Frank Bruni on Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama Showed Us Why These Democrats Are Our Last Best Hope

. . . I want to note that nowhere in Trump’s inner circle is there anyone with the gravitas and grace of Michelle Obama, because someone like her wouldn’t last a nanosecond there. Trump would find the example of her too threatening, the yardstick of her too diminishing. She’d find his ethical ecosystem uninhabitable: the cold, dark surface of the moon without a spacesuit.

I want to savor her every word on Monday night, when she so beautifully distilled what’s wrong with Trump — “He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us,” she said — and so hauntingly defined what it feels like to live in Trump’s America.

“Kids in this country are seeing what happens when we stop requiring empathy of one another,” she said. “They’re looking around wondering if we’ve been lying to them this whole time about who we really are and what we truly value.”

“What’s going on in this country is just not right,” she added. “This is not who we want to be.” It was an excellent speech, gorgeously delivered, and that’s in large part because she recognized and maximized the fact that many Americans see her as someone less partisan and more practical than the conventional convention orator.

“You know I hate politics,” she said, making no apologies for that. “But you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children.” From that perspective came this plea: “We have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”

That was the message of many of the speakers. Their words varied; their urgency didn’t. Usually when politicians adopt such epic, dire tones, I want to reach for some bleach to wash the purple from their prose. On Monday night I just nodded (and, in Obama’s case, got a little teary, too).

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