While we’ve been nearly drowning in this epic headline-making election campaign, Michelle Obama has continued to be a total life preserver. Always poised, articulate and classy AF, our First Lady may be on her way out of the White House, but people are saying she’s already established her place as one of the most important women of our time. Here’s why many are saying Michelle Obama has changed the course of American history.

Michelle Obama

In a joint piece written for The New York Times by Rashida Jones, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jon Meacham and Gloria Steinem, the four each in their own way explain how Michelle Obama “has spent the past eight years quietly and confidently changing the course of American history.” No small claim, but they totally back it up.

Michelle Obama

Though her accomplishments cannot be summed up quickly and the significance of her work cannot be lightly addressed, Rashida did cover the base points of why and how Michelle has been so important these past eight years (and beyond).

“Enter Michelle Obama, outspoken activist, a woman who isn’t afraid to remind us she is a proud African-American woman, which is, in itself, revolutionary. A former lawyer who speaks out on behalf of gay rights and gun control, she delivered an unforgettable speech at the Democratic National Convention earlier this year, shining a clear, bright light on our country’s shameful history. Suddenly, the progressives were pleased and the traditionalists were confused. The media wants to pin her down — they’ve been trying since Barack Obama took office in 2009. But you simply can’t.”

Michelle Obama

She added, “Michelle makes me feel like every choice is available. You can go to Princeton and Harvard, you can rap with Missy Elliott, you can be a mother and a lawyer and a powerful orator. You can champion the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, while also caring about fashion. You can dance with Ellen and also fearlessly remind people, on live television, of the reality of your position: ‘I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.’ You can be your husband’s partner and supporter, and also use your cultural and political capital to campaign for Hillary Clinton, unflinchingly standing up to her ‘locker room talk’-ing bully of an opponent with the battle cry ‘enough is enough!’ — eloquently putting into words what a lot of people, myself included, had been feeling.” Amazing.

Others agree…

But when it comes to what’s next for Michelle Obama, there are no limits. Gloria Steinem explains, “What will she choose to do next? That’s up to her. She could do anything, from becoming a U.S. Senator from Illinois to campaigning for the safety and education of girls globally. She could also choose to lead a private life. Whatever she decides, I trust her judgment.”

So do we. Perhaps President Michelle Obama someday soon?

What has Michelle Obama done that impressed you or left a lasting impression? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(h/t The New York Times; photos via Chip Somodevilla, Alex Wong, Paul Morigi/Getty)