I'm probably going to offend a great deal of my Conservative fan base today - but hopefully, we can be friends in the end.
Long time readers of this blog know that I don't typically give a lot of "shine" to politicians. I feel like they get enough press. I haven't endorsed candidates in the past because I'm more focused on Blacks who look fabulous while participating in philanthropic activities.
But changing times call for changing philosophies.
I have voted more than 20 years consecutively and have worked on two Presidential campaigns. I consider myself highly informed yet open to opposing viewpoints.
I define myself as a Conservative Democrat who is socially liberal yet fiscally conservative. After this election, I may change my party designation to back Independent - as it was when I was 18. I am exhausted by both major parties in this country.
I have traditionally voted the candidate and not the party. Until recent years, there were Republicans who I shared some commonalities with philosophically speaking.
I do not subscribe to tribalism, group think, or entitlements.
I am not "Godless" because I have some liberal views. In fact, I belong to one of the largest Baptist mega-churches in America. My tithes are paid electronically every month, thank you.
I fundamentally believe that most Americans love this country and want to see America prosper into the 21st Century.
Yet for reasons that I can't fully grasp, social issues that have very little to do with successfully projecting America into the 21st Century have become the catalyst for polarization. It is stressful and hurtful to see it - but I realize that it is necessary pain we must go through as a nation to grow.
Today, I voted for President Barack Obama.
He has not been a perfect President by any stretch of the imagination. And, yes the condition of our economy is not where I would like it to be currently.
Yet, he is the President we need to guide America's movement into a knowledge based information economy. Our currency can no longer be rhetoric about America's greatness nor the attempt to ram opinions down people's throats as if they are facts.
While we are an exceptional nation, we have to re-tool our focus on education and lifelong learning as the gateway for international competitiveness.
With this election, the stakes are very high for the issues that matter to me most.
Here's my quick list:
I believe in open access to higher education and the government's playing a proactive role to aid students to achieve their educational goals with grants. Community colleges can be a path for many students to either an immediate vocation or a four year degree.
I believe that women should have equal pay to men.
I believe that people should govern their own households and children - and not mind other people's business when it comes to reproductive rights and same sex unions. Planned Parenthood does more than provide abortions and we will not die if gay people are allowed to get married legally.
I believe that America will only prosper with more emphasis on early childhood education, youth nutrition, and STEM educational mandates.
I believe that a nation this wealthy should turn its attention towards the health and well being of its citizens - as an unhealthy nation can not compete internationally.
I believe that children of illegal immigrants who are born in this country are citizens and should not be deported.
I believe that America should tend to our most vulnerable populations - single mothers, the elderly, the poor, and children with support mechanisms to help them live in dignity.
I believe that many of us need a Civics lesson to understand that a lot of our anger should not just be directed at the President but also our do-nothing Congress (many of whom will be re-elected for no good reason).
Beyond these issues, I have to say that I am deeply troubled by the behavior of some members of today's Republican party.
I am in a battleground state where mythical voter fraud (largely driven by elected Republicans) resulted in one of the most outrageous Voter ID laws passed this year.
Luckily a (Republican) judge slapped an injunction on this act - but as of 3:44pm EDT today, there is drama and confusion at the polls.
I never thought I would live to see such a thing and believed that this was a part of our ugly past.
When I have shared my support of the President on Twitter, I have been a victim of racist and sexist hatefulness from those who identify themselves as Republicans and Conservatives. Some of the comments towards me would make your hair fall out.
Several Republicans leaders have suggested that Black people (including Gen. Colin Powell, who is a Republican) are voting for the President only out of racial loyalty - and have said this on live TV!!
The straw on the proverbial camel's back for me was the awful lashing out by some Republicans towards Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey (who encountered major devastation in his state due to Hurricane Sandy). He was actually harshly criticized for praising the President for his leadership and support towards his state in this tragic time of crisis.
This is jaw dropping.
So, from what I experienced and witnessed- it is doubtful that I can EVER support a candidate of any political party that does not openly denounce racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks from their leadership. It is doubtful that I will vote for any Republicans until they do some major house cleaning.
I know some really good Republicans. But they have been marginalized within their own party. It is time for those good people to step into their leadership positions and say "We are not about this ugliness. We are better than this." RIP Senator Arlen Specter.
This is not to say that the Democratic party is so much better. There are some issues I have with them in terms of pathway leadership development and fiscal management of elected officials.
But, I haven't experienced the sheer racially and gender driven hatefulness from Democrats so apparently they're doing a better job at managing their divisive characters.
I want a better arty system that what we have now. I believe that our country needs civil and open discourse from both major parties to thrive. It is my prayer that this will change.
I saw the President attempt to work with the Republican party when he was first elected. It appeared that the Republican party was more focused on pandering to a loud micro group whose only mission in life was to obstruct his plans and ensure that their social agenda was advanced.
OK, I've heard you. But I'm tired of your noise. I hope you will be pushed to the background real soon.
Folks, I don't know what the outcome of today's election will be as it's really too close to call.
But here's what I know..
This election is really about America's future and where we stand as citizens on the prioritization of important issues.
I believe this is a once in a century defining moment for us.
And that is what I voted for today.