Yea! The primary’s are over, the conventions are complete, and election season is finally winding down. I can’t wait until November so I can vote and not have to endure cheesy political ads or another silent home visit with my family. I stay silent because
when it comes to politics, we are a house divided. My parents are republicans, I’m a democrat, and my husband is what I like to call “person-centered”. Meaning his political views consists of researching all sides and then picking the person that he feels is the best for the job, regardless of party.
Over the years, I believe we’ve come to learn that if we want to go on as a happy and loving family, then we need to not only choose our words wisely, but sometimes we need to just be quiet as well. Then again- every so often I like to spice things up by e-mailing or texting my parents a link to news articles or nonpartisan political fact checking groups, and alas the debate begins again!
I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard our share of less than favorable words from both sides. Yet, I wonder how many households are up in arms with a verbal smack-down over politics.
Take my own family and life experiences for example. As I’ve said above, I’m a democrat and my husband is “person-centered”, however I grew up in an old testament Christian, strict, and republican home. Each year growing up we supported the Republican Presidential nominee it seemed like with no questions asked. Signs went up on the front yard and bumper stickers plastered my parents’ cars. Moreover, I remember that there were three subjects that we never discussed, dare said in the home- abortion, gay marriage, and tax increases. In fact, today, my dad is still unapologetically republican while my mom spouts that she’s done with both sides and is not even sure if she’s an independent (lol- gotta love moms!).
I really didn’t form a political view of my own until I went off to college. I attended the historic Howard University (the REAL HU!) in Washington, DC (the epicenter of politics) so you can imagine what a transformational experience that was for me. In fact, in some instances as I reflect, it was pure liberation.
I registered to vote and started to research political parties and politicians across the board. I had political debates with friends in the caf’ and attended numerous political informational rallies. Yet, I guess what really sealed the deal is when I was getting ready to graduate college during the 2008 presidential election, I remember predicting that the then Senator Barack Obama was going to be President (don’t believe me- just as Ray Baker and my former journalism professor Peggy Lewis).
It was a heated debate, all about the democratic nomination- Barack vs. Hillary. Then to add fuel to the already political fire storm brewing on campus, that weekend Dr. Michael Eric Dyson came to speak in chapel. If you are familiar with Dr. Dyson you already know his words are commanding and colorful. Needless to say- he too had a few choice words about the election of our first African American President and African Americans today. Finally, I remember having dinner with Rev. Marcia Dyson (Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson’s wife), Jacqueline Jackson (Rev. Jessie Jackson’s wife) and my role model- the inspiring Iyanla Vanzant. It was an incredible experience that gave me more insight into the election process, but also gave me a chance to observe how we can sincerely make positive changes by coming together for what we believe in.
All in all, I found my political voice and now as a registered voter and mother of 2 under 2, being actively engaged in the political process is an amazing honor and privilege. Additionally, as a woman and an African American, having the right to vote is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly because I owe it to those who came before me who bled and died for me to have this right. Moreover, I hope to be a positive example for my kids and my community to be involved in the political process… who knows what their political journeys are going to be like. So in short, I encourage you all to spark a friendly debate about politics within your own family, quiz each other on what you know, challenge the myths, and be open to views unlike your own. Above all, register to vote if you have not already, educate yourself on all sides and don’t be afraid to support what matters the most to your household.