I'm gonna try to keep this short. Once again it's about the current infernal election cycle. As far back as fall 2004 at a local Democratic Party event in Rome, Italy, a white American - an Italian American called Peter Alegi - made it perfectly clear to me, and in the rudest possible way, that my honest, considered opinion about the candidates in this race would be neither valued or respected. So what else is new for Black women in the USA?
The same nasty attitude has been driven home to me again and again over the past months and days. The sole exception has been two truly refreshing conversations in just the past couple of days. On two separate occasions persons who asked my opinion about the U.S. presidential race happened to be three Italian Italians: two were together in Rome airport, and one was aboard my flight. Signori, Vi ringrazio per vostri domande. Meanwhile, speaking of Black American women, I've noticed how neither the MSM - "mainstream" media - nor the Democratic Party has said much about former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney leaving the Party and moving to the U.S. Greens. She now has her own campaign for the U.S. presidency, and I wish the sister well. It was just under two years ago, the last time I saw Cynthia - still in office - on Capitol Hill. I remember vividly the early '90s when she arrived in Washington to take her new office. And I recall our chats while on a congressional trip to Haiti. This was when New York Rep. Charles Rangel tried to reach a deal with then-dictator General Raoul Cedras. It was to no avail. But that, too, is for a future blog post. McKinney was a feisty senior Democratic congresswoman from Georgia. Would the current silence and apparent indifference be the same were she a white woman or a Black man? Interestingly this brings us back to the demographics of the current Democratic presidential race. We may never know for sure whether race+gender (rather than one or the other separately) has made the difference. Or perhaps we do know. Legendary Los Angeles, California congresswoman Maxine Waters is another U.S. policymaker I admire who also "happens" to be a Black American woman. Yet again I notice little coverage of recent news that she, too, has decided to back Senator Clinton. So I feel in being dissed I'm in pretty good company! A couple of other senior Black American politicos whom I've met and who also are backing HILLARY include New York's first Black mayor, David Dinkins and Harlem congressman Charles Rangel. I met Mrs.Clinton herself at the 1997 international conference on Women and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. That was in Vienna, Austria. I'd just completed four intense months work in Srebrenica and elsewhere in eastern Bosnia. I helped with the conference as a volunteer, assisting a woman called Susan Hovanec with press. In her presidency I hope that Hillary will act on some of the lessons she has taught on the need for greater women's participation in politics and society. For myself as a Black American woman there is something else I am not ashamed to state and about which I will not remain silent. It's a fact which should neither be denied or in any way obscured. The ancestors of the Black Americans of North America were enslaved by the British, some by the French and others by the Spanish; and later we were enslaved under the newly declared United States. Here we are today, pretty much 400 years later. One of the bottom lines for me about this election is that no matter who wins on Tuesday, 4 Nov. 2008, on the day after, the United States still will never have elected a president who comes from the U.S. Black population who are the descendants of our enslaved ancestors. For the record, I am not the person to whom to say that this is insignificant. For me as a descendant of my enslaved ancestors - my grandfather's uncle was born into slavery in Missouri before, as soon as slavery ended, that part of our family fled Missouri to Leavenworth, Kansas. And so it is vitally important that alongside other political issues which will be critical in Hillary Clinton's presidency, at the very least, with her as president there will be no illusions, delusions or confusion about this fact.