stands for. Search your hearts and your conscience, and then vote for Joe Biden like your lives depend on it. We cannot afford to withhold our votes, or waste them on a protest candidate. One of these two men will be president. And only if we vote for Joe Biden with power and with passion will our voices even have a chance at being heard.’
This is not the first time Michelle Obama has encouraged people to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, writing an emotional Instagram post about Kamala when she was announced as Joe’s running mate.
‘You get used to it, even as a little girl — opening the newspaper, turning on the TV, and hardly ever seeing anyone who looks like you,’ she wrote in her post. ‘You train yourself to not get your hopes up. And sometimes it’s a battle just to keep telling yourself that you might deserve more. Because no matter how much you prepare, no matter what grades you get or even how high you rise at work, it always feels like someone is waiting to tell you that you’re not qualified. That you’re not smart enough. That you’re too loud or too bossy. That there’s just something about you…you’re just not quite the right fit.
‘Change can be slow and frustrating, but signs of progress are all around us. This week Senator @KamalaHarris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, became the first Black woman and first Asian-American woman on a major party’s presidential ticket. I’ve been thinking about all those girls growing up today who will be able to take it for granted that someone who looks like them can grow up to lead a nation like ours. Because @KamalaHarris may be the first, but she won’t be the last.
‘I am here for it all. Let us embrace and celebrate this moment. Go get ‘em girl.’
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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