Without question there is a movement afoot and Barack Obama is inspiring and engaging the minds and hearts of Americans across generations and races and religions. In that there is something to celebrate for us all.
But I have to admit that my celebration of Obama's movement is not wholehearted. I searched myself and discovered that what's clouding the celebrating for me is the fact that while Obama and a few others are making headway and creating a pipeline for Black male political leadership, I don't see a woman of any color similarly situated. Mind you, this is NOT an argument akin to Gloria Steinem's stumbling and inaccurate portrayal of gender bias as more significant than racial bias. I am saying that women are going to have to be more intentional about finding and backing candidates up through the ranks so that there will be a similar female pipeline.
While I agree with those who lament Hillary's inextricable connection to the problematic Bill, I am also aware of the history of US politics in which the first woman governor took over for her husband and the first woman elected to the senate did so after completing her husband's unexpired term. Marriage has been the pipeline of political success (and sometimes ecclesiastical success, too)for women in the United States. As gifted and smart as Hillary is, we would not know about her were it not for her husband. That's a fact of sexist life.
I know I am feeling this concern particularly poignantly as a woman seeking a pastoral call. If you think about it, while Black men are at least as unlikely as white women to be called to the senior pastorate of a majority-white church, it is not likely that the reason they are rejected will be biblical. At this point no one credible is saying that it is God's plan that white men be in charge. Yet Black church women frequently remind one another that men are supposed to be the head.
I read AverageBro's blog this morning in which he talked about being able to say to his young son that he could grow up to be anything he wants to be. AverageBro views in Obama's candidacy the possibility that in America anyone can be president. I am not so sure that that's what an Obama presidency would mean for our daughters.
Note: For other reflections on the meaning of Saturday's South Carolina primary for Black women, check out Renita Weems's blog.