The title made you click this post! You’re already ready to debate and tell me I’m wrong! You’re wondering what the heck I have to say! That’s fine…I accept that because I was prepared when I clicked publish! So let’s get right into it.
It’s been ONE FULL YEAR since President Donald Trump has taken oath as the 45th President of the United States! Can you believe it? I can’t! But to get to the heart of the issue I need to confess.
NO, I DID NOT VOTE! NO, I DON’T FEEL BAD FOR NOT VOTING! I DID NOT VOTE and THAT WAS MY CHOICE!
In 2012, I had the pleasure of voting in my first presidential election. President Barack Obama was running for his second term and chances were high that he would be re-elected. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I got up early and went down the street to my voting poll with my parents to vote for POTUS. I was smiling ear to ear because I was finally able to take part in what was said to be “what my ancestors fought for”! (We’ll talk more about that later…)
I was stuck in the “My President is Black” syndrome. But realistically, I wasn’t into politics and I didn’t know much about his policies, beliefs, or what he had done the previous four years to deserve to be re-elected. It was something I took for granted and swept under the rug because I was young and at the moment POTUS didn’t mean that much to me, but I knew he was Black and that would go down in History. To say not only did the first Black President serve one term but TWO would be LEGENDARY! I felt feelings of joy as I was taking part in electing for a second term the first Black President of the United States. After casting my vote, I immediately posed for a picture wearing my “I voted” sticker. I even competed in a competition to be eligible to attend his presidential inauguration! I WON along with 6 other students. This was the talk of the town in my city and we, students were featured in Newspapers and television broadcasting for weeks because we were going to President Obama’s second inauguration.
On January 21, 2013, I watched our president, Barack Obama take oath for his second term as I stood in the green section of the lawn on what seemed like the coldest day ever!
When it was FINALLY time to vote again…I was a senior in college and I actually cared about our political climate! I thought it would be a great opportunity to actually look into each candidate and check their policies and what they stood for and how they would help and continue to advance this country into the right direction.
However, when I realized that the final two candidates that I had to choose between to run the future of our country was Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I was met with much disappointment and heartache.
“This is a joke!” (My first reaction)
“Are you kidding?” (My second reaction)
“I’m going to wake up and this won’t be true…The real presidential candidate will come” (My third reaction).
I felt like I was being told directly to my face that I didn’t matter. As a Black Woman in America my whole presence and existence was being threatened because I had the privilege (sarcastic voice) of choosing between two white supremacist who have proven that they viewed Blacks as inferior. So, what do you do?
Several have fought me on my decision stating that I should have chosen the lesser of “two evils” with Hillary being the “lesser”. Some have stated that our ancestors have fought for our rights to vote and that we should exercise that freedom and right regardless.
However, I believe that if my ancestors had to choose between two individuals who did not value their livelihood that they would resist the offer. I believe they would fight and protest their rights by demanding someone more capable steps into office. I believe one of them would step up themselves and try to make change happen. My ancestors did NOT fight for the “lesser of two evils”…they fought for JUSTICE, FREEDOM, and EQUALITY. Martin Luther King Jr., along with so many others highlighted voting as a necessary and key component in making real change (I KNOW!) So, I’m not negating that argument as truth but what I am saying is that when voting for a Presidential candidate, you desire to feel like you are voting for someone who is FOR the people and that means ALL people.
Moral of the story: No, I didn’t vote in this year’s election, NO I don’t feel bad!
What this year has done is shown us that we can NOT afford to get comfortable! There is still so much work to be done in our current political climate for justice, freedom, and equality! If we ever forgot or thought we were good, this presidency has displayed to us LOUDER than we’ve heard before that we STILL have work to do! Dr. King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, the Freedom Riders, along with SOOO many others work was just the beginning. We are still fighting the 1%, we are still fighting racism, we are still fighting hate crimes, we are still fighting and as Assata Shakur has stated “It is our duty to fight for our freedom”!
I believe that when focusing on voting, we should also focus on local politics because electing qualified candidates in our own communities, in our own neighborhoods will begin the process of making and implementing real change throughout the world. Start local and aim high!
“Your silence will not protect you” – Audre Lorde