Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Politics As Usual?

I recently participated in a trivia game involving questions about presidential politics in the U.S. At the end of the game it occurred to me that except for President Obama there were very few questions about the participation of African Americans or women in the presidential election process over the past 300 years.

At first I was discouraged. I thought, like so many who rely on main stream media, that this was because of the dearth of such participation but then I pictured a couple of women standing in front of me, reminding me that just because we don’t get talked about doesn’t mean we aren’t there. We’ve been told over and over that Presidential Politics in the U.S. has always been “all old white men all the time.” We’ve been told it so often that we have started to believe it. That’s not quite the entire story.

 I’ve been "advised" that I should support Hilary Clinton even if I have reservations because she’s our first, best shot at getting real female participation in the presidential election process and getting a woman in the White House. While she might be our best shot to date she is by no means the first.

It’s way past time that we as African Americans and/or women reclaim our place and our history as participating citizens in this democracy of ours. It’s time for us to deny and deconstruct the myth that we’ve been kept down by our circumstances.  We always have been and continue to be vital members of the election process not only by our votes but by actually running for and winning offices. We need to reclaim our herstory for our sisters and daughters so that they know it can be done because it has been done and so that they don’t think they are going it alone.

My challenge to anyone reading this during this seemingly endless presidential election cycle is this – name one woman or African American in the 300 year history of presidential politics who made a significant impact and or was on the ballot somewhere in these 50 United States.  I’ll even let you cheat a little if you name one person who fits both categories. Come on, you know they’re out there. We’ve been there all along. Let’s make it known.

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