Monday, July 25, 2016

Doing What Needed To Be Done

Edward Kilgore at New York thought the fever broke with Michelle Obama's speech.  So did the NY Daily News. Virginia Hefferman at the NYTimes thought it was Bernie Sanders speech.  Several observers thought that Sarah Silverman's improvised rebuke to the Bernie or Bust chanters ("you're being ridiculous") helped.  But observers who were at the DNC--as opposed as those watching TV or the Internet--believed Democrats became basically united behind the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

Many believed--as I do--that the speech of the night, the moment of the night, belonged to Michelle Obama.  Robin Abcarian of the LA Times began: With a graciousness that impressed critics and brought supporters to tears, Michelle Obama on Monday night gave a perfectly pitched convention speech that was a ringing endorsement of Hillary Clinton, a backhanded slap at Donald Trump, and a powerful reminder of the historic nature of her husband’s presidency.

David Smith in the Guardian: Here, at last, the profound, moving and devastating riposte to Donald Trump that many in America, and the world, had been waiting for. And the antidote to the non-politician came from another non-politician – a mother.

Michelle Obama, the first black first lady in American history, gave a 15-minute address to the Democratic national convention that drew cheers, left some delegates openly weeping and did more than any governor or congressman to unite and fire up the party for November’s presidential election.

Tina  Nguyen in Vanity Fair: As perhaps the last Democrat who could do no wrong in the eyes of the American people, Michelle Obama brought a divided audience to their feet in Philadelphia by urging the country to vote for Hillary Clinton, speaking not just as the First Lady, but as a mother of two daughters who could not let a certain “bully” become president.

 Rebecca Traister at New York began:

On the opening night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, it was not an elected official, but one of the most brilliant and inspiring first ladies in American history, Michelle Obama, who lit up the room, silenced the booing throngs, and opened up a can of elegant whoop-ass on everyone who has been behaving poorly, all without mentioning any offenders by name. It was not just one of the best and most ingenious speeches ever given by a political spouse at a party convention, it was one of the finest speeches I have heard at a convention, period.

It was a remarkable speech, remarkably delivered.  It was all of a piece, making the case for Hillary, the case against Trump, from her unique perspective--and making it efficiently with passion and enormous grace.

The lines that will live, delivered with evident emotion and sincerity, are these:

“This 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.”

Here's a transcript .  Video above--it's about fifteen minutes long.  The convention is just starting, but this may turn out to be the most important speech of this campaign year.  So far it's clearly the best.

No comments: