It’s pretty rare for me to engage in direct political conversation on this space, and I gotta admit that this is really deliberate for me. I live in the DC metro area; we breathe politics here. I was a lobbyist for almost 10 years, with an undergrad degree in government and politics. Politics are my occupational first love. What’s happening in the US right now almost defies words. I often imagine that it is like watching the midpoint of the fall of a great republic, which is shocking given that we’ve survived a lot of other bull ish.
I know who I’m voting for next month, but I won’t publicly endorse the candidate or name them since I do think that it’s a deeply personal decision, especially this year. (Of course, if you follow me on twitter, you already know who I’m voting for.) So many of us are making voting decisions based on who we can tolerate more and hate less.
This is my first election as a parent, and things are different. And in this election, that is an understatement. The crazy in the American election season this year is unprecedented.
Like many parents, so much of my political decision making is influenced by the future I want for my daughter. But even though this is my first political rodeo as a parent, I’m still voting in part based on who I think will eff up my daughter’s future less.
I am Black woman, raising a young Black daughter.
I’m guessing that you *should* be able to figure out who I’m not voting for in a few weeks.
Yesterday I was popping around a few adoption support groups when I came across a post by a parent who was defending her support of the GOP presidential nominee despite having children of color (though for me the argument could be made to just stop the sentence with “children.”). She posted about how she hated Clinton more. I get that.
What I couldn’t wrap my head around was the tacit acceptance of racist, homophobic, misogynistic, rapey, ablest, gutter language spouted by a candidate that has emboldened some pretty awful citizens to come out from their hiding places. I also couldn’t understand how that reality could be reconciled with the desire to raise children of color, or girls, or special needs children or just children to live in a safe country that values and embraces them.
What about our shared values?
Maybe we don’t have shared values.
Maybe we never did.
For me, ultimately, this is what a lot of the national discourse has been reduced to.
I’m not nearly as afraid of terrorists or undocumented immigrants or increased taxes or Russia as I am about my black daughter potentially being killed by American police, being sexually assaulted, being marginalized and bullied at her school, being accosted on the street by some crazy racist, sexist person who makes her feel threatened.
For me, the devil beyond the borders isn’t nearly as frightening as the one within them.
With each week, the discourse worsens and my fear escalates.
I genuinely worry for our collective futures.
I worry for our children.
I worry for my beautiful black daughter.
I worry for Hope.
I’m not naïve. I don’t expect everyone to vote the way I will. I don’t believe that we all share the same beliefs and values. I don’t believe that everyone hopes the best for me or people who look like me—both Black and a woman.
But I still hope that people will invest some critical thought into their votes.
If you’re really ok with a candidate who believes cozying up to White supremacists is ok, then vote your conscience.
If you’re really ok with a candidate who believes “locker room” talk includes descriptions of sexual assault, then vote your conscience.
If you’re really ok with a candidate who blasts his sexual assault accusers but can still fix his mouth to bring up the affairs of a candidate’s husband as though they are more legitimate and/or somehow different than his own narrative, then vote your conscience.
If you’re really ok with a candidate who openly mocks women’s looks and bodies and believes in punishing women in for having a voice, then vote your conscience.
If you’re really ok with a candidate who openly mocks those with disabilities, vote your conscience.
If you’re really ok with a candidate who conflates being Black with living in hellish inner cities, then vote your conscience.
If you’re really ok with a candidate who doesn’t include men and adoptive families in his family leave plan, then vote your conscience.
If you’re ok with a candidate who practiced housing discrimination, then vote your conscience.
If you’re ok with a candidate who has defended the killing of unarmed people of color by law enforcement, then vote your conscience.
If you’re ok with a candidate who cloaks himself in religion when it is expedient, specifically when there is a need to be forgiven, then vote your conscience.
If you’re ok with a candidate who lives on Twitter but doesn’t disavow a hashtag like #repealthe19th then vote your conscience.
If you’re ok with a candidate who embraces voters who actually wear racist and sexist paraphernalia with his name emblazoned on it, then vote your conscience.
If you’re ok with a candidate who waxes philosophical about a time when America was great and various citizens were legally subjugated, then vote your conscience.
I could go on; there is so much more.
Vote your conscience.
It’s hard to focus on actual policy when the mud is so thick.
I need a shower after just comprising a list.
I don’t suggest that there isn’t mud on all sides, certainly there is, and none of it makes me excited about this election. But again, my fears are more immediate, more personal.
So, this post isn’t an endorsement of anyone, but it is a call for folks to really think about what their vote means, what their conscience is really saying to them, and what they really want for the future of America.
For me, I want something different. I don’t have many options, but I definitely, definitely want something different.
I hope you do too.