Michelle Obama gives stark summary of national mood: This is what not having hope feels like

Heather Saul
Friday 16 December 2016 17:37 GMT
Michelle Obama: 'Now we're feeling what not having hope feels like'

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


While Donald Trump capitalised on national anger to secure his election victory, Barack Obama’s message throughout two successful presidential campaigns was always one of hope.

But Michelle Obama says the world is now coming to understand “what not having hope feels like”.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the outgoing First Lady expressed concern for the next generation who face growing up in a turbulent political and global landscape.

“Now we are feeling what not having hope feels like,” Ms Obama told Winfrey. “Hope is necessary; it’s a necessary concept, and Barack didn't just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believe - what else do you have if you don’t have hope? What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?"

Ms Obama said it is important to have someone in the White House who can maintain a sense of stability.

“Having a grown-up in the White House, who can say to you in times of crisis and turmoil, hey, it’s going to be ok.. all of this is important for our kids to stay focused and feel like their work isn’t in vain, that their lives aren’t in vain. What do we do if we don’t have hope?”

Ms Obama's unflinching speeches became the high point of the general election. While campaigning for Hillary Clinton, she would tackle sexism, racial inequality and aggression head on. She made a pointed decision never to address Mr Trump by name when she challenged him in speeches. In a particularly eviscerating speech, Ms Obama took the then Republican nominee to task at a campaign rally for Ms Clinton over the lewd remarks he made about grabbing women “by the p***y”.

And while Mr Trump’s campaigns will be remembered for chants of “lock her up! “Drain the swamp!” and “CNN sucks!”, Mr Obama’s galvanising “fired up, ready to go!” was the chant that came to define a moment and underscore a mood in America at the time.

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