I won’t lie.
In the begininng, I was pretty sure I’d vote for Hilary.
I’ve always liked Hilary. Despite her early career penchant for tap dancing better than Savion, I think she’s smart. Effective. A nice balance between brass balled and emotionally sound. Fair. Not so liberal that she makes no sense, not so conservative that there’s no way I could relate. And Lord knows I didn’t wanna be one of those black folks who voted for a guy just cuz he was black. What would that accomplish? What if he wasn’t right for the job?
And then I started listening to him speak.
Barack Obama is eloquent. He’s moving. And more importantly, he’s passionately invigorated about the change he speaks of. He believes not only in the concept of change, but in the possibility that the changes that he speaks about with such conviction CAN come to be. He has a set plan. No, he doesn’t have the same amount of experience as the other candidates running but maybe that’s what we need; someone who is not all that familiar with the antiquated and outdated ways this country is run. Someone who can come in with fresh ideas and perspective, someone who is literally the change he speaks of. How can you not get behind a candidate like that?
I only have one, very serious, very fundamental problem with voting for Obama.
And it’s not even his fault.
And while it is completely rational, it’s not at all fair.
With the exception of the four years I spent at Howard, I have lived in the south all my life. Especially having spent the last almost 2 years in Texas, I am more than well versed in the blatant racism that still steeps in the citizens of this country. I was barely in Texas a couple months before the night a pickup truck full of white boys brandishing a Confederate flag decided to follow me home with it’s lights off, obscenities and racial epithets pouring from the windows. Hardly seven years ago I believe it was, a black man was lynched barely 2 hours away from my front door. I think you recall 10 years ago when a man was tied to a pickup and dragged to his death.
10 years. As in 1998.
Don’t let anyone tell you that racism is dead.
I fear for the daughters of a man who is brave enough to want to lead our country despite the inherrent danger automatically entrenched in such a task. I fear for a wife, another Coretta, an archtype of a grieving widow to be scrutinized and pitied. A family who would forever become the face of a tragedy, a picture run a million times in publications all over the world. A blurb in a history book that has yet to be written.
That scares me.
And I know, logically speaking, that my not voting for him is not a big enough force to keep this from happening if it is meant to be. I also know, objectively, that this is unfair. It is not a good enough reason to keep a man from what could more than likely be his destiny. He is the right candidate to lead our nation. I believe that firmly in my heart, in a way that I am convicted about only the most fundamental things.
But still, it scares me. I am scared for a nation that may not be as progressive as I, that maybe, as I type, is stewing in hatred in the small towns of Texas or Georgia or Mississippi. That is maybe plotting the demise of a senator, a presidential hopeful, but more importantly, a father and an husband. A son and a friend.
I worry for the children left behind in the wake of tragedy, as that is my way to worry about the innocent. I worry even moreso about those children who suffer their tragedy publicly, share their grief with a world that isn’t always ready for a mirror to be turned to their deepest, darkest places. Have the Kennedy children ever led normal lives? Any of the King children? Have not their lives been defined by the early childhood violence they were forced to experience at the hands of the world, forced to deal with in the spotlight?
Come November, I will cast my vote for Obama of course. Because I believe in him in a way that I cannot remember having faith in any candidate that has influenced my generation.
But still, despite my elation at the progress that has been made, I will know fear. Fear of the unknown. Of those so radically opposed to change, those who believe staunchly in superiority discerned by race. I fear those who would rather kill a child’s father than see a nigger run a nation.