After the world went absolutely crazy last week, I was reminded with the return of ads and debates that there is a special election here in Massachusetts. We have a primary here next week, and I must say, the field on both sides is rather bleak.
I’m a registered Democrat, and the two candidates that I have to choose between are Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, both of them representatives in Congress. Indeed, Ed Markey is my congressman. And frankly, I’m not in love with either candidate. I find Rep. Markey to be incredibly arrogant, entitled, and entrenched. I think that he thinks he deserves a promotion to the senate, and I don’t think that he’s working terribly hard to get it. I think that he thinks that he’s just gonna get the job. And everybody has lined up to endorse him, and that’s fine. Lynch, who is the underdog, has come out dogged and scrappy, but sometimes, I feel, for the wrong reasons. I think that he, too, feels like he just deserves the job. But I don’t think that he’s as ridiculous as Markey is.
But here is why I’m giving my vote to Rep. Lynch on Tuesday: One of his major campaign offices is on Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester, and area where not a lot of White people like to hang out. Indeed, during the first debate, that was one of the first things he let people know. Not only that, but while Ed Markey was talking about how the economy is getting better, the first words of Steve’s rebuttal was: “Not in communities of color.” In his campaign ads, Steve also says that he grew up in the “projects.” That he worked his way up and out. I appreciate the message, and I appreciate the courting. This is a man who has chosen, on multiple occasions, to speak to communities of color. He knows that part of his way into that senate seat goes through communities of color. I’m a suburban Black mom, I’m no where near Dorchester, but I know that he’d be talking to me, too, if he saw me at a rally.
I’m giving Stephen my vote on Tuesday because I appreciate his efforts. So many politicians don’t take the time.
One of the things that really struck me in November, and something that strikes me every election season, is how much money both sides spend courting suburban White women. They are a very influential demographic and they are a very active demographic. What I’ve always wanted and have been waiting for is for someone to start talking to Women of Color, urban and suburban, who are just as tapped into their communities and just as influential within their families and communities when it comes to making major political decisions. I want what most White women want: good schools, safe communities, opportunities for growth, stable job growth so that my neighbors and my family have opportunities to do more and make more money. I worry about my husband’s job just as much as the next woman. I worry about my own prospects when and if I decide to return to the work place. I am just as, if not more, informed than the average White woman regarding political issues and current events. In addition to the things that many White women think about, I’m also very concerned about diverse communities and schools. A justice system that is truly fair and unbiased, with police forces that are full, well compensated, diverse and well trained (firefighters, too!). I am all tapped into to communities that have extracurriculars that matter: Not just soccer, but chess, not just LaCross, but Mandarin. I’m very much concerned about the quality and availability of food in communities, my own as well as in urban communities. I’m worried about recess. I’m worried about standardized testing. I’m worried about recycling and green initiatives. I’m a woman involved in my political process, and I’m a woman who talks about politics with others (just ask my husband!).
In other words: Ain’t I A Voting Woman?
I’m not saying that women of color should be the only demographic courted. I’m just saying that we should be included. We should be at the table in a big way. We are the biggest untapped resource of any political party, and it’s a shame. We have just as much buying power within our families, we are just as and even more so effected by the economy. I know that the political sphere looks at us like we are a collection of stereotypes. That’s really a damned shame, because we have so much more to offer. Even if we don’t all have degrees in from higher education, most of us have at least a high school diploma if not more training from something else (vocational school, community college, though women of color are still, if I recall, one of the fastest growing demographics of college attendees and graduates). Many of us, if we aren’t married, are heads of households, which means that we pay very close attention to the news because everything that goes on in the universe effects the bottom line of our personal economies. A lot of us know how to shop prudently and well on a budget, we’re resourceful in other ways, we’re able to move our kids through the daily needs of life, we’re spiritual and involved in our communities….in other words, Women of Color are forces of nature. If someone would engage us with sincerity, and empower us, we could be a political force unlike anything ever seen.
So I’m rewarding Steve with my vote on Tuesday. I know, in my heart, that he’s most likely not going to win this primary. But I am showing my support anyway because Ed Markey doesn’t care if I vote for him. He’s just decided that I’m going to give it to him because I’m part of a demo that just blindly votes Democratic. If I wasn’t so utterly disgusted by all three gentlemen on the Republican side, I’d consider voting republican during the general election in June in Markey should win. But I can’t, because they are just so gross.
I just think that Steve knows something that a lot of politicians, even my own President, don’t seem to get: Women of Color are the future. We’re powerful and we deserve your time and political dollars. We could and should be empowered, because we have a lot to offer a country that we love and work for and move on a daily basis. Give us your political attention.