Thursday, July 30, 2020

#NotThisTime


We are just days from presidential candidate Joe Biden announcing his choice for Vice President. He has said he will ask a woman to share the Democratic ticket with him. Some are hoping she will be a black woman. Others just want to see him in office if it means the current White House resident is promptly escorted off the premises. They don’t much care who he drags with him. Like many, I want to trust that Joe Biden and whomever he selects will make a difference in a world that is going straight to hell, sinking in a mire of quicksand faster than any of us could ever begin to imagine. Because things are bad.

The idea of a female on the ticket isn’t new. But this time it will be different. No one can argue that the women under consideration aren’t capable of doing the job. Not only are they qualified, but they can run circles around most of the men who have ever vied for the position. They are already out here fighting for better. Many have survived a storm or two. I imagine what’s coming will just be another walk through a very dark park and they will have to rise above the fray no matter what gets thrown at them.

It’s what will be thrown at them that most concerns me. Women have to take a lot of shit from men who are threatened by their presence. The horror stories are abundant, more women than not having to endure abuse that runs the gamut from verbal and emotional, to physical and back again. Sadly, sometimes it’s other women who help shovel all that crap, fueling the flames with jealousy and ignorance. I have a college-educated associate who would rather not vote at all than vote for a woman. She still subscribes to the belief that women should be barefoot and pregnant in the home and only men can lead. There are times when we can be our own worst enemy.

What I know is that any female candidate will likely be attacked on her abilities simply because she is a woman. A man with a lesser resume would be considered gold. A black woman will have the added benefit of being attacked for breathing, everything about her called into question again and again. There will be the assumption that she cannot be educated enough, or qualified enough, or just enough period. Because, after all, she is black. I don’t have to imagine the comments and memes that will follow her. I remember what was done to Michelle Obama. How she had to go high when their low was particularly vicious.

We’ll, I’m not here for it. Nor should you be. No matter who Uncle Joe picks, we will have to pull ourselves together and stand against the naysayers. We need to keep the focus on the candidate’s qualifications and the changes she and Joe will be able to affect. What damage rained down against us in the last four years will they be able to repair? And we’ll need to keep the wolves at bay. When the attacks come, we need to unify and shut them down before they can gain footing. We will need to demonstrate the ideals of sisterhood in an unprecedented way.

Recently women have been posting black and white beauty shots on Instagram tagged #ChallengeAccepted. It was intended to be a display of female empowerment. Some have questioned its purpose, and its impact, as we rally through the Covid-19 pandemic. I challenge these same women to be front and center to support the female candidate when she is besieged with ill will and condemnation. Rally around her to shut down the harassment and character assassinations that will have no validity and will only serve to be a distraction from the real issues. Use the hashtag #NotThisTime. Put your activism behind real support of another woman. Support that requires you to actually push back and be about the walk, not just the talk. No pretty pictures required. Just a staunch determination to ensure that the woman Joe throws into the flames will rise like the Phoenix. I dare you to accept that challenge.


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