Revisit: What Would Michelle Obama Do?

by Emily Jasper on July 26, 2016


After last night’s DNC speech, Michelle Obama’s message, “Live your best life”, takes on a new perspective of hope and community.

In 2012, Michelle spoke at the Virginia Tech graduation ceremony. I had tried to compartmentalize my frustration with how campaigning seems to permit public servants put their jobs on pause so that I could listen to Michelle’s perspective she’s earned after all her own hard work. I didn’t want to associate her words for us with a land grab for future votes.  I just wanted to hear her.

Last night, it was the same. She obviously had trickled in her support for Hillary Clinton, but take away those phrases, and she just spoke. From the heart, from experience, and with an eye on what could be possible. 

In 2012 I wrote, “You have to do what is best for you. It takes a lot of bravery to suddenly do that… ‘What is best’ is not what is easiest. The best is where you have competence, strength, and passion, but still a lot to learn… Active pursuit of your best life means that you will be a part of it. You will be at the heart of it, and that drive is infectious. If you want to live your best life, so will others.”

Last night, Michelle said, “…And we give back even when we’re struggling ourselves because we know that there is always someone worse off… And when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other. No, we listen to each other, we lean on each other, because we are always stronger together.”

Living your best life means we’re all looking for the best in each other. Not that we’re overly optimistic, but finding real ways to connect and love.

That’s what’s been missing during this year of election fervor. Even when humanity is at its worst, we’re breaking down the response to it’s simplest form – fight or flight. But you don’t have to start a war to fight back. You don’t have to isolate people to show you’re strong. Just do the right thing.

And if we all try to be our best selves, maybe we will have some hope for the future.