I have never loved Hillary Clinton.
I made my feelings about her desperate attempt to attract young voters clear last year when she dropped those problematic 'YAAASSS' t-shirts.
I casted my first vote ever in 2004 when John Kerry ran for the presidency and Black folks wanted nothing more than to get George W. Bush out of office. Despite P. Diddy's youthful and energetic 'Vote or Die' campaign, we were unable to defeat him. That night, I walked angrily pass the white kids in my dorm at my predominately white university as they cheered the election results. At the time, I really didn't know much about Kerry, but I knew that a Republican in the White House wasn't good for me or my people.
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I was a reporter at my college's school paper when the junior Senator from my state of Illinois announced he would be campaigning for the presidency, just a short ride away in neighboring Springfield, IL. Honestly, I don't remember being super excited. But I was really impressed. After all, I knew Barack Obama. Not personally. But he was the guest speaker at my high school graduation and I met him up close and personal the following year at the Expo for Today's Black Woman as he was campaigning for the Senate. Obama definitely had me at hello.
After all, if you want to win anything in Illinois, you better make nice with Black women.
On November 4, 2008, it was a warm and sunny day in Chicago. I knew it was a sign. Unlike the four years before, I was more than happy to cast my vote for the first Black President. As the evening continued, it was becoming clear that Obama was on the path to victory. I made my way to downtown Chicago to meet my friends and thousands of others in Grant Park to await the results. The feeling was phenomenal. I had the same exuberant feeling when I voted again in 2012.
I know the joy I felt in those elections is an anomaly. What are the chances of a Black Chicagoan that I have met in real life will ever run for president again? It'll probably never happen twice in my lifetime, and I am fine with that.
The presidency is a job. Like any job, you should be qualified for it. You should have relevant experience. More importantly, you should care about people. After all, it's a job that's elected by the people, for the people. That is why despite the fact that I have been critical of Clinton in the past (and will continue to be); I will be casting my vote for her as president on Tuesday.
Sure, a lot of it has to do with the fact that we simply cannot elect a xenophobic, sexist bigot.
But it's also because out of everyone that wanted to become president, Clinton is the only one with the experience and qualifications for the job. I admire her. Anyone who can grin and bear it in three debates with a human troll doll is worthy of respect. It's also my duty to my ancestors. Many of my peers spurn that idea. They believe that our ancestors and civil rights leaders fought for the right to decide if we want to participate, but that's b.s.
It is up to us to decide where this country is going. I'm voting for Clinton because I know she wants progress. Clinton has a history of saying and supporting bills that were to the detriment of my people and during this election, we've done a great job of calling her out on it. It is because of Bernie Sanders' supporters that we were able to push her from the middle (where Obama has largely stayed in his presidency) further to the left with current issues. We have challenged her to step her game up and she has. It's unfortunate that she didn't face off with a formidable opponent, but that's the Republicans cross to bear.
People may not agree but I think it is my duty to elect the first woman president on Nov. 8. As a feminist, I'm not sure if we'll have the unique opportunity to have elected a Black person and then a woman as president. It may be like the Cubs winning the World Series, a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I refuse to sit on the sideline and let hate win.
At 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, I will cast my vote for the first woman President. I may not be jumping for joy but my voice will be heard.