Former first lady Michelle Obama delivered a stirring endorsement of Joe Biden during the first night of the Democratic National Convention.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Four years later, the state of this nation is very different. More than 150,000 people have died. And our economy is in shambles because of a virus that this president downplayed for too long.
It has left millions of people jobless. Too many have lost their health care. Too many are struggling to take care of basic necessities like food and rent. Too many communities have been left in the lurch to grapple with whether and how to open our schools safely.
Internationally, we've turned our back-- not just on agreements forged by my husband, but on alliances championed by presidents like Reagan and Eisenhower. And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a black life matters is still met with derision from the nation's highest office.
Because whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy. Empathy-- that's something I've been thinking a lot about lately-- the ability to walk in someone else's shoes, the recognition that someone else's experience has value too.
Most of us practice this without a second thought. If we see someone suffering or struggling, we don't stand in judgment. We reach out, because there but for the grace of God go I. It is not a hard concept to grasp. It's what we teach our children.
And like so many of you, Barack and I have tried our best to instill in our girls a strong moral foundation to carry forward the values that our parents and grandparents poured into us. But right now, kids in this country are seeing what happens when we stop requiring empathy of one another. They're looking around wondering if we've been lying to them this whole time about who we are and what we truly value.
They see people shouting in grocery stores, unwilling to wear a mask to keep us all safe. They see people calling the police on folks minding their own business just because of the color of their skin. They see an entitlement that says only certain people belong here, that greed is good and winning is everything, because as long as you come out on top, it doesn't matter what happens to everyone else.
And they see what happens when that lack of empathy is ginned up into outright disdain. They see our leaders labeling fellow citizens enemies of the state while emboldening torch-bearing white supremacists. They watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages, and pepper spray and rubber bullets are used on peaceful protesters for a photo op.
Sadly, this is the America that is on display for the next generation-- a nation that's underperforming not simply on matters of policy but on matters of character. And that's not just disappointing, it's downright infuriating, because I know the goodness and the grace that is out there in households and neighborhoods all across this nation. And I know that regardless of our race, age, religion, or politics, when we close out the noise and the fear and truly open our hearts, we know that what's going on in this country is just not right. This is not who we want to be.