Michelle Obama Discusses With Rachael Ray How the Pandemic May Shape Our View on Voting

Michelle Obama will join Rachael Ray Wednesday in a daytime exclusive, as the former first lady campaigns to encourage people to vote, while also talking about life during quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic. During quarantine, Obama has found a new hobby, but admits she’s still mastering it.
“I’ve started knitting,” Obama tells Rachael. “Over the course of this quarantine, I have knitted a blanket, like five scarves, three halter tops, a couple of hats for Barack, and I just finished my first pair of mittens for Malia. One is twice as big as the other.”
 
And while she has gone online for knitting advice, she admits, “They don’t know I’m in the knitting community because I don’t use my real name, but I have some knitting tutors who I kind of go through to get my yarn and my patterns and all that.” 
  
One major topic close to her heart was also discussed: the importance of voting.
 
“We just don’t have those discussions anymore about the importance of voting. A lot of civics classes have been taken out of the curriculum,” she said. “A lot of young people aren’t being raised with a conversation about our democratic process and understanding how our democracy works, and the three branches of government, and state and federal separation of powers, and what the Supreme Court stands for. So many people  don’t know because we haven’t made it a priority like we did growing up.”

Obama shared that she would vote with her father, who made sure to vote in every election. “My father had MS,” she said. “That meant he could only get around with the assistance of a cane or crutches, and later he was on a motorized cart. Even as he struggled to walk down to a polling place that wasn’t necessarily suited for somebody with a disability, my father never missed an election ever, ever. 
 
“I remember voting with him when we were little, and they had the machines with the little levers that you click,” she continued. “It would close the curtain and I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is such an awesome responsibility, and my father is taking this incredibly seriously.’ When it was time for me to vote, I did it with enthusiasm and pride.”

On the variety of topics the two discussed, Obama said that the pandemic could be a lesson about resilience and serve as a reimagining of the future for generations to come.
 
“We’ve taught our kids, ‘you can make a plan, and if you execute it, this and that will happen,'” she said. “Well, we know as we get older that life throws you a whole bunch of curves. There are a lot of things outside your control. Learning to embrace that without letting it suffocate, learning how to be flexible with life, learning that there is no one way to live this life right … I’m hoping through our conversations with our young people that we’re helping them through this, and giving understanding that this is what resilience is,” she said. “This thing we talk about is being able to push through even when things are tough. When things don’t work out as you planned, to find a way to reshape and reimagine.”

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