The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Edith Childs, the surprising star of President Obama’s State of the Union address

She isn’t Dana Carvey’s church lady.

Edith S. Childs, the 66-year-old Greenwood, South Carolina councilwoman who coined the 2008 Obama campaign slogan “Fired Up! Ready to Go!,” won the State of the Union meme contest last night.

Didn’t know there was a competition brewing? Well technically when it came to Childs, there was none.

[For Obama’s last State of the Union, two campaign icons are fired up and ready to go]

Childs, who’s remained close to the Obamas since 2008, was one of 23 guests seated in the first lady’s box on Tuesday night. In an interview with the Post White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett explained that Childs was a “symbol of the power in each American to change our country.”

But on social media, “Miss Edith” — who was caught on camera wearing a gloriously bedazzled exaggerated pillbox and no nonsense glare all too familiar to black church goers — was a symbol of nostalgia, respect and silent judgement.

“She’s sitting there like she wants to take a switch to Paul Ryan’s non-clapping a–,” wrote humor blogger Luvvie Ajayi in a post entitled “Winning at SOTU: Miss Edith Childs. Losing: Kim Davis’ Mullet.

And the unadulterated praise continued.

It was the expert combination of her luminous outfit, those stern spectacles and that piercing soul-crushing gaze that made Childs’s appearance so memorable. She looked both overprepared and completely unperturbed. Excited to be there but also so over it. Basically she stole the show by showing up in her Sunday Best.

In her interview with the Post, Childs, a retired nurse, echoed that same sentiment: “I’ve just been told I need to show up, and I will show up.” And she did that.

Loading...