Home / Op-Ed / A first lady for the people

A first lady for the people

author: elisabeth sahlmueller | contributor

Credit: UK Department for international Development via Flickr

In my opinion, there are certain expectations of how a leader should behave, and the type of qualities that individual must possess. A good leader is someone who treats people with respect and dignity, someone who has knowledge about the world to make informed decisions and most importantly is capable of speaking up for what they believe in without promoting racial hatred and ignorance, or making crude comments about another gender; Donald Trump lacks all of these qualities, and yet for some bizarre reason he still believes he is a worthy candidate in the U.S. Presidential Election. The United States has made significant progress by having Barack Obama as president for the past eight years, which is the first time an African-American has ever had this position. The fact that someone so crude, self-centered, arrogant, and outright racist and sexist could potentially be the next president is an extremely disturbing thought.

This election campaign has gone on far too long and has included way too much of Trump’s garbage comments. It is nice to see that influential people like Michelle Obama are speaking out about the serious problems with Donald Trump’s sexist attitude and degrading comments to say, “enough is enough.”

Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama gave an inspirational speech, in which she talked in great detail about Donald Trump’s most recent sexist comments. Her speech was full of a lot of strong points which not only do I strongly agree with, but ones that I sincerely hope will encourage people to vote against him on Nov. 8.

One of the first points First Lady Obama made was about how horrible it is that this type of sexist attitude still exists in today’s society. Women have been fighting for equal rights for decades, and although things have gotten significantly better, it is saddening to see this progress be pushed to the side. It is not acceptable for someone running for president to brag about sexually abusing women. To quote Obama, “Strong men don’t have to put down women to make themselves feel powerful, truly strong men lift others up and bring people together.”

She also brought up the idea of role models and the impact that people in these leadership positions have on youth. If a young boy heard this kind of derogatory comments about women, this will negatively influence him, as he will begin to believe that it is acceptable to treat women in that way; young girls, obviously, can also be negatively impacted by this, as they will learn not to value themselves, or their ambition and will lack important self respect and confidence. None of this is right and should not be the message young children receive.

As Michelle pointed out, this attitude and behaviour cannot, and should not, be ignored. It is upsetting that some people are putting this off as just unimportant locker talk, or normal politics, when this is not true. Politics are meant to improve society and people’s lives, it is not meant to make women feel devalued, hurt or fearful. Women just like men have the right to be treated with “basic human decency” and respect.

Collective action was also stressed in her speech: the idea that everyone has a voice and by taking a stand, has the ability to make a difference. Obama emphasized the importance that every individual ballot has the power to determine the outcome of the election and people should vote, to ensure that the next U.S president is someone who will be a great leader, for everyone.

I knew very little about the other candidate Hillary Clinton, but after listening to this speech and hearing about her, I know that she would be a much better choice. She is someone who cares a lot about children’s healthcare and has meaningful experience for the position. Clinton is also a team player because she was willing to work as secretary of state for Barack Obama after losing to him in the 2008 election. One little boy even told his mom that Hillary Clinton will be the next president because a president can’t call someone a “piggy.” If a child can understand how a president should behave, than adults should have no problem.

I believe that First Lady Obama’s speech will leave a positive impact on people and will likely reduce any support Trump has as a candidate. It is not okay for women to be completely downgraded and whoever believes this type of attitude and behaviour is acceptable, has no right to be president.

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