It’s nearly Election Day and early voting has started all over the country. That means our airwaves are ever-more filled with attack ads and voices of outrage—notably rage designed to spark fear, rage steeped in greed and hate. That’s why I think it is so important to note that a specific kind of rage, a rage wrapped in love, is exactly the kind of Courageous leadership we need at this moment.
This week, I’ve watched the two critical debates that will have a profound impact on this country—one for the Florida Senate race between Val Demings and Marc Rubio, and the other for Georgia gubernatorial race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp.
Val Deming’s rage looked like a wagging finger, a Commander-in-Chief, wide-shoulder stance and the intuition of a mother of a 16-year-old daughter who can smell bullshit a mile away. She endured Marc Rubio’s familiar dog-whistle routine and threw it back in his face, using facts, her humanity, and a plan to provide human-centered policies for all people in Florida. She talked courageously about protecting the Second Amendment and children.
Abrams’ rage looked different. She was practiced, measured, still, and laser-focused—she’s been here before. Her tools of choice allowed her to cut through Kemp’s lies, and misogynist and racist tropes. She got right down to talking about the need for both justice and safety in police reform, voters’ rights and real economic policies designed to benefit the masses.
Then there was the Georgia moderator. The referee, the timekeeper, the man in the middle responsible for ensuing both sides could share their perspective.
“Time,” he shouted. “Time, I’ll now turn it over to Brian to respond.”
As both debates surpassed the dinner hour, I couldn’t help but notice that every time Abrams or Deming displayed righteous indignation, any moment they raged against the system or shined a light on the hypocrisy standing next to them, the moderators would break in with a single word—“Time. After a while, when I heard the word, “time,” especially when it interrupted a Black woman bringing her love-fueled rage, I instead heard the words, “That’s enough.” I heard: “That’s enough righteous indignation. That’s enough causing others to think critically about how their individual lots in life are interconnected to others.”
“That’s enough telling people that they should be fighting for justice and safety.”
“That’s enough telling women they that should fight for the right to choose what happens to their bodies as full citizens, fully human.”
“That’s enough with that ‘everyone gets to vote’ shit.”
“That’s enough with equity.”
To be clear, the government or politicians will never solve all our problems, and neither will Abrams or Deming. And yet, now is the time to fight back—to elect, support and affirm leaders who rage for justice and humanity. For in their rage lives love. And in that raging love is courage. And in that courageous raging love is an unquenchable responsibility for all of us to live up to our espoused democratic values of a democratic society as we fight for a “more perfect union.”.
As a Black Woman living in a world that tells me not to rage against a system that threatens my very existence, I send my sincere gratitude and admiration to Abrams and Deming for displaying grace, strength, power, intelligence and more importantly, for showing outrage about acts against our shared humanity. I thank them for giving women who look like them permission to be angry, strong, beautiful, smart, and courageous as they work tirelessly for a better world, for all of us. I thank them for seeing and fighting for all of us-- for the children, women, the LGBTQAI communities, immigrants and all marginalized people.
For in their rage, I saw love. I saw a love raging that illuminated their courage. I saw the courage that we, the people, so desperately need. Its Time!