‘When They Go Low, We Go High:’ Michelle Obama Explains Her Memorable Catchphrase

Our former FLOTUS wants America to make the choice to ‘go high.’

Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama explained the meaning behind her memorable motto, “When they go low, we go high,” which she said in a speech during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, supporting Hilary Clinton‘s presidential campaign.

During a November appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Obama broke down what she meant by the catchphrase.

“Do we really have to ‘go high’ when they go low,” Colbert asked?

“I totally understand going high when somebody goes low,” Colbert told her, “but the bar is so low that staying at your own altitude still means higher. Do I actually have to go up here or can I just be normal? Do I have to be a saint? Because down here, I’m pissed off!”

“For me, going high is not losing the urgency, or the passion, or the rage, especially when you are justified in it,” Obama said.

“Going high means finding the purpose in your rage. Rage without reason, without a plan, without direction is just more rage. And we’ve been living in a lot of rage.”

The Independent reported that Obama explained going low as a quick fix that does not solve anything over the long term.

“I’m trying to push us to think about solutions that will actually unite us and get us focused on the real problem. That’s what I mean when I say ‘go high,’” Obama concluded. “So yes, go high. America, please, go high.”

According to Daily Beast, in Obama’s new book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, she writes about the many people who have approached her, curious to know the meaning behind the seven-word catchphrase.

The catchphrase has been printed everywhere, on products including coffee mugs, T-shirts, and other novelty items.