In her first public appearance after her widely-acclaimed Democratic National Convention speech on Tuesday in Charlotte, First Lady Michelle Obama told the Democratic Convention's African-American Caucus that this year's election was about more than simply electing her husband: it was about what America would be in the future.
Speaking to a capacity crowd after a rousing introduction by Caucus Vice Chair Donna Brazile, Obama said that voters already know that Obama is the man for the job. "He has the vision, the character, the wisdom, the judgment, the heart, the soul, the experience to keep this country moving forward for for 4 more years," she told them. "We know that."
This election is about more even than the issues at stake right now. It truly is. It's even about more than the candidates on the ballot this year. Because this election more than any other in history is about how we want our democracy to function for decades to come. It's about the lessons that we want to teach our kids and our grandkids, what we want them to learn as they watch these campaigns and they see those results on November the 6th. And we need to step back and ask ourselves, do we want to give a few individuals a far bigger say in our democracy than any one else. Do we want our elections to be about who buys the most ads on TV? Do we want our kids and our grandkids to walk away from this election feeling like ordinary, hard-working voices can no longer be heard in this country? Or are we going to show our kids that here in America we all have an equal voice in the voting booth? And we all have a say in our country's future. And a bottom-up, grassroots movement of people who loves this country can always come together to move it forward.
The influence of Citizens United and the new ability by individual donors and shadowy organizations to use untold millions of dollars from undisclosed people to fund winning campaigns has been a frequent theme of convention speakers.
But Obama used the specter of Citizens United to make a call for audience members to do more than donate -- though she asked for donations, too. "And make no mistake about it, with every call you all are making out there, with the work you, and every door you knock on, with every voter you register, you all are providing the answers to those questions," she added. "You are are making a powerful statement about how you want our democracy to work. And by taking part in the democratic process that for more than two centuries has made America the greatest county on earth, you all are helping to preserve that legacy for generations to come."
But her calls for donations and volunteers didn't end there, as she talked of the importance of voter registration and poll access, another frequest topic of convention speakers given Republican and tea party efforts to pass laws thst require voters to carry state-issued picture identification to cast their votes despite the expense and opportunity costs of obtaining such credentials. "But most importantly, make sure that every single person that you know within the sound of your voice, your touch, your breath, make sure you get to your friends, your neighbors, that nephew you haven't seen for a while, that college roommate you haven't spoken to in decade, your congregation member laying down the street, the person on the board, anybody who's sitting around wondering 'What am i going to do this election,' find them," she said.
"Make sure every single one of them is registered and gets to the polls and has their vote."
[Image via NewsHour on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]