Winning by a Hair


After much prompting by women, the national media, and the African American community, I, speaking on behalf of "my own," am now comfortable in declaring the candidate I support to be the 44th president of the United States. As I am frequently reminded, I am black and I am a woman. And, given African Americans' obligatory Obama vote and women's compulsory allegiance to Hillary, I feel compelled to take a stand: I am nominating and supporting Condoleezza Rice to be the next president of the United States.

Sure, in reflecting on the past eight shameful years of the Bush administration, I announce this choice with some trepidation. There's the war in Iraq, our refusal to negotiate with Iran (or for that matter, any country occupying America's comic book-like "axis of evil"), denial and reversal of American civil liberties, continued endorsement of the new apartheid in Israel, and Every Child Left Behind. None of these issues - let me rephrase that - none of the issues - have anything to do with my decision. Because, as the presss has helpfully informed us, this election isn't about a candidate's record or agenda. This vote is a matter of making peace with my racial and gender identity.

Rather than further sacrifice my womanhood or compromise my blackness, I have chosen to stand resolutely for both. For better or worse, Condi is black and a woman. True, I have been labeled too far left to even be considered liberal. And, while foreign affairs were once at the top of my political agenda, well, truth be told, Ms. Rice and I frequent the same hair salon. (You have heard about black women and their hair… Lye or locks, I got solidarity with the sistas!).

While I would not dare to speak on behalf of the American public, it is easy to see how the American press feels. They've spoken of the need for Hillary's "man-like, woman-tendencies" to surface if she wanted to attract more support. And then there's Barack's uphill battle to overcome his name (as it in itself is proof of his radical Muslim extremism) and "embrace his blackness" in the likeness of Civil Rights leaders of old. I have learned that in this election, fiction is more important than the facts. That is, unless those facts point to my automatic vote for a candidate because they are black like me or, because we are both women.

That being said, I will not allow my sensibilities as a minority, as a woman, as a single-parent, as a global citizen, as a leftist, as an advocate for choice, as a seeker of justice, as a feminist, as an activist - to get the best of me. Because, as both the Civil Rights Movement and Feminist Movement have taught me, my make-up in itself is enough to halt a social movement. If this election is more about what I am than what becomes of America, then so be it. And as soon as Bush's tax cuts make their way to my middle-American pocketbook, I'll be ready to put my money where our hair is.

Kristen Moorhead is a writer in Washington, D.C.