#NaBloPoMo: Election Day

If my southern black grandmother was alive, she’d disapprove of the following:

  • My stubborn arrogance
  • My four tattoos
  • My refusal to grow and straighten “all that good pretty hair”
  • My writing and releasing a book that discussed my sex life
  • My sex life existing in the first place
  • My blog where I “tell everybody all my damn business”
  • My Instagram feed (especially the bikini and sports bra / yoga pics)
  • My indifference toward the Browns and Cavs
  • My ban on slips and shapewear in my wardrobe
  • My predilection for tall, boyishly handsome, emotionally unavailable men
  • My preference for dining out over cooking
  • My continued disdain for household chores–especially dishwashing (not even her switches from the trees in our backyard could whip that out of me)

I like to think I make her proud on Election Day.

I never heeded her warnings about people seeing through my dresses or found value in four hours over a hot stove, but she is my model for citizenship. Her grandchildren were the first generation of our family born with a government-protected right to vote. Since I was the grandchild who lived under her roof (and the brightest–don’t tell my cousins), she prioritized my political education; starting with the Cleveland Mayoral Race of 1989. Six-year-old me didn’t absorb much beyond the mutual hatred between the candidates and their devotees. In the end, it didn’t matter how many “Forbes for Mayor” stickers I collected after my grandmother and I left the polling location–“our guy” lost.

Then came the 1992 Presidential election. This time, I was a sophisticated eight-year-old third grader. Who needed the weekly Scholastic News when Grandma made me watch grown up news? “Four more years” and “No new taxes” were a “No.” Universal health care and a First Lady who was too smart to waste her time in a kitchen or a garden? Hell yes. Al Gore nailing Dan “Couldn’t Spell Potato” Quayle on supporting a woman’s right to choose? More hell yes (I didn’t know what we were choosing at the time, but as a little girl with big dreams, I appreciated the sentiment).

My grandmother and I never voted together. In December 2000, she suffered a massive stroke. She lived until 2010, but only pieces of her strong mind remained. (Even with a scrambled brain, she was furious about the Supreme Court “giving the Presidency to that damn Bush”). When I cast my vote for the first Black President in 2008, I bawled in the voting booth. I wished she could’ve voted. I wished she could revert to her pre-stroke self to discuss the magnitude of the moment with me.

Twenty-four years after being impressed by the lady too smart for baking and gardening, I voted for her. My grandmother would’ve done the same. While I doubt we’d have the same sensibilities (she’d have all the respectability politics and no interest in my feminism), I think she’d be happy she helped raise an informed, engaged, opinionated black woman. She’d be happy I live in a world with a female Presidential candidate from a major party.

She might not have enthusiastically been #WithHer. But she’d be damned proud her grandbaby is.

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Grandma and I. 1984. She was probably about to educate me on Reagan vs. Mondale.

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: The Election Day Post – The Skinny Black Girl

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