Friday, August 26, 2016

My Teacher Dad Vote

I have never much been into politics. As a kid, I was always just focused on being a kid (playing sports, GI Joe, Star Wars, video games, etc.). It always surprised me when I met people my age that were so passionate about politics. Especially in college. I had and still have fraternity brothers that are actively involved in everything politics.

The first time I voted was for President Bush Jr in 2000. I just didn't like Gore.. Not sure why I didn't, but didn't. Then 9/11 happened and in 2004 I voted for President Bush again. I felt like he was the best to continue navigating us through the Middle East mess. At some point, I learned to believe that I was a Republican. 

During Bush's second term, my first 2 kids were born, and I had become a teacher. I began to listen more to the happenings of the world around me. I actively listened to the 2008 candidates. Things began to matter so much more for my own kids, and for the livelihood of my students and their families. I was moved in so many ways as I listened to the message of hope spoken by candidate Obama. He spoke with such intelligence, passion, and pride. I felt patriotism for him as a leader that I never felt for any President in my life at that point. I remember standing, holding my then 7 month old daughter with tears in my eyes as he spoke in Grant Park having just been elected President. I was so proud to be in that moment with her knowing our country was truly moving forward. 

In the 8 years since that moment, I stand proud of all that our President has worked to accomplish. But, I'm stunned at what has happened to our country. I'm now the father of 5 kids. Two of those 5 are twin black boys. I've gone from having tears of pride to having tears of real fear and worry for our future. Today, we have a candidate that can be openly prejudiced against different races, cultures, & religions and gain support towards winning the presidency. How can that be? Because his opponent in this election has support from big business? Because she has become a political scapegoat for a terrorist act on an US Embassy? Because she's a woman that is intelligent and with a strong voice?

I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm a huge Hillary supporter. In fact, I voted for Bernie in the primaries. But, for the record, I'm not voting for her as an anti-Trump vote. Not at all in fact. 

I don't think of myself as a vocal person. I like to sit back and listen to any and all respectable sources be that blogs, podcasts, shares from friends that I respect and trust. And through that I've learned a lot about Hillary Clinton. I've learned that she's made mistakes, but has had plenty of victories in areas that I believe in. 

I'm voting for her, because she's never backed down. She has taken hit after hit from things as personal as her marriage, to her political opinions. And yet, she never ran away or backed down from her drive for presidency. She has shown resilience when all around her criticised her and called her a murderer. She didn't get nasty back, either. She didn't get into petty name calling. For the way that I've seen it, she has stood by what she has believed in, but has allowed her views to change as she has listened to all that is around her.

I've learned in my own life that when you are doing great things, making changes, and are at the top, you will be attacked. Your actions all the way down to the number of soccer shoes you have or your classroom management style will be questioned. And it is so easy to hear all that is said and hide away. But Hillary hasn't. She continued to stay in the center of things, and to follow her path in life with strength, confidence, and gusto.

So while one candidate stands as a symbol of fear and hate, I see another that is a shining example of female resilience and strength. She is an example that I would be proud to have my daughters look up to. She compliments what they already see in my wife (a business owner, strong, determined, passionate). So, yes. My vote is for Hillary. I'm not going third party. I have no need to. Because in my life I want to know that my kids will grow up knowing that it is normal for a black man to be president and for a woman to be president because that is the right direction for our country and that is what continues to make our country great.

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