Politics is tricky for me. For most of my life, I didn’t think it applied to me. As a kid, I always spoke up when I didn’t think things were fair, but I did not realize that “fair” is often determined by policy. In my late 20s, I realized that I had a very clear social conscience and strong opinions about things like diversity, equality, and education, and while I tried to become more politically literate, I just couldn’t catch on. It felt like I had walked into a movie that had already started and no one would explain what had happened. Then came Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, and for the first time, I heard a politician who talked about things that mattered to me, like inclusion, fairness, justice, and true civic engagement. He used language that didn’t distance me but instead invited me into the conversation.
What I learned is that politics is, in fact, inextricably linked to my rights as a human being, which can be daunting, but also exciting. Even if politicians spew confusing, convoluted jargon, these people are still meant to represent me, and the only way that happens is if I stay informed and vote.
There is a lot happening in our country right now and a lot at stake in this election. Many Americans are truly struggling, have given up hope, are scared, or don’t see the point in getting involved when they are being shown their lives don’t matter. Human rights, race relations, gender politics, health care, and foreign policy — it’s a lot to keep track of, and yet all of these things affect us in our daily lives. Making sense of everything requires meticulous unpacking of feelings, delicate navigation of social norms, and a community of love to help along the way.
Our two main candidates are very different in the ways they would handle these issues and represent us. For me, the priority is to find a candidate who makes me feel safe and heard, who can continue to move our country forward with the interests of all of us at heart, even those with differing opinions, beliefs, and experiences. I have had my own trepidation about speaking up and sharing my opinion over fear of alienating others. But in facing my fears, I have decided to use my voice to remind people about the importance of voting and share why I have decided to support Hillary Clinton.
Source: Cosmopolitan/Tracee Ellis Ross