Dear Black America, Let the Democratic Party Be Your 'Friends With Benefits,' Not Your Soul Mate

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Black folks,

Let’s talk for a second. If you know like I know, there are practically no definitive gains for us in the two-party system of American politics. But if you also know like I know, there’s a distinction between the party that wants no parts of us and the party that wants our unrelenting loyalty in exchange for a little tenderness.

Our vote has always been caught in a lover’s quarrel. We are trying to find true love in a nation soiled by the blood of our ancestors and a nation that pushes us to decide between a party that personifies an abusive, wrecking ball of a lover or one that sweet talks/gaslights us with empty promises.

Before I go any further, I want to say something with full transparency: I am not a proponent of two-party system politics. I believe it to be stifling for Black Americans and leaves us in a perpetual state of “lesser evil” political options. Life itself is nuanced and very rarely offering anyone the opportunity to choose between one of two options about anything. But we are expected to adhere to an either/or dichotomy when deciding this country’s leadership.

Let me be additionally clear in saying that I do not believe it is in any of our best interests to vote for Donald Trump to be re-elected as president or for us to cast Republican votes down the ballot. The Republican Party under Trump’s leadership has veered far beyond textbook conservatism. He has emboldened a level of supremacy that is a direct threat to our personhood, has not produced deliverables on promises made to us, insulted us time and again, endangered the public health of the entire country by mishandling the pandemic and has generally been an abhorrent example of leadership and humanity in general.

He is the leader of the violently abusive lover party.

The conundrum for us is that Joe Biden is the nominee for the “baby, I promise I’ll do better”/gaslighting lover party. The party that sends Black America bouquets of wilted flowers and expired chocolates. Establishment Democrats expect Black folks to show up as our finest selves at the polls on their behalf. They expect our advocacy, time, loyalty, love and our hearts. And it is the heart part we need to reconsider when being courted by them.

We need to update the rules of engagement of this “situationship,” because the Democrats want to feign affection for us when it makes their poll numbers favorable while treating us like an annoying side piece after we love them into office. So, I propose that if we vote for Dems, we do so from the perspective of voting for our “friends with benefits,” not our potential soul mates.

We need to engage in the type of entanglements that gives us the satisfaction we desire. We do not to be doe-eyed and willfully hand them the keys to our mind, body and soul. They need to recognize that we have other options, even if the structure of the binary says otherwise. And then we need to work like hell on building other viable options.

If they are to constantly “get some” from us while not having to commit to a mutually exclusive, sustainable relationship then we should be comfortable with having our needs met with no (heart) strings attached. We do not need to be hearing wedding bells every time election season comes around. We need to be in a casual yet reciprocal friendship with them while awaiting a truer, more pure political partner.

Until then, let’s stay “single” Black folks. The heartbreak the two-party system gives us is way too damaging to continue looking for love in all the wrong places.

Rooting for us always,


About the Author

Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be.