“When they go low, we go high.” It was the scripted line that inspired singer Kelly Clarkson and rapper Drake to work into their lyrics. It was the line that sent the Democratic National Convention of 2016 into a spontaneous spasm of euphoria.
When Michelle Obama suggested that was her family’s method of dealing with the nasty Republicans, Democrats and media (but I repeat myself) couldn’t replay the comment enough times, commenting on Michelle’s grace, class, and refinement.
There was only one problem. Nothing about Michelle’s conduct or speech has ever been consistent with that empty platitude she spoke for applause, not accuracy. Refinement? Michelle Obama is the woman who explicitly stated her belief that inserting scissors into the back of a partially delivered baby girl’s head, opening the scissors, sticking a suction tube in the hole, and sucking the brains out of a living child is a “legitimate medical procedure.” There’s nothing remotely refined about condoning such macabre butchery.
Class? Michelle Obama is the woman who just recently demeaned women who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton as something less than a true woman.
And grace? In what may be one of her most bizarre takes yet, the former First Lady was speaking at a women’s conference in Pennsylvania when this happened:
She said the color and gender dichotomy in Congress was particularly noticeable when she attended State of the Union addresses. “On one side of the room, it’s literally gray and white. Literally, that’s the color palette on one side of the room,” Obama said. “On the other side of the room, there are yellows and blues and whites and greens. Physically, there’s a difference in color, in the tone. Because one side: all men, all white. On the other side: some women, some people of color.” She said she would see that and think “no wonder people don’t trust politics.”
Yes, she just said that people don’t trust politics because Republicans are just old, white men. But precisely what does age have to do with trust? What does race have to do with trust? There is no way to characterize these remarks fairly without acknowledging she is disparaging people intentionally on the basis of age and race. That’s textbook ageism. It’s textbook racism.
Identity politics is not the sign of someone with grace. And for anyone still hyperventilating over her DNC speech, disparaging people you disagree with politically because of their age and race is the exact opposite of “going high.”