Michelle Obama breaks down why voting Biden in—and Trump out—will end America's chaos

For eight years, Michelle Obama had a front row seat to the U.S. presidency. Perhaps more than any other citizen, she's seen what that job entails and what the character of the person holding that office means for their ability to do the job.

As the world's most admired woman several years running, Obama has an audience. And though she's famously detached from the nitty gritty world of politics, she has the first-hand experience to offer some words of wisdom. Today, she's done just that.

In a 26-minute video posted to social media, Obama makes a "closing argument" for ending the Trump presidency and opening a new chapter of decency and calm with Joe Biden. In it, she lays out where we are in this crazy, chaotic moment and explains how the president has contributed to getting us here. "Let's be honest," she says. "The country is in chaos because of a president who isn't up to the job."

She also lays out reasons for voting for Biden, whom she calls "a leader who has the character and the experience to put an end to this chaos, start solving these problems and help lighten the load for families all across the country."


It's clear that the former First Lady filmed the video prior to the president contracting COVID-19, as she doesn't mention the diagnosis (or the irresponsible insanity that has followed) in it. She also shared this message on Facebook with the video:

"I understand if the last few days have felt like a whirlwind. My heart goes out to everyone touched by this virus—from those in the White House, especially the Secret Service and residence staff whose service to this country ought never be taken for granted, to all those across the country whose names and stories most of us will unfortunately never know.

The truth is, the events of the past few days are a bracing reminder of the tragedy that has been this administration's response to this crisis. And I'll be very honest: This is a message I'd planned to release earlier, and after everything that's happened, I weighed whether or not to go public at all. But I wanted you all to hear what's been on my mind. Because the drama of the past few days has only emphasized what's at stake in this election, from the coronavirus to a constant drumbeat of fear, division, and chaos that's threatening to spiral out of control. There's only one way we can pull ourselves out—by voting for my friend Joe Biden, who's got the heart, the experience, and the character to lead us to better days.

So I hope you'll watch, and I hope you'll share this video with everyone you know who might still be deciding how or if they're going to vote. And more than anything, I hope you'll vote for Joe with power, with passion, and with a love of this country that cannot possibly be denied."

Michelle Obama's Closing Argument | Joe Biden For President 2020 youtu.be

There's a lot of compelling stuff in there, but here are some highlights worth revisiting.

On Trump's values:

"A president's policies are a direct reflection of their values and we're seeing that truth on display with our current president who has devoted his life to enriching himself, his family and other wealthy people he truly understands, cutting taxes for the rich and big corporations, cutting regulations that protect regular families from getting taken advantage of by people like him, cutting his friends loose from prison time. He boasts about gains in the stock market, but when you look at the lives of regular folks, whether it's creating blue-collar jobs, making healthcare more affordable, protecting the environment, keeping our family safe from gun violence, let alone the coronavirus, there's nothing much to brag about."

On Biden's values:

"By contrast, Joe Biden has lived his life guided by values and principles that mirror ones that most Americans can recognize. I know Joe. He is a good man who understands the struggles of everyday folks. When he was a kid, his dad lost his job. His family had to move to find work. As a young man, he quit his job at a lucrative law firm to serve as a public defender protecting the rights of those who couldn't defend themselves.

He continued to serve this country, even in the face of unimaginable tragedy, losing his wife and baby daughter, later in his life, his eldest son. Relying on his deep faith in God to carry him through, never growing cynical and always willing to see the humanity in us all. It is that spirit, that determination that will make Joe the kind of president we need right now, one who will continue to put the needs of the country before his own to ensure that all families can get back on their feet and our economy can get back on track."

On how Biden will help the nation recover from the pandemic:

"He'll start by getting this virus under control, working with a broad coalition of leaders to develop a national strategy that will include mandatory mask wearing and free testing. He'll get schools the resources they need to sort through this confusion. He will listen to doctors and scientists to make sure that any vaccine will be safe, effective and available to everyone.

Joe Biden will also get back to work solving problems that this president has ignored or made worse these past four years. Joe will give working families a tax credit for childcare. He'll roll back those tax cuts for the rich and instead help small businesses and working families. He'll lower the cost of prescription drugs and give every American access to affordable health coverage. He'll work to restore trust between police and communities of color and address the racial discrimination that has plagued us for far too long. He will protect our planet. He will invest in our schools and bring people together to get something done, even across our differences."

On thinking beyond partisanship with your vote:

"I want to ask every single American, no matter what party you normally vote for, to please take a moment to pause. Click off the news. Think about how you felt over these last four years, how quickly things have turned and then think about what next four years could mean for our country's future, the message we will send to our children about who we are and what we truly value. Think about what would possibly compel you to accept this level of chaos, violence, and confusion under this president and be willing to watch our country continue to spiral out of control. Because we can no longer pretend that we don't know exactly who and what this president stands for."

On bringing competence and maturity back to the White House and ending the chaos:

"Right now, we've got a chance to start getting things back under control, to restore some stability and integrity and soul in this country. It is within our grasp. That's what keeps me going, thinking about a time not all that far off, with a new president in the Oval Office, a trustworthy, honest, stable leader with a clear plan for controlling this virus and getting our economy back on track. With meaningful support for families and schools, with competence and maturity instead of chaos and confusion. It is possible. It really is, but only if we vote for Joe Biden in this election. We have all been working so hard to keep ourselves and our families afloat and we deserve a president who will do the same."

Please vote, and vote early if possible. Visit vote.org to register to vote and find out about voting deadlines in your state.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
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When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

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From the skies to the ground, these airplanes continue to serve a purpose.

This article originally appeared on 09.18.15


What happens to airplanes after they're no longer fit to roam the skies?


An abandoned 747 rests in a Bangkok lot. Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images.

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
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The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

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AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

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Dear Beauty,

Time is crawling to January 20th, the one-year anniversary of the day you took your final breath on my chest in our bed. We had a dance party the night before. Your posse came over. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, closest friends, and your loving nanny Tia. We sat in the warm kitchen with music on and passed you from one set of arms to another. Everyone wanted one last dance with you. We didn’t mess around with only slow songs. You danced to Havana and Danza Kuduro, too. Somehow, you mustered the energy to sway and rock with each of us, despite not having had anything to eat or drink for six days. That night, January 19th, we laughed and cried and sang and danced. And we held each other. We let our snot and our tears rest on each other’s shoulders; we didn’t wipe any of them away. We ate ice cream after dinner, as we do every night. And on this night, we rubbed a little bit of fresh mint chocolate chip against your lips. Maybe you’d taste the sweetness.

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