GLENWOOD, Iowa, U.S.A. – At a Hillary Clinton rally in New Hampshire last week, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed one of the primary conflicts in our 2016 presidential election: sexual assault.
“This is not something we can ignore,” she said.
Both U.S. citizens and many others around the world are aware of the controversial comments by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
As a result, it was a personal relief to hear the First Lady speak out. She said that she would like to give her regular campaign speech but that “it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing.”
As not just a woman but as a human being, I was cheering inside to watch her address Trump’s comments about women caught on tape, whether a decade or a day old. In the recording, he tells another man that he “can do anything” he wants to a woman because he is famous, including grabbing them by the genitals.
“It is cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts,” Obama said.
Every person has a voice, whether spoken or written. But it helps to create change when respected men and women speak out.
For teenagers and young adults, the First Lady started or helped to start many programs to initiate change that gained her the respect of people across the globe, including Let Girls Learn, Reach Higher and Let’s Move.
My fear of a Trump presidency has been misconstrued by my classmates and my community. It was a consolation to hear that Obama feels the same way.
“Too many are treating this as just another day’s headline, as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted, as if this is normal,” said Obama. “Just politics as usual.”
But it’s not.
Our First Lady’s speech generated new hope in me.
It spurred hope that not all presidential candidates say rude and misogynistic comments behind the backs of women and girls. It made me hope that that we do have government officials who care for the people the country.
But the speech was not only addressing Trump’s statements. Obama finished with a call to attention. Those who can vote, must, she urged.
The First Lady encouraged those who are unable to vote to “get on social media.”
I am inspired. And thanks to our First Lady, I know that when “they go low, we go high.”
Garret Reich is a Senior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.
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