Yes We Can

Hours before the election. The most important election of my lifetime. Definitely so far. Perhaps forever. Seriously. Perhaps forever. It’s that important. Hilary or Trump. Yeah, we’re all in disbelief that it got to this. I still can’t quite fathom how. Nor can most of the republican establishment. And yet, Donald Trump has a chance to be president of America. Leader of the free world.

Forget for a moment all the doubts you harbour about the power a president actually wields. Forget all your disenchantment and disillusionment with Obama. And remember that a black man was elected president of America. By the American people. Democratically. Twice. In a country built by slaves. With slave-era social policies that continue to this day. (watch Ava DuVernay’s 13th right now if you haven’t) Any child born today will grow up with the notion of a black president as a normal thing. For me, and anyone older, until the sudden appearance of Barack Obama on the national stage in 2004, the notion of a black president was so distinctly abnormal it wasn’t even really considered. The symbolic power of Obama’s election is profound and ultimately positive for the continuation of our “social progress”.*

*If we read this as the continued push towards more open and inclusive societies shorn of prejudice based on ethnicity, gender or sexual identity

Suddenly, the symbolic election of Hilary seems a hell of a lot more important now eh? She has to win. For the sake of social progress. For the sake of normalising a female president. For the sake of normalising the idea that a leader is a leader, regardless of gender.

yes-we-canThe suffragettes fought a long and hard war at the turn of the century for the right to vote. For their sake, and the sake of more than half the people in the world, we need this symbol. So that any young boy born into a staunchly patriarchal household, will forever have a seed of doubt because there was a female president. Just like the young boy born into a racist household will forever have that seed of doubt because there was a black president. The power of the symbol. It’s not about now, or the next four years. It’s about the next 50.

Forget the politics. It’s the power of the symbol. From a black president to a female president. Symbolically breaking two glass ceilings. After well over two centuries of white men. And honestly, the less said about how abhorrent this current version is, the better. Just discussing his vile, crass, unsuitability, especially given the fact that it’s fucking 2016, amid a growing social movement striving for inclusiveness… it’s just indescribably awful.  I can’t even begin to imagine…

It’s a pivotal moment in our lives. And we’re not even American. The world is waiting, and watching, and hoping one way or another. Please America. Please. You can do this. We’re all counting on you. T-minus two hours. My heart is racing. I can’t remember the last time I was this nervous. It’s like a job interview, a first date, and that moment when you’re alone in a foreign country all rolled into one. Yikes!


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