When I became a feminist activist and a visible advocate for a woman's right to choose, I knew that I might lose a few friends in the process. Abortion has always been a divisive topic. The debate has layers of morality, gender, religion and race.
Where issues of human rights are concerned, I don't care if you like my political stance. There will always be issues like that--ones people are willing to stand up for--and if people don't like that about us, that's fine. My choice of a mayoral candidate is not one I am willing to fight to the metaphorical death about, though.
I want to take this moment to ask everyone in Jackson to take a deep cleansing breath and relax.
This election season, I have seen some of the most ridiculous and horrible arguments erupt regarding the Jackson mayoral contest. As a person who has studied politics and volunteered on campaigns for years, I am not surprised. I would just like it to stop. Some of these conversations have no depth or substance whatsoever, while some have a thread or two of meaningful content.
I am begging you, Jackson, to change the conversation. Stop repping your church--and thus the affiliated candidate--like it's your alma mater. I'm pretty sure God wouldn't like that. Let's stop talking about what the candidates are wearing. We can all agree that streets and infrastructure are bad in Jackson, but I don't think we have to have five-hour arguments about when they became that way. At this point, honestly, I don't care. I just want to see them fixed.
I am tired of hearing people say that white flight didn't happen. It did. Let's move forward. Let's stop being hurt because our candidate is getting legitimate questions about his or her background. Address the issues and move forward.
More than anything, the major issues facing Jackson are complex. They didn't happen under one person's leadership, and they won't be undone under in one term, either. We can start conversations around what an inclusive city government looks like--with all parts of the city included. We can ask the tough questions about candidate's plans for policy, their strengths, weaknesses and character. These mean more than charisma.
Oprah likes to say, "When you know better, you do better." Jackson, we know better. Many of us just need to do better, this writer included.