by K.C. Wise
We learned a lot about politics this go around, didn’t we? We learned that when it’s a mid-term with a “tough” map, Democrats do two key disastrous things: First, they run away from their President and in so doing, they, second, run away from their values and their base.
Until the last minute, when they come crawling back.
Who is the base? People like me … the young, the brown, the attentive, (and usually) the female.
Ain’t I a voter, too? Won’t you come talk to me? You want me to turn up and give you my one precious vote?
Turn up? For what?
So I’ve been listening to the strategists lose their minds and come up with their excuses: young people don’t come out during off years, they’re saying. Brown people don’t come out during the mid-terms, they’ve decided.
Oh yeah? I’m young, I’m brown, and I come out in the off years. So do my friends. But ya’ll didn’t talk to me… So no, I wasn’t putting much effort into your campaign. No, I wasn’t showing up to your rallies. No, I’m sure as hell not going to be giving you any money for your efforts!
Look, don’t ask me and mine to be the reliable cavalry without looking me in the eye and telling it true. Don’t stand next to Al and Jessie, evoking the same three lines from the Civil Rights Movement without even a drop of sincerity.
You know what you need to do? You need to start governing like you see my struggles. You need to start putting up legislation and executive orders that does something to improve my life. You need to come out and see me and know me (not the stereotypes and tropes that you obviously believe, but the real people, with names and lives and faces.)
Go to church with me. Show up at my town hall meetings in my neighborhood. Show up at my grocery store or my favorite park. Come see me at my house in my living room. Do it years before the election. Do your damn homework and your footwork. Come tell me why I make sixty-four cents to every dollar my white male counterparts make and how you are going to fix it. Tell me why my son’s inner-city peers are always stuck with undertrained, undersupplied, underperforming teachers, and what you are doing to stem the tide. Tell me how health insurance for every family in the United States is good public health policy for our community and good financial policy, too. Tell me that you’ve been taking us for granted for generations, but not anymore.
And don’t run away from my President just because rural, conservative White people don’t like him. When you throw him under the bus, you throw us, the young and the brown who brought him in and kept him in, under the bus, too. When you just straight up turn your back on our president, you tell us that you think of us as a good stepping stool, but otherwise unworthy of your time or efforts.
Are you telling me that, in a year that saw civil unrest and militarized response (against the young and the brown) blatant and deliberate disenfranchisement (of the young and the brown) and a complete lack of movement on student loan reform and wage inequality (that disproportionately hurt the young and the brown), you had nothing to say to me?
Turn up? For what?
Hey, you know what, though? I actually did turn up. I gave ya’ll my vote because I care, and I gave it to a candidate who I knew was going to lose and who didn’t actually care about me at all. I was a fool for that. That’s my own damn fault. I’m not going to do that again next time. But you know what? If ya’ll had put just a little more effort into talking to my four friends who didn’t vote (despite my lectures and cajoling), you might not have had to lose to your opponent the way you did, you know?
And I really hope your girl Hillary is watching, because she could be looking at the same fate. Because ya’ll don’t really think that I’m going to come out for your girl in 2016, do you? Do ya’ll want me to come out for that guy who was a beloved president for my community, who, as you recall, did everything he could to prevent my current president from getting elected? (And who has been a pretty tepid supporter ever since? I see you, Bill… I haven’t forgotten!) I know that Bill has that nice office in Harlem, but I never hear about Hillary showing up there. What do you know about me?
Turn up, Dems? For what?
Shake off this recent political onslaught, take a deep breath, and figure out how you’re gonna start over. I’d start by re-working that message for Millennials. Scratch that. I’d start by telling all the talking heads to stop blaming me.
K.C. Wise is a married Millennial Mom raising two bi-racial (B/W) boys in suburban Massachusetts. You can find out her thoughts about mothering, homemaking, writing, renovating a 100 year-old farmhouse and other musings at her blog: blackbunchedmassmom.wordpress.com.