While “Mothers of the Movement” (a coalition spearheaded by mothers who lost their children to police violence) took a public platform at the DNC to encourage America to remember the names of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Sandra Bland and also implore viewers to vote for Hillary Clinton, one woman was noticeably absent: Samaria Rice — Tamir Rice’s mother.
In an interview with Fusion, Rice explained that she was not ready to jump on Hillary’s bandwagon, or any other presidential candidate’s for that matter, because none of them have adequately addressed police violence and she needs that reassurance before she can declare any support:
“I think that would make me feel better, and no candidate has did that for me yet,” she expressed.
She is not alone in these sentiments.
After Hillary Clinton won the bid to be the Democratic candidate for the 2016 Presidential Election, #IGuessImWithHer trended all over Black Twitter, highlighting black reluctance and apathy towards her win. Many Black staunchly supported Bernie Sander’s camp, that sold the Democratic followers on revolution, and after recognizing that revolution was no longer an option, some are now completely backing out from politics altogether.
Because, let’s be honest, there is absolutely nothing revolutionary about electing Hillary Clinton. The biggest appeal for some is in the fact that she is a woman, but her complicity in and past support of various policies that have been harmful to Black people justifies black apathy towards the candidate. Even Black distrust. The political system has failed African-Americans in this election by not affording us a candidate that represents our interest in any way and though that isn’t necessarily new, in a year when a man like Donald Trump is running with vigorous support from his constituency, it certainly is more troublesome and problematic than ever.
For Black voters who weren’t initially feeling “The Bern,” there was even less reason to opt into participation in the political election system. After all, there was no Black candidate to represent “Hope” and “Change,” as was had in the past two elections to offer appeasement and a sense of direction/progressivism. No candidates who prioritized Black lives. The hope that drove Black voters to the ballots these past two elections has been extinguished.
This is detrimental in the context of a country where it is estimated only about half the population vote in the first place. And especially detrimental when the projections of which candidates will win which states looks like this, according to a map from the New York Times:
White Republicans finally have a candidate to believe in and many of them are pouring every ounce of their energy and effort into seeing to it that he is elected while we wallow in the loss of the hopes and dreams the image of a Black family in the White House spurred and largely remain unmotivated. As sentiments, like those expressed by Samaria Rice continue to rise, we must definitely wonder if that will allow us to let a xenophobe, racist rise to power as well.
Though options are bleak, many argue inaction creates an even darker future. That we have to rally together and conclude #IGuessImWithHer about Hillary Clinton or risk putting this entire country in the hands of a man unfit to lead.
And while that is important and perhaps true, it simply is not going to prove sufficient to get many Black people– like Samaria Rice– out to the ballots, which is just plain scary. We may, indeed, help Donald Trump become the next president of the United States of America.