Thursday, May 8

So, About Hillary Clinton

I’ve been pro-Obama in the US presidential race. I will continue to be overwhelmingly pro-Obama. Not that it matters, of course, because I do not have the right to vote in the upcoming elections, being a Kenyan citizen, resident in Kenya. Still an opinion is an opinion and I have one.

But I have to say that I’ve developed a healthy respect for Hillary Clinton. She is a very intelligent, very formidable woman. Such grit. It is not easy to be her right now but she’s doing it with courage and dignity. I cannot remain unmoved when I watch her stand wearing her best smile before a crowd on whose faces she can read a sense of resignation, of futility. Here, where the clichéd rubber meets the road, this woman has substance, is substance.

Hillary Clinton is an incredibly gifted woman, and no one can take that away from her.

Besides, I cannot 'do a moving hope speech to galvanise a generation in the tradition of Obama' to save my life, not to mention the lives of my (yet unborn) children. In the public space, I would come off, in many ways, a lot like Clinton. I see me in her. I cannot help but empathise. (I also see my challenges of identity in Obama’s struggles, but that is not here.)

It’s been hard for me to distil the thought processes and feelings of African American women during this prolonged nomination process. Because they’re the point of intersection between Clinton and Obama. I think there’s been a lot of churning going on in the private place that hasn’t poured out into the public space. Or perhaps I just haven’t known where to look.

It’s been interesting to see African American women who are “women’s women” like Oprah Winfrey and Toni Morrison throw their weight behind Barack Obama. What does this mean? Is anybody talking about why it is and what it means? You get the strong sense, (especially in Oprah’s dipped ratings), that there’s a sense of betrayal in some quarters. Is this being tackled squarely or is it being sheepishly swept under the carpet?

I can't wait for this stretch to be over, and for women (especially African American women) to begin to narrate their stories retrospectively, as they slowly come to terms with what this historic race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has taught them about themselves.

And I agree with the Clinton supporter who said the nomination race is "a marathon and she should be allowed to finish." Even if she isn't going to be the first to cross the finishing line. Let her finish. That's the kind of woman that she is, and I admire and respect that. Because that's the kind of woman I'd like to be.

Space, people. Let the woman do this on her own terms.

7 comments:

Ssembonge said...

Dignity? Certainly not the Clinton's.

Desparate, despondent, delusional, denial, dysfunctional and disgusting.

They must be showing a different set of news in Kenya.

ababoypart2 said...

Until I observed the Clinton's at very close quarters, I had a healthy respect for them. Now I find them irritating, nasty, petty and desperate. If I see that woman, Chelsea and Mr "I didnt have ....with that woman..", I will not be responsible for what happens to my TV.

Mwangi said...

I was going to post these two videos on my blog a couple of days from now, but now that you are talking about the Clinton-Obama deal, I thought I would like to these two videos because in watching them I realized something very important about the US election - I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEIR POLICIES ARE....Not that I am a political connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination but even using my pedestrian glance of Google News headlines everyday, I realized I have no clue what the policy differences are between Obama and Clinton- does Clinton have any pro-female policies? Does Barrack have any pro-black policies?
This man reminded me how far I have to come as a political citizen and he really blew me away (and he's African no less)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=S2zO5d-XZWA
http://youtube.com/watch?v=kica8hmSdAM

R said...

ssembonge and Ababoypart2, I expected to touch on some raw emotions when I posted this. It is what it is.

She's carrying on her shoulders the hopes and dreams of millions of american women, and I'm sort of glad that she's giving them time to come to terms with the grim reality that is her presidential bid before she withdraws altogether.

Some argue that she is only where she is because of Bill. I beg to differ. I think Bill became president of the United States in large part because of the 'value' that Hillary brought to his life.

I really wish she'd been running against someone else. But Obama. Obama is so what the rest of the world needs in a US president right now. Someone who understands the changing dynamics and is able to leverage them for the good of all. Bring on Obama. (But let Hillary say her goodbye.)

Mo Ma said...

I could have sworn that Maya Angelou was supporting Clinton. Actually, I think she is.

R said...

You're right, mo ma. Maya Angelou endorsed Clinton. Toni Morrison is who I meant. My bad. And thanks.

I'm correcting that in the actual post.

Lara said...

Hi R, I really empathize with you here. I haven't watched much of the election and primary because the superficial attacks on Obama and Clinton are so ridiculous I would throw my TV across the room. While I don't agree with a couple of things that Clinton supports or says, I also respect her tremendously for running in this race, especially with the adversity shown to her mostly because she is a woman (if she was the same person she was but male people wouldn't be so damned critical).
And I get so annoyed when Hillary is lumped together with Bill, as if they are the same people. It just goes to show you how rampant sexism is in our culture, that we think women cannot be their own, come up with ideas on their own.
While I also wish she was running against someone else, I also think this election is groundbreaking and amazing because we have two people from marginalized groups running for president, and at the top of the game!
Anyway, my first time on your blog, via Laurelin. Keep it up :)