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Oct 9, 2016

Register – VOTE – Blame the Wife!

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What an election season this has been!  Like none I’ve or no one, for the matter has ever seen.  I’ve been voting since 1976 – the first time that I could.  I was a freshman at Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University).  It was like a call to duty after years of watching my parents get “ready” to go vote in Phenix City, AL.  I can recall seeing my daddy grab his hat from it’s resting place on top of the refrigerator; my mama getting her purse and swinging it over her arm in that serious, going-to-take-care-of-business kinda way.  A neighbor would be outside to pick them up for this special event.  I don’t recall a particular conversation about these “civic” duties but I do remember the air of specialness that it created there in the kitchen.

Upon arriving at Clark’s campus, getting registered to vote was one of the first things I did as an official “adult.”  I was all to eager to carry on the tradition that I had observed at home.  Through the years – no matter where I’ve lived, getting registered and voting has been an important part of my civil rights AND my civic rights and responsibilities.

When my kids were younger, I would make it a point to take them with me to vote as well as to many volunteer opportunities.  The Mister and I made sure that we had solid relationships in our church and other community organizations.  I would also make it a point to have age-appropriate political discussions with them – admittedly sometimes to their eye-rollings.   Martin Luther King’s, Jr. “I Have A Dream” speech was appointment watching every Martin Luther Kings, Jr. Day.  When they reached voting age – I made sure that they got registered and if there were in our house or in reach by a phone, they had to go vote AND send me a photo if we didn’t go together.  For me it is our way of keeping a tradition long established by my parents actions.  All three are frequent voters!

Now we come to this election season – and we all have some pretty ardent feelings about the various candidates, the issues and yes – whether voting is really worth it at all.  NO matter what, I always say – know the issues and vote according to what you want your future, the future of your family and loved ones and our country to be.  NOT voting is NOT a smart option.  In essence, a “no” vote can be a “yes” vote – but it might not be in your best interest!  I’ve heard the usual, “The lesser of two evils.” “I don’t trust her.” “He’s a money grubber.” “He stiffs the little guy/girl.”  “She should be in jail.” “He’s not a Republican.”  etc, etc, etc.  But the facts still remain, it’s up to ALL of us to make voting our civic and civil rights.  Change can begin at the ballot box.

Now to two aspects of this election that I’ve observed.  Recently I was out of the country in Bermuda.  A beautiful island.  In so many ways, it could be Hawaii – a part of the USA.  But it is not.  It is a foreign country.  We share trade arrangements, TV programs, financial and business dealings, history, military arrangements, etc. – but it is still a foreign country.  And even they have a vested interest in our election – this cycle in particular.

As a black woman, I could pass for a Bermudian.  Until I opened my mouth – then everyone from the grocery store shoppers and workers to the bus drivers/passengers to the store clerks to beach goers then knew that I AM an American!  I’ve never thought much about my “American” accent but apparently, I have one that garnered their attention.  After the pleasantries, it was all about our election.  Namely, “What’s going on in America?”  “We don’t know what will happen if Trump gets in.  He really wants to change things; including trade policies.”  (Most everything in Bermuda is imported – primarily from America)  “Trump makes me afraid.” “Hillary is tough.  I’d vote for her!”

I happen to be there the night of the first debate.  It was my last day full day there and I was busy rushing around to all the remaining places on my list.  It was so interesting to hear the chatter about as the day wore on.  I decided to listen and take note of the position that I am in.  That I can actually vote and affect the lives of not only what goes on in the USA but in other countries – even beautiful island countries sitting out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  By 5:00 p.m. there was an almost palpable stir as people were hurrying home – even the bus driver counting down to the end of her shift so that she could join her fellow Bermudians in watching the debate.  Not that they could actually vote on November 8th – but they know that their future might very well depend on the outcome of our election as well.

Secondly, this part really gets to me – aside from all of the policy issues, the emails, the taxes, the bad business deals, the inappropriate language (And tell me who is surprised by what Trump is caught on tape – which was no accident with seven other people on the bus?), etc, etc, etc. – is one point that sticks me in my wifey heart.  Should a wife be blamed and held responsible for her husband’s infidelity?  How does that make you feel?  If over 50% of marriages end in divorce – that means that approximately 50% don’t – usually with some type of infidelity involved – who thinks it’s wise to blame the wife or ex-wife for this?  This is a sad, sad side-show of a election when a candidate stoops so low as what we are witnessing.

As a married woman of over 31 years, I find it reprehensible that Trump has decided to go in this direction.  Women and men for that matter – where are you on this point?  Women, aren’t you tired of being blamed for almost everything that goes wrong in our marriages and families?  For not being pretty enough?  For not staying at home with our children?  For staying home with our children?  For not being tough enough (not having the STAMINA)?  For not smiling enough?  For not being smart enough?  For being TOO smart?  For being TOO prepared – for heaven’s sake?  For not being serious enough (not knowing the issues)?  For being too fat?  For wearing pants suits?  For being unrelateable?  The list is long.  But you know what, it’s high time that we recognize hard work, smarts, intelligence, devotion to family, commitment to our communities and causes we care about.  The ability to actually care about folks like and unlike ourselves, over the long-term; not just a one-off!

Here’s a recent local radio program where I got to express – somewhat emotionally what I think about the “Blame the Wife” strategy.  I hope and yes, pray it will not be a winning one this or any other election season.

While visiting a friend at a beauty salon, a demure older women, hair and probably nails too – freshly done, stopped and joined in on our conversation.  Not that we were talking politics, she asked, “Are you ladies voting?”  I quickly answered, “Yes!”  Waiting a bit more, she tentatively inquired about our choices.  Without hesitation I answered – I’m with HER!  She grinned real big and said she was too.  Looking at her, one might have gotten a different read of her, her life and political persuasion.  Glad I was polite, open and honest with her, my sister voter.  You never know . . .

So please watch tonight’s debate, get registered if you’re not already, and for all of our sake’s go VOTE!

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wife, mother, sister, friend. Business owner, writer, photographer. Yes, it's a lot but life is full of opportunites and we should take full advantage of them.
Scripture Memory Verse:
SMV: Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. Prov 16:3