One Week to Change

8 years ago

The leaves are turning, the air is crisper, and my girls are completely wrapped up in their preparations for Halloween. Yep, it’s definitely fall.

Malia and Sasha spent hours this weekend putting the finishing touches on their costumes. Then they paraded around with their friends at the Halloween party we hosted on Saturday night. Malia was what she calls an “evil fairy,” and Sasha was (I can hardly believe I’m writing this) a corpse bride. They were both aiming for terrifying, but as Barack put it, they really are just too cute to be scary.

In a few days, we’ll go trick-or-treating. And then, just a few days later, it’s Election Day.

After 21 long months, the big day is almost here.

This campaign has been such an incredible experience for me and for our family. I’ve learned so much. And I don’t just mean how to travel to five states in two days, or where to find places for kid-friendly fun anywhere in America on a moment’s notice. (Though, believe me, these are extremely useful skills.)

I’ve learned that there is so much more that unites us as Americans than divides us—no matter what our differences may be. I’ve seen neighbors pitching in when the folks around them need a hand—without being asked, and sometimes without even being noticed. Strangers seeing each other struggle, and standing up to say, “I don’t know you, but I want to help.”

This is exactly what Barack has been talking about for years. The fundamental values and experiences that bring us together… regardless of our race, our political party, our socioeconomic status, our age or our gender… all the threads that connect our lives and our futures. Because the truth is, we are in this together. We will rise and fall together. And the only way that we’ll build a better future for our kids is by coming together and working together for change.

As Barack always says, We don’t live in red states or blue states… we live in the United States. And during the past 21 months, as I’ve traveled around this beautiful country, I’ve seen the truth of his words again and again.

Now, with just two weeks to go until Election Day, I’d like share with you one of my favorite memories from the campaign trail, for you to get a sense of the extraordinary strength and kindness I’ve seen on my travels.

Throughout this campaign, I’ve hosted roundtable discussions with women—both to introduce myself and our family to the American people, and to hear the questions and concerns of folks all over this country. A few months ago, I was in Kansas City, Missouri, meeting with a group of local women, when one woman started talking about her son.

He had some developmental problems, and his pediatrician urged her to give him as much enrichment as she could. But she didn’t make enough money to afford daycare. So instead of spending his days playing with other children in a lively environment, this little boy was spending his days sitting in a relative’s living room, waiting for his mom to finish work.

This mother was heartsick over how to give her son a better quality of life during these crucial formative years.

Another woman was participating in the discussion that day: a nun named Sister Berta, who runs a nonprofit agency that cares for low-income children while their mothers are at work. And after we finished our discussion that day, Sister Berta quietly went over to the woman, and offered her son a spot at her center—for just $10 a week.

It almost seemed like a miracle. Right when that woman was brave enough to tell her story, there was someone listening who could help her. And two people who didn’t know each other before that morning found their lives on a different path after we left.

I think about that moment all the time. Because that right there—that sense of cooperation, that unity—that is why Barack is in this race. Because he believes so deeply in our ability to come together in times like these—times of crisis—to overcome any challenges that we face.

It’s going to take all of us working together to build a better future. And we have to start now. This election gives all of us the opportunity to change our world. So please, make the most of this moment. Educate yourself, and your friends and family, about the issues at stake in this election. And please, no matter who you vote for, make sure you vote.

I know we can do this. I’ve met so many strong and compassionate folks on the campaign trail. Folks like Sister Berta, who knows that we rise and fall together—and who can’t stand by if the situation demands that she step up.

My family is committed to this campaign because of people like her, and people like you.

So I’ll be carrying so many stories in my heart during these final days, wherever I go—whether I’m on the campaign trail, or collecting candy from our terrified neighbors, as I go door-to-door with our ghoulish girls.

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