In a masterfully written and delivered keynote speech Monday night that marked the opening of the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC), former first lady Michelle Obama touted the abilities of Joe Biden, Democratic presidential candidate and now official nominee, as the man who could return competency and decency to the White House. She denounced President Donald Trump as “the wrong person” to lead the country.
Obama, in her pre-taped message, accused Trump of tearing the country apart the past four years in a scorching indictment that focused on his lack of empathy and character, as well as other situations that have brought out her frustrations, exasperation and concerns about the Trump administration.
Overall, she implored people to go to the polls on Nov. 3 to vote for Biden, therefore ousting the current president.
“We have got to vote like our lives depend on it,” she said, adding that Trump “simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. We have to vote in numbers that cannot be ignored. This is not the time to withhold our vote. Vote early, in person if you can and request an absentee ballot tonight.”
“Be willing to stand in line all night if you have to; pack your dinner and your breakfast,” she said.
Obama added that Biden, who is an “honest, decent man,” has the capacity to learn from his mistakes and will govern as someone “who’s lived a life that the rest of us can recognize.”
“It’s well past time for our leaders to reflect our truths,” she said.
Obama, known for her memorable statement first voiced during the 2016 DNC, “when they go low, we go high,” may have wanted to “go high,” but many say she did not mince words.
Reactions to her speech, as well as the comments shared by a litany of Democrats, several Republicans and those from the new Progressive movement, including Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have been posted on social media platforms by the thousands.
Here’s what some Americans are saying.
Eugene Robinson, MSNBC reporter: “For someone who says she hates politics, Michelle Obama is a political powerhouse.”
Dr. Sharon L. Burton, a college professor and consultant from Wilmington, watched the convention while she graded a dissertation proposal. She said, “this is history in the making,” she said. “Even though [Michelle Obama] is [the consummate professional], she, like her husband, is a down to earth person who knows how to connect to the least of these.”
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) reflected on the convention and the task ahead for all Americans.
“We are about to elect the first African-American woman as vice president,” she said adding that in addition to the nomination of Senator Kamala Harris, for the first time in the District’s history, language was added to the Democratic National Platform recognizing that a bill passed in the House of Representatives to make the District of Columbia the 51ststate.
“We are going to use the convention to make people understand what [we already know but what] they do not know — that the residents of the nation’s capital don’t have the same rights as they have. The convention is an important way to move [forward] but this moment is bittersweet. I am longing for a real convention. We need more national forums to acquaint the American people with the plight of the people in their own hometowns,” Norton said.
Donna Brazille, veteran political strategist and two-time acting chair of the Democratic National Committee: “This is a historic moment in American history because for only the third time, we will nominate a woman to be on the ticket of one of the two major parties. While we will not gather physically, we will gather together in spirit for a new moment in American politics.”
Dr. Alvin Thornton, historian and president of the Prince George’s County Board of Education, shared these remarks.
“Even though it’s not live, the convention fits very well with the experience that America has had since March,” he said. “We have been in the virtual mode. The good part of this is that seeing the convention virtually you can see people close up and you can hear directly and personally what they are saying.”
“I was very excited and proud to see our mayor [Muriel Bowser], Delegate to Congress and Council Chair representing the district and casting our vote for the next president,” said 2012 convention delegate Denise Reed, a resident of Ward 7.
Van Jones, former Obama administration official, posted the following on Twitter: “Michelle Obama works a microphone like no other. She has the presence of a talk show host, the timing of a comedian, the cadence of a preacher . . . and it all flows into this very intimate way of talking. Powerful, powerful stuff.”
Also on Twitter were three more lighthearted views about the “celebrities” featured during the first two nights.
Shamar English: “Tracee Ellis Ross is freaking incredible.”
Jasmine Michelle: “Now they got Tracee Ellis Ross and John Legend at the #DemConvention. Oooo, I see what y’all doing for the culture.”
Queen Thicktoria, Esq.: “I would love the Carters to read me bedtime stories. I’m 44.”
Davenia: “Yo, we heard from Jimmy Carter!”
WI Editorial Team Hamil Harris, Anthony Tilghman, Dorothy Rowley and William J. Ford contributed to this article.