Now I know what you are thinking…another post about a conspiracy theory, party baiting, how much I don’t like “fill in the blank.” Friends, it’s not that kind of post. It is more of my perspective as an African American voter and law-abiding citizen.
If you did not know already, I am a Democrat and a Christ-follower. Go figure…
Former President Barack Obama will always hold a special place in my heart. Not just because he was the first African American President. He is the first president I ever voted for as a college freshman. I remember early voting with my mom and being so excited to be a part of the process. My mom picked me up from college to bring me home to vote. After voting, I rushed to my mom and said, “Mom, I did it! I voted for the first time!” Not even going to lie but I got an applause from people still waiting to vote. (really cool).
Election Night 2008: I wish I could say election night brought the same excitement but it was not. I was sitting in my dorm room waiting for the results. When they said the projected winner is Barack Obama, my roommate left the room, slammed the door, and went to another friend’s room to express how livid she was. Me, I was secretly doing somersaults in my head. I did, however do a victory dance to “Walk It Out” for about a minute until my roommate came back. You see, I went to a Southern, Baptist Christian College where Jesus and traditional, Republican values reigned supreme. It was already enough that I was a minority far from home but I was a Democrat. There were some Democrat students who were bolder and were openly happy with Obama. But that caused tension. So I was afraid because I thought that I would lose friends and be looked at differently.
After election night, the day was full on tension between students. But a moment of relief came when a classmate said “So how do you feel about having someone who looks just like you running the free world?” It was not mean or condescening but more like he was intrigued. I conjured this response, “Seeing Barack Obama means I have no excuse to fail in life. I can do anything..be anything. Anything is possible.” But even after that conversation, I decided to hide my political party from people and rarely speak politics.
Reelection 2012: I transferred and graduated from a Military College (I was a civilian student). There was a little more diversity but not enough to freely share my views. I was involved in Christian circles where once again, not going to express my individual political prowess. I was a minority far from home and secretly a Democrat. On election night, I remembered “not caring” about the results but I was nervous. I went to the gym that evening (rare moment). I came to my dorm room and continued to wait for results. 4 MORE YEARS! I messaged my secret Christian, Democrat friend on FB. I even celebrated with another female Democrat in our dorm hall (“She said our candidate won! You are a Democrat right!?! I said “Yes!”). Such a relief.
My “coming out of the political closet” occurred as a law student. My law school had a diverse group of ideas from all walks of life. It was a relief to find people a lot like myself. So, I declared it on Facebook. I was learning the law and was really getting convicted about where I stand on issues. My faith was growing as well along with my political views. I was a grown woman doing life. Why do I need to hide what I believe? My experiences have shaped me. It’s who I am. I had to stand in my truth. Once I did it, it was relief.
Fast forward to 2018, it was important to stand in my truth then because now, I stand bolder. There is a lot of adversity, division, discrediting, and discrimination among people. There is less empathy and more hate. Facts seem relative. More name-calling and discrimination. I am not afraid of what I believe. I am not afraid to speak my mind and speak biblical truths as well. And you know what: God did not say that I had to be a Republican to reach heaven so there.
As an African American, the media likes to talk about our votes, what’s going on in “our community,” etc. An interesting question I have heard is “What has Obama done for our community?” You know what I think: Besides a few legislative victories, he has shown me that I can truly be anything with hard word and dedication. His life was not easy but he made it. So, I can make it. Yes, I can. YES. I. CAN.