Mother’s Day makes me think of my mom, my wife, my daughters and the former president. But for very different reasons.
Happy Mother’s day!
I will forever owe my mother. I will forever owe my wife. I will forever owe my daughters. I owe them my undying gratitude. I will forever be saddened that Barack Obama, my favorite president, doesn’t seem to share that sense of debt or gratitude to black women.
My mother, my wife and my daughters are among the most unheralded and under-appreciated species on earth, the black woman. From my experience, no group does more and receives less. Yet they are said to be angry and easy to incite. No group is more loving. Yet they are said to be bitter and eager to bite. No group is more patient. Yet they are said to be aggressive and quick to fight.
I can forgive white men when they utter these sentiments about black women, kinda. They may not know black women personally and assume the various Housewives are representative. I can forgive white women if they utter similar sentiments, kinda. They too may love the Hip Hop variety. But black men often utter these sentiments about black women. But black men, I’ll never forgive. We know them best. We should know them better.
They raised us. They nurtured us. They provided for us. They loved us. They sent us into the world. Yet when it is our turn to uplift them, we fail. In our words or deeds, we disparage them.
I am certain Barack Obama has never uttered an unkind word about a black woman. I’m certain Barack Obama has never failed or disparaged a black woman. Except that time on March 16, 2016, when he nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, when he failed and disparaged all black women.
Like me, Barack Obama married one. Like me, twenty plus years later, he remains married to the same one. Like me, he is raising, two. But in him, since that morning he chose Merrick Garland over any of them, I remain Supremely disappointed. And him, I may never forgive.
It’s been three years; perhaps I should have gotten over it. But since George Washington’s first nomination in 1789 and Barack Obama’s last in 2016, 227 years have flown, 112 Justices have sat, 43 presidents have stood and thousands of black women have crawled. Not one white man saw fit to nominate a black woman. I hoped Barack Obama would see differently. He knows them best. He knows them better. One day I’ll get over it. Check with me in a year or 227 of them.
Some say race shouldn’t matter when the matter is as important as the Supreme Court. I mostly agree. But every 227 years, I make an exception. I call it the “about damn time,” exception. I call it the “thank you for doing more for me than any other single group to put me in the presidency,” exception. I call it the “thank you for being patient enough to wait for hours in line to vote for me and for being strong enough to be the backbone of the Democratic party,” exception. I call it the, “I forever owe you and I am forever grateful” exception.
Yet he saw no such exception. Yet he was no exception. He chose the status quo. He chose someone many of the other 43 would’ve chosen. He didn’t understand or feel the pride my mom and my wife felt when they chose him. By choosing him, they raised him. They nurtured him. They provided for him. They loved him. They sent him into the world.
Yet when it was his turn to uplift them, he failed. Not in words but in that deed, he disparaged them. He missed more than an opportunity. He missed a duty. Now they are left waiting patiently as often they must. They deserved so much more. They deserved to have the president who is married to one and raising two, elevate a first.
Perhaps her nomination would have fared no better than Merrick Garland’s. Perhaps her confirmation would have been quite unlikely. Perhaps she would have stood little chance of toppling the establishment. But fortunately for Barack Obama, black women fought for an unlikely candidate who stood little chance of toppling the establishment.
For now, I can merely offer a heartfelt, Happy Mother’s Day. And to Barack Obama, I offer a belated Happy Merrick Garland Day. I’m certain Mr. Garland is not angry. I’m certain he’s not bitter. I’m certain he’s not aggressive. But why should he be?
He’s had a pretty good 227-year run, and counting.