I won’t try and gloss over it; I was extremely disappointed when Barack Obama was elected President back in 2008. In the spirit of transparency the likelihood of a Democratic candidate earning my favour is basically nil. As a lifelong Conservative, Republican values typically mesh better with my own. And in the case of the 2008 US election I saw, in John McCain, a man who understood the needs and values of Americans. A man with a diverse set of experiences and achievements who would bring that wisdom to the White House. I also saw a man who would have likely worked well with then Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
That said, one thought crossed my mind on that night of supposed ‘hope & change’ in November of 2008; finally under a black President my neighbours to the south may be able to fully heal the wounds that exist in their great nation. Finally all Americans would see that race is not an issue! Martin Luther King’s dream was forming into reality, right?
No… Dead wrong!
I have waited for 8 long years for that pivotal speech. That speech from Barack Obama that would have finally put a suture in the divide. Instead, to my horror, and that of the entire world really, we’ve witnessed the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. We’ve seen annual mass casualty shootings go from double digit numbers to triple digit numbers. We’ve seen overpaid NFL stars and Hollywood celebrities talk about oppression and disdain for the very nation that stands for freedom. We’ve seen Barack Obama fail at the only task where he was a shoo in to succeed.
Coming from a moderate and broken family Barack Obama had every right to tell the American people the battle for equality was finally over. He had every right to point to himself and say ‘if I can achieve the office of President of the United States limitations in the US are colour blind!’ Obama has done less than nothing to heal the great wound of America. I’d dare say Abraham Lincoln would weep if he had been a witness to the last eight years.
So why am I, a Canadian socio-political pundit, wading into this discussion?
Because everyday I’m seeing history repeating itself.
I’m seeing young, sheltered Americans bestow the presidency upon Hillary Clinton; not on the basis of her track record or her achievements but on the basis of her anatomy. If I had a US dollar bill for every time I’ve heard some poor soul say Clinton is their choice ‘because it’s time for a woman’ I’d be sunning myself on a beach in Hawaii right now! Instead I’m here at my desk fighting for common sense. Mark my words folks; Hillary will accomplish as much for women as Barack has for Blacks.
I’m writing this to plead with those I have nicknamed Vagina Voters to please put the high-gloss card of anatomy aside. Ask yourself, if you were dying from some heinous disease would you ask if your cure was prepared by a woman, or simply by the most accomplished scientist available?! True equality, hope and change, has nothing to do with either pigment or posteriors. It’s about meritocracy and ingenuity.
Let me be clear – Hillary Clinton is not the second coming of Joan of Arc, Sally Ride or even Sally Field. She’s more of the same old Washington elite.
Over the next 4+ weeks as we approach US Election Day I will be focussing on our dear friends to the south, call it Oh Canadiana Goes Americana Month. Whether we like it or not what happens on November 8th, 2016 will have an irrevocable impact on our lives north of the 49th.