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.