I’m typically a pretty optimistic person. For instance, I believe the children are our future. I believe in miracles. I even believe in magic. Despite my penchant for seeing a glass half-full, I’m not sure we gon’ make it through this campaign season y’all. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “I may not get there with you...” in his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, he knew his time wasn’t long on the planet because of the work he’d done. The speech was delivered the night before he was murdered at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968. Obviously, I’m not Dr. King, and my words don’t carry the weight of a civil rights icon, but y’all...I may not get to the end of this campaign season with you.
I have made it a point not to go back and forth with you niggas politically (the “Jagged Edge as G.O.A.T.” debate house is always open) in hopes of living my best life. Spending time on social media at times makes that difficult since the commentary around a certain black female politician lately has made me stabby. And I don’t like being stabby. Why is it making me stabby, you ask? Fine, I’ll share.
On Monday, January 21, 2019, the U.S. senator from California, Kamala Harris, announced her intention to run for the office of President of the United States. That post is currently occupied by a buffoon. You may have heard of him: Donald Trump. Fortunately, the vast majority of people I know are very much interested in one goal and one goal only: getting that white nigga out of there, which makes the stakes for the 2020 election that much higher. The goal is to elevate a person who will have the best chance of toppling the Trump.
Is that person Kamala Harris? I have no idea. I’d wager nobody knows at this juncture. It’s been less than a week since she declared her candidacy, and already folks are coming for her. You’d think Brick killed a guy. And I’m not here to argue about whether or not anybody has the right to not fuck with Kamala. That prerogative belongs to me and you, your mama and your cousin, too. What I am amazed by is just how quickly the conversations devolve from otherwise reasonable people.
In one corner, you have people who are absolutely enthused by the fact that a black woman is throwing her hat into the biggest ring possible, Shirley Chisholm-style. The fact that she’s a graduate of Howard University and a member of a Divine Nine organization (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.) gives folks like me an extra feeling of kinship. She’s been in the same type of spaces I’ve been in, which enables me to be willing to hear her out on stances she’s taken that are absolutely problematic.
In the opposite corner are people who couldn’t care less about where she’s from or who she did what with. Her record in California—especially as a prosecutor (as my boy Jason says, “her job was specifically to put black men in jail”)—rightly conjures the notion that your skinfolks ain’t your kinfolks (absolutely true, more on this at another time). For that reason, niggas are out and trying to get other folks out on her.
Then you have motherfuckers tossing birtherism into the fold. Good god.
On a personal level, as I’ve said, I’m willing to give her the space to address any and all concerns folks may have about her political past. I’ve read more than enough to know I don’t agree with many of her stances on criminal justice, but I can’t imagine she doesn’t know this either. I will assume she’s smart enough to have considered how to address those issues, either positively or negatively, in a fashion to mobilize whomever she deems her base. Maybe it isn’t me, but I don’t know that yet.
What I do know is that I can’t be out on her yet. That’s my peoples. She is more than anybody else running. It’s a fact. She’s a black woman who has worked her way up to where she is. To me, that at least deserves a willingness to listen. And it’s not just some emotional, assumed proximity statement. It’s not leading with my heart as opposed to my head. It’s being honest enough to know that perfect is the enemy of good. As of right now, I’m willing to hear what she has to say. Has she earned my vote? How could she, it’s been four days since she declared. It just turned 2019. The general election isn’t until November 3, 2020. That’s a looooong time from now.
I’m fine with nuanced discussions about why you, me, him or her (or whoever) is or isn’t a viable candidate. But the immediate sniping of Kamala on day 1 in the most obnoxious of ways is gon’ have me hating everybody before June. My birthday is in June, and I want some of you motherfuckers to come celebrate with me. That can’t happen if I want to stab everybody because of the chaotic political discourse on day 1 of a person’s candidacy. You ain’t willing to at least hear her out?
I’m not much of a fan of the idea of cancel culture, nor do I think it exists as much as we like to pretend it does. Nobody has been canceled wholesale despite the best efforts of the community. R Kelly can still make money from somebody out here. But folks are ready to cancel Kamala already for misogynistic reasons, for racial reasons, for political reasons, and for what seems like personal reasons. Already. What part of the game is that?
It kind of makes me wonder what black women we’re talking about when we say #TrustBlackWomen. Or maybe not as many folks were saying that as I thought. Those constant reminders of the value we place on black women are present at all times, aren’t they?
I don’t know how we’re going to make it to November 3, 2020.