Our “Personal Primary”

This primary season has had a much more personal impact on our
family than have any before. Impacts that intersect race, gender
and sexual orientation. As a family of two fathers raising an
African American daughter and with the two Democratic front-runners
being an African-American man and a woman, the race could not have
been anything but momentous in our family.

Both my partner and I supported Barack Obama early on, as far back
as last spring. It was generally quiet support, an occasional
online donation. The McClurkin incidence came and I wavered. But
after his speeches where, in front of hostile (to gay rights)
audiences, he spoke forcefully for our rights and after looking at
his positions (supports the complete repeal of DOMA), I came to
support him strongly. I became a precinct captain for the campaign
and donated more and campaigned on phones and on the street. Our
daughter, 5 years old, had other ideas.

 Disclaimer: The opinions voiced herein are ours (or our
daughter’s), and ours alone, and not those of the Family Equality
Early on she saw a photo of Hillary
Clinton and decided that she was her candidate. When I asked her
why she liked her over all the others (at this point she had seen
many of the dozen or so candidates on TV or newspaper and we
explained to her what was going on), she explained it was because
she wore a pretty dress. We took that to mean that because of the
dozen candidates, she was the one that was a woman.

Her desire to see Hillary Clinton as president became so strong,
she started to get upset when I put a poster of Obama up in our
window or the bumpersticker on our car. Most of the parents at her
school were Obama supporters, and their kids were talking about it
alot. It seemed to be the topic of conversation in kindergarten.
Emma would “campaign” for “her president” on the sidewalk, asking
kids who they were “voting for” and proudly tell them she was a
Hillary supporter. Emma would come home and say “So and so is
voting for MY candidate!” to let us know she wasn’t alone.

She’d ask when it was she got to vote. We explained to her that
children couldn’t vote and she wasn’t very happy about that. Every
time she saw something with Obama’s photo or name (she could read
it by now), she would say “I want _my_ president!”

We support her in this desire. We want her to grow up to be a
strong woman and realize that women can be in positions of power
and leadership. So, when one day she noticed a front-page photo of
Clinton on Newsweek, she wanted it. We let her (well, she insisted)
tear off the cover and tape it to her wall. Later she decided it
need to go to the front door since Obama’s poster was in the
window, so she moved it. When it came to primary day here in
California, I told her that even though she couldn’t vote, if she
wrote Clinton’s name down with her name, I’d take it to the vote
takers and tell them that my daughter wanted Clinton. She did it,
and I did.

Then later that day I was going out to get people out to vote by
walking the street. She wanted to go to for “her president.” So,
without our knowledge, she got a stick out from her room, took the
the Newsweek cover down from the door and taped to it the stick.
So, we went out on our street corner and she campaigned. That is
the photo you see at the beginning of the article. We are
attempting to ease her in into the possibility that either of them
can become the candidate and that WE like both of them. That
Clinton would be a good president, as would Obama and either of
them would be much better (in our opinion) than the man they’d have
to run against.

Unfortunately, I had an experience earlier where she told me that
man like her couldn’t be president
.” She had already gathered
something from somewhere that people of color can’t be president.
There is a part of me that wants to prove her wrong :), to prove a
lot of people wrong. I’m hoping that she’ll see that isn’t true. If
not this year, in her lifetime.

But either way, in the end, if either of them wins the election, it
will be a great thing for our daughter. We’ve shown her this photo,
and she likes the fact that the first-family would include
daughters that, as she says, “look like her.” So, this family is
rooting for either Clinton or Obama to win the election because if
they do it will be a huge boon for our family in real-life policy
(repeal of DOMA, better supreme court justices, no attacks from the
presidential bully pulpit on our family). In fact, I think we’ll go
to the White House Egg Roll in celebration in 2009, instead of
protest like we did in 2006
(wouldn’t that be wonderful!).

And a boon in other ways. No matter who wins, our daughter (and we)
will have someone to look up to who is the head of this country, a
leader, who looks like her, either a woman or a man of color.
She’ll spend the next formative eight years (two terms 😉 of her
life (she’ll be 14!) knowing that someone like her can hold one of
the most powerful positions on earth.

We are still campaigning for Obama, but we’ll work for Clinton if
she gets the nomination. (and in the meantime we are very careful
_never_ to criticize her within earshot of our daughter! ;).

And hopefully the next 8 years will be very different for our
family and our families than the previous 8.