Sarah Larson in The New Yorker:
Michelle Obama, who provided us with our purest moment of levity last week, provided us with our purest moment of sanity last night. She also delivered the night’s most inspiring message. The Obamas have been a bittersweet presence in this campaign season—a poignant reminder, for the many of us who love and admire them, that while we duke it out to choose their successors, the family currently occupying the White House cannot be surpassed. Michelle Obama has been the ultimate FLOTUS—funny, wise, wholehearted, down to earth, even in the moments when we’ve suspected that she wouldn’t mind some privacy or freedom. During the misery and surreality of the Republican Convention, FLOTUS was a presence in two significant ways. The first was during the Melania plagiarism flap. For a few hours after Melania’s speech, before the story broke, some of us thought, Ah, not bad! One of the few vaguely sane speeches we will hear this week. To realize later what had inspired it was heartbreaking. When videos of Melania and Michelle’s similar lines were edited to play side by side, Obama showed warmth, heart, conviction. To see those words melted down into a speech promoting Donald Trump only enhanced the sense that we are living in a dystopian novel.
…Obama’s speech was both subtle and direct. She appealed to our maturity, talking about hardworking, idealistic Americans of all backgrounds. I wish the night could have ended after this speech, which invoked everything from police shootings to Orlando to segregation and sexism, foregrounded the greatness of our national ideals, and inspired us to continue fighting for change.