The Black Woman Who Put an End to the Clinton Myth

The cards are definitely on the table for the November 4th date. Barack Obama won, putting an end to one of the most intense and tough battles for the United States primaries. Now is the moment of delicate decisions that should first take into account the Senate elections, the selection of his number two, and after, for the decisive moment of the presidentials, the competition being the Arizona Republican Senator, John McCain. However none of this would have been possible without Michelle.

The primary campaign has allowed us to discover the personality of Barack Obama´s wife, born as Michelle La Vaughn Robinson, raised in a modest black family that lived in a working-class neighborhood of southeast Chicago. Daughter of a municipal employee, who worked hard despite his fragile health, Michelle just like her brother Craig, was educated in one of the best universities. Her father, with long office hours, and her mother swamped with the everyday household tasks, always wanted their children to be proud of their educational legacy.

Michelle unlike Barack, who is the son of a black father and white mother, is the prototype of an African American woman. Her being a black woman has affected her at different times, above all during her time in university, where she saw how her white classmates first looked at her as black other than as a student.

Educated, thanks to the perseverance of her father, in elite universities such as Princeton–Sociology and African American Studies–and Harvard-–Law, her professional career has been more successful than that of her husbands, first working at a private company and later in the public sector. In her last job, where she asked for a sabbatical that would allow her to be at Barack´s side during the electoral campaign, she was making 275,000 dollars a year. Practically the double of a senator, her husband’s current job.

Unusual Cross between Jackie and Barbara

She did not fall in love with Barack for his brain–as Carla Bruni said of Nicolas Sarkozy–but for his democratic convictions, his pedagogy is that if you have talent it should not be sold to the highest bidder, but used for the service of others. But at the same time she is a practical woman, a force to be reckoned with, that from day one brings her husband down to earth. For those who get excited about the senator’s words, Michelle showed them who slacks off on chores; he doesn’t give much attention to putting socks in their proper place; putting butter on the rest of the toast; and is lazy about putting used dishes and silverware in the dishwasher. In other words who wears the pants and who helps him achieve his dreams is her.

Unusual cross between Jackie Kennedy-–for her elegance and demeanor–and Barbara Bush-–with whom she shares spontaneity and pragmatism, the campaign showed us the style accompanied with her strong personality: Angela Merkel style pearl necklaces; thick belts with a certain old-fashioned air; a palette of well defined colors with prevailing violets; and sleeveless dresses that display a woman who rolls up her sleeves day to day. Both Bill and Hilary underestimated her, but both paid a high price with her debut in the primaries facilitating balance and strength in Barack´s weak moments.

In front of those who doubted between her as first lady and Bill as first gentlemen, Michelle came to the realization that with each encounter with the Clintons, the Clintons showed arrogance and contempt at the way the primaries were going. She then became the perfect defense for the senator in a process where he had to fight for each vote, along thousands of kilometers, in a marathon throughout the whole country.

But now comes the implacable moment of the fight. In the end, the truly historic moment is not the possible arrival of Barack to the White House, but that of Michelle, conscious from a young age of her roots, who at a moment before both become tenants at the White House, made a faux pas by saying that only now does she feels proud to be an American. It was her only slip-up, but one that could cost a lot more in the presidential election that is without a doubt the most important in the United States since the historic presidency of JFK

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