Warning: Random ramble ahead. Proceed at your own risk.
There was this meme that I saw on social media about Secretary Hillary Clinton. It was shortly after she'd clenched the democratic nod and gave her acceptance speech at the DNC. This person had changed her profile picture to the infamous "H" with the arrow and underneath it said these words:
"Girl, I guess I'm with Her."
I have to be honest and say it made me laugh out loud. And while I can't say that meme spoke to exactly how I felt personally, I'd be dishonest if I didn't say that some piece of that statement didn't resonate with me just a tiny bit.
And let me be clear: I was never really not on board. Like, I had been following Hillary Clinton for some time and was fully aware of her tremendous track record. Her commitment to the "least of these" didn't just pop up out of the blue. This woman has been a champion for others her entire adult life. All it takes is just a few moments of looking over her history and you have to admit it to yourself right away that, when it comes to her resume, Hillary Clinton is one dope lady.
Dope, in the urban vernacular, is one of the highest compliments one can give. It suggests more than just "cool" or "really good." It suggests that someone is. . .well. . .the ideal. Yeah. That.
So yeah. As far as doing stuff and showing up is concerned, Secretary Clinton is pretty dope. But still. Regardless of that fact, there was something that held some people back from seeing her as universally dope.
Does this even make sense? Let me try to unpack it.
Okay, so check it. When Barack Obama stepped up on the DNC as a senator in 2004, I felt my heart racing. His voice, his swagger, his intelligence, his essence grabbed me by the chest and pulled me in close. And maybe I was late to it all, but honestly, this was the first time I'd really heard of him.
Yep. I admit it.
But after that, I started following him. I read about him, learned about him and joined the legions of folks who hoped this man would run for President. Yup. And damn, was I among the over-the-moon elated who jumped for joy when he said that indeed he would.
Being with him was a no brainer. Not only did I like his policies and plans for our future (and I respect that some reading this did not) the thing I recall the most was liking him. He was cool. His infectious smile made me do the same. He was this biracial man who identified with black culture and navigated it so smoothly that it welcomed others in instead of making them feel like outsiders. And all of it was amazing.
Universally dope, even.
I had an Obama sign on my lawn. I canvassed parts of Atlanta and made some phone calls. I genuinely cried big, fat crocodile tears when I couldn't go with my friends to Washington D.C. for the first Inauguration and cried through the entire swearing in. That was a magical time. We didn't need a sign to tell us that this symbolized hope. We felt it.
And listen--this is not a post designed to polarize. Like, I am aware that some of my friends who read this blog felt true sorrow during this time that stands out as a special piece of my life history. I respect that, too. I do. But really, I'm just trying to understand my emotions about the recent election process and the outcome. Reflecting on the last candidate I supported is a part of that.
I hope that makes sense.
Anyways. So even though I knew for sure that Secretary Clinton was highly qualified, every time she stood up to speak, I felt nondescript. And no. It wasn't like this overwhelming sense of distrust, which does happen sometimes with people I see or encounter. But more just this mourning I felt and longing for the connectivity my heart immediately felt for Barack Obama.
The first time I cast a vote in a presidential election, I was 18 years old. It was an absentee vote for Bill Clinton and I sent that form in with glee. He, too, left me giddy. And at 18, seeing a presidential candidate playing a saxophone on a late night talk show?
I was older when I voted for John Kerry. I honestly liked him, too. It felt good to get behind him. It did. And no. It wasn't Barack Obama good. But good. Big and pregnant, I pushed the button with his name on it. Sure did.
Bernie made me smile a lot. His curmudgeonly passion ignited a lot in me and especially in my husband. And, okay, pound for pound I'd say that as far as the "like" button goes, I found him more likable. Yeah, yeah, I'll admit it. I "felt the Bern." But not in this overwhelming way like I'd felt in 2004 and 2008. So I was sort of left with this in between feeling. Like, "I sure appreciate y'all putting your hat in the circle and riding hard for folks like me and my patients." But that was about it.
So as things reached a fever pitch and Secretary Clinton's campaign rolled forward, I did my duty as a card carrying democrat. I gave money and spoke positively. And though I did feel annoyed by the whole email scandal thing and how distracting it became, I got on board with the pantsuit nation. But as I look back, I think I did it in that way you do something you're supposed to do, you know? Like a middle school kid who washes dishes without being asked.
Awful analogy, I know.
But the thing is, that's why that meme is in my head right now. The "I guess I'm with her" sentiment oozed out of the world of Instagram and Facebook and made its way into hearts and minds. This seething indifference brewed in the very people who metaphorically marched on Washington to get Barack Obama elected not once, but twice. And it was unfortunate.
I was with her. But I realize now that it wasn't in the way that I was with him. Even though I wanted to be.
Does this even remotely make sense? Sigh. I don't know.
So I guess beyond the stunned feeling, I'm conflicted. I'm not so sure I or even we left it all on the field this time. The lukewarm emotion that some of us felt was probably telling. And the fact that a meme that said "I guess I'm with her" going viral might have been a sign.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Here's what I know for sure. It's not enough to galvanize people to vote against someone. The masses need to feel driven to vote for the party's endorsed candidate. And though qualifications matter, it seems like liking the person matters, too. Not just from the popular vote standpoint but obviously all the way up to the level of the electoral college. I don't know the answer to making all of that happen. I don't.
To those who were truly, deeply with Hillary Clinton from the very start and to the very end, I apologize for letting you down. I eventually got on board but today wish I'd gotten on with all of my heart like I did in 2004. And while I did vote and give to the campaign, I guess I'm just realizing that this isn't enough. It just isn't.
So what happened has happened. It did and it has.
And I get it that someone will find this offensive. Like it's indicative of some self hate I have for myself as a woman or the idea of a woman as Commander in Chief. But I think a lot and in my heart of hearts, I don't think it was the woman thing. I don't. I guess I'm just thinking that it was this absence of universal dopeness thing that created a gigantic "meh" for the people who needed to be more plugged in.
See, when folks like us elect the people we want? It takes moving a few people out of the woodworks. And some part of that is strictly by qualifications. But another part is overcoming the "meh" with a feeling of deep connection.
There was a video I saw the day before the election. It was the first time I saw Hillary Clinton as universally dope. I wish I'd seen it before and felt what I felt when watching that video before Election Day eve. I really, really do. Because today I'm feeling a new kind of burn.
And something tells me I'm not alone.
Couldn't figure out how to embed this really dope video. But here's the link.