As I sit up in the twilight hour, something serious prances across the amphitheater that is my brain. I am a one issue voter.
My issue: Blackness.
I was fortunate enough to grow up with a mother and grandmother who believed knowing my history was as important as showering daily. There was a point in my life where I felt as though I was the bunny in Wreck it Ralph 2 and mom just kept shoveling Black Fact pancakes down my throat. But it wasn’t until many years later that I would even begin to appreciate the constant mom-assigned book reports or quote/speech recitations in the car headed to some event I probably wasn’t really interested in going to.
What I learned and value most from the Black Trivial Pursuit that was my childhood however is that black folk are the catalyst for significant change in this country.
Black people have always been concerned about policies that will inevitably impact our people the hardest. And when a plurality of us had the courage enough to stand and fight against them, it moved the national dialogue in a way that dramatically shifted the landscape of this country. Which era am I referring to? Pick one. Because this fight ain’t new to us.
And this election cycle is no different. The 2016 election woke people up from a dream. A dream in which the country had gotten over its demons. A dream in which racism and white supremacy were only things you read about in February from the black history section of your textbook. But black people lived this daily prior to any ballot being cast.
So as usual, my people are ready with tough questions and requiring actual answers, proposals and plans. But there’s a difference this time. These issues are being put at the forefront of most of these political campaigns. Not even in a democratic primary have we heard this much talk about an agenda for Black America. Hell, we’ve been having to fight to get folks to understand the difference in experience of being a Black American.
Now, I’m not here to knock anyone’s policies or proposals. But let’s be clear, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the only candidate to have rolled out a comprehensive policy proposal designed to address the political will it took to create systematic inequality, bias and racism. So he’s immediately got my attention. But that alone doesn’t cause me to support him. It’s seeing him fail in a crucial aspect of his job as it relates to race in policing, own it, process and come back with a vocabulary of someone who’s done their homework.
Do people have concerns about him, yes they do. But, let’s be honest, there isn’t one individual in this country, black or white, who isn’t tainted in someway by white supremacy. It is a generational curse that we as a country inherited and until we deal with it, it will always be a burden. What is most important is what we do with the opportunities we have to do our part in dismantling white supremacy. The South Bend Police Department has had issues with racial tensions. As have the NYPD and Newark Police Departments. From California to Florida, there is an issue that not one Mayor, Governor or President can fix. It takes a national conversation that must be spearheaded by our national leader. Do I think he’s capable of leading that dialogue? Yes, and not because he developed the Douglas Plan. But because he understands the seriousness of this moment.
“If we do not tackle the problem of racial inequality in my lifetime, I am convinced it will upend the American project in my lifetime. It brought our country to its knees once, and if we do not act, it could again. I believe this is not only a matter of justice, but a matter of national survival.”- Mayor Pete
That sounds like someone who understands the gravity of the situation to me.
I’ve taken the time to do my civic duty and really listen to all of these candidates, and there is no one I find as consistently sincere in everything that they talk about as Pete. And that earnestness is why I trust that he will make a great 46th President of the United States of America.