To the 53 Percenters, MAGA fans, and everyone else with common sense,
I know, y’all. I know.
I looked at the title of this blog the way a drunkard would stare at a toilet after an evening of overindulgence and poor decision-making. It was that moment of clarity one has that can only be brought upon by doing something as ridiculous as taking twenty-one shots on your twenty-first birthday as I once did many moons ago. Before projectile vomiting into a porcelain urinal I asked myself aloud, “How the fuck did I get here?”
Many Americans found themselves asking that very question on Election Night in 2016.
Can I be completely honest?
I’ve been sitting on this title and blog idea for over a year now. I knew I had to wait until I had the opportunity to capture white America’s full attention. Centuries of atrocities against people of color obviously wasn’t the way to grab the attention of people too oblivious to their privilege and the system of supremacy they benefit from to be introspective. These are the same people who still crucify Colin Kaepernick for interrupting a song whose third verse is essentially a battle rap threatening to kill slaves to bring attention to the fact that those very descendants of slaves were still being murdered by those “sworn” to “protect and serve” them. These are the people who say “All Lives Matter” but have remained silent about Flint, Michigan and have dismissed images of immigrant children in cages as “propaganda.” They are the people who “don’t see race” because they are completely sold on the “American dream” who don’t realize that dream was only meant for them. They are the white women who harass black children/people for doing everyday activities like getting coffee, going to the pool and selling bottled water outside their homes. These same people won’t even acknowledge that the same constitution they hide behind in arguments to defend guns and free (hate) speech also considers black people as three-fifths of a human being.
Nope. Not enough. Not the rape allegations or mocking the handicapped or calling grown men who protest “sons of bitches.” These are the people that are wholly invested in the success of white supremacy, whether they want to admit it or not.
Which brings us to yesterday.
On a global stage, Trump caped for a Russian dictator that tampered with our election for Trump to win according to our’s government’s substantial evidence, as well as everybody else’s. In the most head-scratching moment to date, Putin then admitted IMMEDIATELY AFTER Trump defended him that he wanted Trump to win the election.
I think treason is a pretty safe demarcation between American patriots from American traitors.
Now that this concerns YOU, I should have your attention. But you’re still about to get this work.
Simply put: Donald “Central Park Five” Trump rode a white wave of fragility and frustration all the way to the highest office in our nation. Like many African-Americans in this country, I wasn’t shocked by the results. What became shocking to me was the year that followed the election. My creative writing studies have trained me to be more observant than I already was, which has allowed me to challenge myself to always find the truth from all the angles, not just the ones I find most comfortable. That challenge drove me to the title selected. There was no other title I could have used, and it is for one simple reason:
Donald Trump is the human embodiment of the society we are as a COLLECTIVE.
I say this without a sliver of sarcasm, irony, or jest. Our general actions, mentality, and ideologies as a nation are no different than the joke of a leader who focuses more on Twitter timelines and back nines than his job.
For a moment, take a minute to step back and examine yourself the same way you scrutinize others. We have become overly-sensitive, unable to process criticism, and incapable of disagreement without severing ties to individuals who don’t agree with everything as we see it. We make passive-aggressive (and in many cases, outright ignorant) social media posts to appease a group of people who, ironically, are trying to impress those very same people. The preceding description fits for more than just our current White House occupant.
I’m not excusing ANYTHING that Trump has done. His presidency has been a shitstorm at best. But the general direction we are headed as a society isn’t far off. The oval office isn’t the only place that could use a good spring cleaning.
Didn’t vote? Trump is your fault. Spare me the “my vote doesn’t matter” bullshit, because since Trump has been President I have YET to hear anyone say that. (Also note: this isn’t the time to say it in my comments section to appear different.) The apathetic nature many citizens have is the very crutch that has allowed America to limp along with its old ways. There’s no other way you can explain how 90% of Congress is filled with old white men. Representation matters, but if you don’t represent at the polls, your voice is weakened and essentially silenced. Ask black women in Alabama what showing up to the polls can do. Ask the politicians who continually and actively influence gerrymandering and who try (and often succeed) to make it nearly impossible for people of color to vote. Those who dissuade others against voting don’t even realize that they’re helping the very enemy they despise simply by telling people not to participate in the voting process at all.
Voted for Trump? This shit is DEFINITELY your fault. There is no intelligible way you can expect me to respect your intelligence by telling me that you ACTUALLY thought Donald Trump would make a good president. Many voted for him just because he was a white man and they abhorred the brother in the Oval Office. Some were naïve enough (I’m talking to you, Midwest) to think this “businessman” could “right the ship” of a nation that was experiencing record highs on the stock market and record lows in unemployment. I even had social media associates of all races (just because Facebook calls us friends doesn’t mean that we are) who thought it would be “fun” to vote for Donald Trump. Eighteen months in, are you having fun yet? At this point, there is no reason to hide behind supporting Trump except for white supremacy. You’re going to have to deal with that.
Part of American culture? This one’s on you, especially sports fans. Why? There is a mentality that people have in sports that has permeated into our politics since we’ve established a two-party system. That same mentality is held by most white supremacists as well: this is OUR team, and the only thing we care about is if OUR team wins. Facts don’t matter unless they can be manipulated to our benefit and the facts that we can’t manipulate we ignore. This is the base mentality of any fan who argues about LeBron versus Kobe (and, for the record, MJ is the GOAT guys, the other guys are amazing, they just played longer and benefitted from technological advancements. See? Nobody is an exception to this.) I’ve often heard people refer to tribal mentalities, but you cannot call yourself an American and think that this is only America if it ONLY benefits white people. Or black people. Or trans people. Or immigrants (which damn near ALL of us are). The social media attention whores, the racists, the online “activists” that are more concerned about gaining followers than making true change, the “I don’t see color/Love is the answer” pacifists who allow racism to thrive, the revolutionaries who won’t participate in anything unless the revolution happens THEIR way, the BBQ Becky’s and Starbucks patrons who are no different than George Zimmerman whose privilege and arrogance convinces them which spaces black people are allowed to live in without harassment.
Donald Trump falls on ALL of us…but the lion’s share of this is on Y’ALL. Wypipo. My brethren who lack melanin. Now the time has come for you, the MAGA hat wearing, Fox News watching, I-love-the-anthem-but-break-US-Flag-code-rules-for-respect-by-wearing-the-flag having citizens to have a come to Jesus moment. You know, so-called evangelicals: Jesus, that immigrant your Christian doctrine says is your savior that doesn’t look like you? THAT one. It’s time to start doing something for the people that look like Jesus besides crucify them. It’s time to confess your sins and admit that you fucked up. Or admit that you’re racist and that you’re loving every bit of this presidency because it’s exactly what you wanted.
There is one genuine reason that I feel Trump is perfect for our country, however. Simply put Donald Trump is America’s alarm clock. We as a whole must understand that there are people who don’t want to see this nation be one that’s united, filled with varying opinions that challenge ourselves to become better people and citizens. There are people who only want to see a rerun of white supremacy throughout this nation. These are the ones that enjoy the use of dog-whistle words and nationalist rhetoric. These people are called RACISTS, and it doesn’t matter if you’re related to them or not, their ideologies are a part of the very foundation of oppression that MY relatives have to endure and have endured for centuries. But white supremacy, just like any other beast, is at its most violent before it dies. We have the potential to see the end of this (or its newest iteration) sooner than later, but not without more involvement of those who feel disenfranchised. The protests must continue. The uncomfortable conversations have to keep happening. Might I also add this point: stop asking people of color/women/trans people to explain their pain to your lazy ass. If Black History Month actually worked, I wouldn’t have to waste my time explaining oppression to the privileged.
My mother told me once when I was young that if you’re going to do something, good or bad, be the best at it. The resistance I’ve seen from this presidency is a promising start and proof that people realized how we as a country have fucked up. But we cannot treat our society the way many treat their workout regimens, half-assed and only when they feel it’s important. We must continue to remain active in our local and national politics. We have to understand what power we have as citizens and galvanize that energy to create the more perfect union we’ve always been sold but were never told we had a real influence to create.
The line in the sand has been drawn. Choose which side of history you want to be on, and more importantly, own it. Unborn children will learn about this in their history classes. Those children will ask us, “What did you do?” Each day that we live right now is the answer to the question.
See you tomorrow.