- Michelle Obama responded to Wednesday's breach of the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.
- In a statement shared on social media, Obama said she "hurt[s] for our country" after the breach, comparing the brutality inflicted on peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors by law enforcement with the mild treatment of the pro-Trump rioters.
- "Yesterday made it painfully clear that certain Americans are, in fact, allowed to denigrate the flag and symbols of our nation. They’ve just got to look the right way," Obama wrote.
Michelle Obama said she "hurt[s] for our country" after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday, condemning the "infantile and idiotic" outgoing president and comparing the brutality inflicted on peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors by law enforcement with the mild treatment of the pro-Trump rioters.
"I woke up yesterday elated by the news of Reverend Raphael Warnock's election victory," Obama began a statement shared on social media. "In just a few hours, though, my heart had fallen harder and faster than I can remember. Like all of you, I watched as a gang—organized, violent, and mad they'd lost an election—laid siege to the United States Capitol."
"The day was a fulfillment of the wishes of an infantile and unpatriotic president who can't handle the truth of his own failures," she continued.
A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama)
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"It all left me with so many questions—questions about the future, questions about security, extremism, propaganda, and more. But there’s one question I just can’t shake: What if these rioters had looked like the folks who go to Ebenezer Baptist Church every Sunday? What would have been different?" Obama wrote.
"I think we all know the answer. This summer’s Black Lives Matter protests were an overwhelmingly peaceful movement—our nation’s largest demonstrations ever, bringing together people of every race and class and encouraging millions to re-examine their own assumptions and behavior. And yet, in city after city, day after day, we saw peaceful protestors met with brute force. We saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op."
"And for those who call others unpatriotic for simply taking a knee in silent protest, for those who wonder why we need to be reminded that Black Lives Matter at all, yesterday made it painfully clear that certain Americans are, in fact, allowed to denigrate the flag and symbols of our nation. They’ve just got to look the right way," the former First Lady continued.
"All I know is that now is a time for true patriotism," Obama wrote, calling for Trump voters to "forcefully rebuke" him and for social media platforms to permanently ban Trump from their platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter temporarily locked his accounts after the Capitol breach, while Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg subsequently said he would be barred from Facebook's platforms until the end of his term.) "And if we have any hope of improving this nation, now is the time for swift and serious consequences for the failure of leadership that led to yesterday's shame."
Obama said she found hope in the victories of Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia runoff elections, adding, "I pray that every American, especially those who disagree with them, will give our new Congress, President-Elect Biden, and Vice-President-Elect Harris the chance to lead us in a better direction."
"But make no mistake: The work of putting America back together, of truly repairing what is broken, isn’t the work of any individual politician or political party," Obama concluded. "It’s up to each of us to do our part. To reach out. To listen. And to hold tight to the truth and values that have always led this country forward. It will be an uncomfortable, sometimes painful process. But if we enter into it with an honest and unwavering love of our country, then maybe we can finally start to heal."
Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.
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