Presidential Campaign

Girl, I guess I’m with her, explained

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Just this Tuesday, Hillary Clinton’s victory in New Jersey essentially positioned her as the presumptive Democratic Party nominee—the first woman to do so. Her speech, filled with emotional cues, recalling her mother’s struggle, ignited social media and the Madame President movement.

I was torn—here I am proud to see a woman breaking barriers, but almost hopeless because I just don’t believe her. That was until I found solace reading through the #GirlIGuessImWithHer hashtag, started by minority women who, like me, feel like we are now backed into a corner, forced to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Hillary Clinton must let go of the false pomp and circumstance that she and her husband built in the 90s and truly meet us where we are and take our current issues seriously—and not just until we reach the voting booth. 

The continuous pandering to the Black community is evident and frankly, exhausting. My post, shared using the #GirlIGuessImWithHer hashtag, summed up my exhaustion.

The juxtaposition of a smiling, politicking Hillary and a little black girl’s skeptical side-eye is how I have felt for the past year leading up to the November election. I may not have been waving my Bernie flag at all times, but I have been carefully examining Clinton’s stiff formulas to reach Black voters. From playing dominoes in a Harlem senior citizen center to her interview on The Breakfast Club entertaining the idea of pardoning rappers Max B and Bobby Shmurda, and even popping-up on BET’s Black Girls Rock!, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been intrusive and a devaluation of our culture and the platforms we endear to be ourselves.

{mosads}Admittedly, I too, was once “Ready for Hillary” and caught in the early movement surrounding the self-proclaimed pant suit aficionado’s run for top office. After all, her husband was the “first Black president” and while I might have been young, I can remember Bill Clinton’s awesome swagger as he played jazz on the sax and rubbed elbows with some of our greatest Black leaders. But now I am older, and as I have watched a her line up mothers who have lost their sons to gun violence, in the background of yet another campaign stop, my stomach turns and I am forced to call into question her authenticity.

How can I fully support and not challenge a woman who backed her husband’s 1994 crime bill, accusing Black men of being “super-predators” and who set her foot down to deny retroactivity to those serving sentences for crack and cocaine?  

While I appreciate our issues being brought to the mainstream in this election, we all must do more to re-evaluate the policies set in place over the course of both Clintons’ political careers. We must use this opportunity to communicate a new direction for the almost 200 year-old Democratic Party and how Black women, specifically, can become more involved and not props.

It is now time for the Clinton campaign to loosen the reins on their strategy and going forth, use her platform to cultivate authentic relationships in the Black community that has kept her and her husband’s legacy afloat.

Stewart is the owner of For Purpose, Inc., a public relations firm in Atlanta. She is a 2014 graduate of Georgetown University where she earned the Masters of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications and was certified as a cause consultant. She is also a graduate of Howard University where she received her bachelor’s in Journalism and was awarded the 2011 Exemplar PR Award for her outstanding work in the program. 

Tags African Americans Bill Clinton Bill Clinton Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton presidential campaign Women
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