I want her to wear boring outfits and pay white people to march in front of cameras after the debates and tell everyone who will listen how well she performed in the debates, regardless of how well she actually performed in the debates.
I want my daughter to take the matter of reparations into her own gifted hands by telling these same conservative white voters how suspicious she is of Muslims, and of all those black folks who want our lives to matter and of Barack Obama (an alleged Muslim who supposedly wants our black lives to matter). Even if my daughter does not win, conservative white voters will bless my daughter with $54m.
I want her to lie and never take any responsibility for her role in domestic death and destruction and I want her to have a terrible inside voice like Bernie Sanders.
I want my daughter – who will have to be a devout Christian to be a viable black American presidential candidate – to never once self-critically call her foreign or domestic policy “radical Christian terrorism” while telling the country that “radical Islamic terrorists” and illegal immigration are a bigger threat to justice than housing segregation, abysmal funding for public education and a massive racial wealth gap that disproportionately affects black women.
I want her to say nothing about the engineered lack of healthy choices facing both Palestinians and poor black children in Mississippi.
I want my daughter, who will probably be as ebonically challenged as all the presidential candidates before her, to shamelessly make her voice sound like Martin Luther King or Mahalia Jackson when talking to black Democratic voters.
I want my daughter to say to irresponsible black women, but not to responsible Wall Street white men:
We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential.
I want her to privately tell those same Wall Street white men, “Thank you for your contributions” while publicly saying, “I would fight for tough new rules, stronger enforcement and more accountability that go well beyond Dodd-Frank.”
I want my daughter, on the issue of same sex marriage, to go with the political wind. If it benefits her to be an adversary of same sex marriage, I want her to say: “Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.”
But if and when it is politically beneficial to be a supporter of same sex marriage, I want her to say: “LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends and our loved ones, and they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage … that’s why I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples.”
I want her to say anything it takes to get elected and, when called on it, I want her to say something about the fluidity of ideas. I want her to live and govern as if the ends always justify the means.
I want my daughter to summon the Book of Matthew when talking to black Americans about interpersonal violence. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” I want her to say. “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
But when talking to the rest of the whiter parts of country and scarier parts of the world, I want my daughter to thump her chest and brag of our country’s ability to effectively kill friends, family and neighbors of our enemies. I want her to say, while boasting of our really big guns and amazing drones: “It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit.”
I have met many self-righteous, supposed justice-oriented parents who do not want their children aspiring to become presidential candidates or president of the United States. Those parents say that being “good” for a president is akin to being benevolent for a pimp, caring for a tobacco executive, moral for a Ted Cruz speechwriter or just a little evil for a Koch brother.
Those same parents say that the work of the American president is necessarily violent shameful American work. They say there’s more effective, loving work in the world than presiding over the richest nation in the history of the world while 38% of black children live in poverty.
To those parents, I say: go straight to hell. If your mediocre children would rather commit to professional lives as activists, music teachers, sexual violence counselors, organizers, nurses, programmers, doctors and plant workers, that’s on them. As president, my daughter will put more money in the pockets of wealthy white people, all the while fortifying their anti-blackness by publicly neglecting the reality of white supremacy.
My daughter will deal with the violent heteropatriarchy and anti-black racism heaped on her back without ever calling it heteropatriarchy or anti-black racism. What parent wouldn’t want that for their child?
I want my daughter to be president of these United States of America when she grows up because it is an honorable, compassionate, morally just job.
Assuming Republicans on the state level haven’t found a way to keep you from voting in 2056, please consider voting for my baby for president of our United States of America after she’s born. My daughter will have what it takes to lead this country from the brink of neo-liberal despair into moral prosperity. Can my daughter change this world for better from the seat of the American presidency?
Yes, she can.
Kiese Laymon is the Author of the forthcoming memoir, Heavy. He is also Author of the essay collection, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the novel, Long Division. He is an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College.
Copyright; The Guardian News and Observer Media Limited. Reprinted with permission.
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