you are out of your lane


“There will be a resistance to your ambition. There will be people who say to you, ‘You are out of your lane,’ because they are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don’t let that burden you.” – Senator Kamala Harris on a live stream conversation for 2020 Black Girls Lead conference

When Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro as his vice presidential running mate in 1984, I was joyful that the defeat of the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the women’s movement of the 1970s hadn’t translated to a total wipe-out of our opportunities for political office at the highest level in America. I was optimistic. Incumbents Reagan and Bush (GHW) won 49 of the 50 states.

When Hillary Clinton was nominated 32 years later in 2016 by the Democratic party to be the president of the United States, I was ecstatic at the prospect of finally having a woman as commander-in-chief. I was optimistic for the defeat of Republican nominee Trump particularly after his misogynistic remarks during the “nasty” campaign. The election results showing Clinton’s win of the popular votes but the electoral college majority supporting Trump made for dismay, tears, depression, you name it that night in our home as well as the next 4 years of enduring a president who delivered on his campaign agenda of serving the wealthy at the expense of the poor, dividing the country through white nationalists at the expense of people of color, punishing refugees seeking asylum by separating parents from children and detaining them at our borders in inhumane conditions.

This past week I was giddy when I watched Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden select Senator Kamala Harris to be his vice presidential running mate in the 2020 election scheduled for November 3rd. I celebrated her choice not only because she is a woman but also because she is a woman of color  born in California to a mother who immigrated from India and a father who immigrated from Jamaica. Her parents met at Berkeley through their activism in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. A first for Black women and a validation of their support of Biden that pushed him over the finish line here in South Carolina at a time when his candidacy was in jeopardy – and not just for their support of Biden. Black women are the most reliable voting constituency for the Democratic party in many local, state and federal elections. As Harris herself says on the campaign trail, ” I hear you. I see you.” I am once again optimistic for the election of a woman whose very presence on the ticket  reflects more nearly the diversity of our country.

Many call the 2020 election an inflection point for America. In the midst of a world wide Covid pandemic that has been routinely dismissed by the administration in the West Wing, a tremendous social upheaval against systemic racism by Black Lives Matter that intensified with the murder of George Floyd, the grief over the loss of Congressman John Lewis – we have an opportunity to correct the go it alone policies of isolation that foster fear for our allies and hope for our enemies. The times they are a-changing for sure.

“There will be a resistance to your ambition. There will be people who say to you, ‘You are out of your lane,’ because they are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don’t let that burden you.”

It’s time to shake off the burdens of intolerance, hunger, inequalities in education, health care and housing, police brutality against minorities – the politics of divisiveness that have blinded us for centuries. Senator Harris is not out of her lane. We shouldn’t be either. Be woke, America. Vote.

Stay safe, stay sane and stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is an essayist with humorist tendencies who periodically indulges her desires to write outside her genre by trying to write fiction and poetry. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike and Charly. Her Texas roots are never far from her thoughts.
This entry was posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to you are out of your lane

  1. Wayside Artist says:

    Love this:

    “There will be a resistance to your ambition. There will be people who say to you, ‘You are out of your lane,’ because they are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don’t let that burden you.”

    Right now, I’m cautiously optimistic. I don’t think I can survive another crash from dizzying heights of full blown optimistic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob Slatten says:

    I, too, am optimistic, but I am also reminding everyone that no matter what anyone says about poll numbers and a Biden lead, you must still get out and vote.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ed Martin says:

    So “political office at the highest level in America” is an opportunity. Who knew?
    If I did business in the same manner as government does, and forced strangers to give me money, would you consider me a criminal?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Ed. I’m not sure what you mean by “if I did business in the same manner as government does.” However, the current administration’s total disregard for the constitution and disrespect of our laws look criminal to me. I wouldn’t advise forcing strangers – or friends or relatives for that matter – to give you money. Someone might mistake you for a criminal.
      To me, opportunity means a level playing field regardless of gender. Women in our country and around the globe have struggled forever against a patriarchal system designed to subjugate and oppress. I consider political service to country at any level to be an opportunity – but clearly the defeat of the ERA and Shirley Chisholm’s failed campaign for the presidency delivered a blow for women’s political opportunities for the next five decades.

      Like

  4. We daren’t hold our breath but there is a glimmer of hope…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Week in Review | Mock Paper Scissors

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