Kamala Harris won my heart for many reasons. Her Vice President acceptance speech, however, really resonated.
Politicians (or their wives), for years, have harped on and on about their traditional families.
Women politicians who have birthed a child, in particular, preface most of their speeches with “as a mother” or “as a mom.” It’s as if giving birth conferred a super power that other women simply wouldn’t understand. Childless and childfree women the world over cringe or recoil when this phrase is used.
Long time readers know I’ve made a point of chastising the ‘as a moms’ — from Ann Romney to Michelle Obama. (Girlfriend, Michelle, I love you, but lose this modifier, please!)
Kamala Redefines Family
This week, however, Kamala changed all that. An accomplished, strong and charismatic leader, Kamala chose to marry at 49. Her husband had two children in a previous marriage whom she now adores.
I’ll admit I had my concerns and fretted last night that Kamala would lead with the ‘Momala” card — a term of endearment given by her self-described step-children. She used this moniker several times when first named as Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential pick.
But Kamala surprised me and brought a smile to my face almost as radiant as hers. As she lauded her now deceased mother, Shyamala, for shaping who she became. Kamala said this:
She [Shyamala] taught us to put family first—the family you’re born into and the family you choose.Family, is my husband Doug, who I met on a blind date set up by my best friend. Family is our beautiful children, Cole and Ella, who as you just heard, call me Momala. Family is my sister. Family is my best friend, my nieces and my godchildren. Family is my uncles, my aunts—my Chitthis. Family is Mrs. Shelton—my second mother who lived two doors down and helped raise me. Family is my beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha…our Divine 9…and my HBCU brothers and sisters. Family is the friends I turned to when my mother—the most important person in my life—passed away from cancer.
“You’re my role model who taught me I can do and be anything I wanted. Now you’re showing so many girls around the world who look like them what’s possible and what it’s like to move through the world as a fierce, formidable, phenomenal women in their own unique way. We’re so proud of you Auntie!”
3 thoughts on “Kamala! Finally A Politician Who Sees Us”
Okay, you brought tears to my eyes reading this too. How wonderful to acknowledge the wider meaning of family – including the family we choose.
And this – your last sentence. “It’s a pivotal cultural moment for all women — regardless of whether they are mothers or not.” And I would just add, regardless of whether they realise it or not. Because many of those mothers won’t necessarily realise how important this is. How it sees them as valuable, not just because they have a working uterus, or have been able to parent, but because of who they are.
I will admit to being just a wee bit annoyed with how frequently she brings up the fact that she’s “Momala” — no doubt trying to make herself more “relatable” to the fortunately childed majority. (Can’t blame her for that.) But this is great. :) I think she’ll be a fabulous VP (& possibly someday President herself). Go, Kamala! :)