I try to stay on topic when I create content for my blog. I write about relationships and parenting. I dip into health and wellness and a few other lifestyle issues. But politics are not something I generally cover. It’s not because I am not interested in politics, because I actually am. It’s because I am not interested in writing about politics; it’s something I prefer to talk about.

Earlier this year, I seriously thought about discussing politics on CandidBelle. I had so much on my mind that letting it out in this space felt like a reasonable option. But I decided against it. I didn’t want to change what this space and community is about, and I knew I had other opportunities in my circle to vent about this political mess.

So why am I writing about it now? Because today is Election Day and I have something I just need to get off of my chest. I see Facebook posts from “friends” talking about how we all should have a right to our political views. And I agree. I believe everyone has a right to his or her own political views.

But let’s be real; this race stopped being about politics months ago. People are angry and frustrated and exhausted. People are taking things personally because…

This shit is personal.

Realizing that I live in a country where so many people can unapologetically and enthusiastically support a man that has shown us time and time again that he is a bigot on countless levels doesn’t just puzzle me–it makes me sad. As a mother of two (soon to be a mother of three), I am infuriated and heartbroken that this is the state of our nation. I am disgusted when I see a man who is being endorsed by KKK members seriously being considered as the next president of┬áthe United States.

Now I’m not stupid. I’ve always been clear about the racism that exists in our country. I was clear about it when a white boy in my class called me a nigger in 3rd grade. I was clear about it when I would get followed around stores during high school if I were in a neighborhood I didn’t seem to “belong” in. I was clear about it when I went to college at a predominately white institution and felt like any opinion I expressed in class became the “black opinion” because I was the only black person in my class. And I was clear about it just 2 years ago when a white kid told my 4-year-old son he won’t play with my son because his skin is brown.

I’ve always been clear about where I live. And although I have friends from all walks of life, that still doesn’t change a damn thing about the realities I face daily as a black mother raising black kids in this country.

It’s exhausting. At times, it’s painful.

So driving around my town looking at huge Trump signs is infuriating. Wondering if people I interact with are actually #withhim but just not admitting it is tiring. Wrapping my brain around why grabbing pussies and wanting to ban all Muslims from entering our country isn’t enough to disgust most people is alarming.

And listen, I am not arguing that you need to say #ImWithHer. Although #ImWithHer, I understand if you’re not. She’s messed up in a few major ways. I can see shady from a mile away and she’s done some shady stuff. But I also believe our nation will be much better off with her as our president. I believe she is far more qualified to sit in the oval office than a bigot like Trump is. I’m certain of that.

But if you are not with her, I get it. If you want to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, I can try to understand. If you want to write someone in, I can (kinda) wrap my brain around that decision. But if you, for one second, can look me in my face and tell me that because you can’t be with her you need to be with him, we aren’t friends. We never have been. Maybe we’ve been friendly with each other. Maybe we’ve exchanged pleasantries at some point in our lives. But true friends? There’s no way.

Because any friend of mine has to be just as offended by Trump as I am. Any friend of mine has to be able to understand how ridiculous it is to let this man sit in the oval office. Any friend of mine would have been cringing along with me over the last few months every single time he said something racist, sexist, xenophobic, and just plain ignorant.

So yes, this shit is personal.

I think elections were once about politics, but this is not just about politics. This is about having a moral compass. I know the people in my life who get this are the people I actually want in my life. And no, they don’t all look like me or pray like me. They are not all democrats. Hell, they even disagree with me about a ton of shit. But they respect me and I respect them. They acknowledge my race and gender and actually give a damn about the burdens I carry as a black woman. They know my heart and the kind of country I want my kids to grow up in. They know how dangerous it is to divide a nation because doing so makes us weaker.

And they are as disgusted by a Trump presidency as I am.

This election should be personal for you. It really should be. Anything less tells me that you don’t care too much about our nation being divided. It tells me that you could care less when people talk about women like pieces of meat. It tells me that that you are comfortable with the disabled being made fun of. It tells me that you think all black people live in horrible conditions and have “nothing to lose.” It tells me that calling Mexicans rapists and criminals is cool in your book.

But you know what? Whether you think it’s personal or not, I hope you decide to vote. I did last week.

Voting is a right and a privilege we should all exercise. It’s our civic responsibility. And even if none of the candidates seem worthy of your vote, put your big girl panties on and make a choice. This is where we are. I don’t know how we got here, but this is where we are.

And when you make a choice and cast your vote, please don’t tell yourself it’s just about politics. This time it’s not. It’s personal whether you choose to believe it or not.