First Lady Michelle Obama gave an exquisite speech in New Hampshire today. The whole thing was amazing, and I've got a piece at Shareblue with an additional excerpt, but this powerful section in particular brought me to tears:
And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn't an isolated incident. It's one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life. And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this, and I feel it so personally. And I'm sure that many of you do, too, particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. It is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts.The other part that really did me in was when she talked about what a great role model Hillary Clinton is, because she embodies admirable values. (That clip is at Shareblue.)
It's like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you're walking down the street, minding your own business, and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body. Or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long, and makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. It's that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them, or forced himself on them and they've said no, but he didn't listen. Something that we know happens on college campuses and countless other places every single day.
It reminds us of stories we heard from our mothers and grandmothers about how, back in their day, the boss could say and do whatever he pleased to the women in the office, and, even though they worked so hard, jumped over every hurdle to prove themselves, it was never enough. We thought all of that was ancient history, didn't we?
And so many have worked for so many years to end this kind of violence and abuse and disrespect, but here we are. Two thousand and sixteen. And we're hearing these exact same things every day on the campaign trail. We are drowning in it.
And all of us are doing what women have always done: We're trying to keep our heads above water. Just trying to get through it. Trying to pretend like this doesn't really bother us. Maybe because we think that admitting how much it hurts makes us as women look weak. Maybe we're afraid to be that vulnerable. Maybe we've grown accustomed to swallowing these emotions and staying quiet, because we've seen that people often won't take our word over his. Or maybe we don't want to believe that there are still people out there who think so little of us as women.
Too many are treating this as just another day's headline; as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted; as if this is normal, just politics as usual. But New Hampshire, be clear: This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn't matter what party you belong to—Democrat, Republican, Independent—no woman deserves to be treated this way; none of us deserves this kind of abuse.
And I know it's a campaign, but this isn't about politics. It's about basic human decency. It's about right and wrong. And we simply cannot endure this, or expose our children to this any longer, not for another minute and let alone for four years. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say: Enough is enough. This has got to stop right now.
Enough is enough. This shit hurts. And it may feel like it's normal, but it isn't. It doesn't have to be. We can reject it. We must.