What the hell are we doing, America? How has it come to this?
Here’s my perspective:
Lyndon Johnson was President when I was born, though he was succeeded by Richard Nixon before my first birthday. I think we all know about Nixon’s impeachment and ignominious exit from the Presidency, which led to the Ford administration. Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976 is the first I can actually remember well at all.
Ronald Reagan, Bush 41, Bill Clinton, Bush 43, and Barack Obama all followed. Those five men took me from pre-adolescence through the births of both of my children. The Clinton administration began the same year as my marriage. My 13-year-old son doesn’t remember a time when there wasn’t a black man and his family in the White House.
Clearly, with the 2016 election, things have changed.
I’ve seen a lot in 48 years of life, but I never anticipated seeing the traveling shit show that is Donald Trump. Perhaps that’s naive of me, especially considering how much sense he makes if you really look at the situation and context.
Barack Obama’s 2008 election and 2012 re-election were nothing short of historic. Make no mistake, I was on the floor crying tears of joy that our nation had finally elected a man based on his qualifications rather than the color of his skin. Having a black President of the United States was akin to fulfilling part of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream and bringing to fruition the work of the Civil Rights Movement. It was the beginning of a new era — the dawn of a new day.
Or was it?
The racism brought to the surface by Obama’s eight years in office has been of epic proportions. It has permeated every aspect of this society. People have openly questioned everything that could potentially provide grounds for Obama’s disqualification as President, from his place of birth to the “non-American lifestyle” he grew up living. It seems that even the blood of a white mother and the strong influence of the white grandparents who helped raise him were not enough to remove the ever visible stain of blackness on this young, handsome, and confident man. How dare he be so well-educated and qualified?! He didn’t even have the decency to marry a white trophy wife! Our country had to endure 8 years of a beautiful, articulate, and strong black woman who was the equal of her husband in every way — and then we had to watch him actually respect her in public.
And what about those beautifully poised and well-behaved little black girls who we were forced to watch become amazing young women before our eyes? That’s enough to piss off anyone who has built their life measuring themselves and their success against the ignorance, poverty, and crime that black people supposedly represent. How dare this man flaunt his education, competence, and strong family values in the face of people who rely on black men to be thugs and criminals to be feared and shot down in the street like animals!
Obama fucked with the heads of a whole lot of white people who couldn’t figure out how to play the game once The Man was a brotha. He was scarier than a nigga in a hoodie: he was a nigga in a suit and tie, running the country and being the most powerful man in the world. Members of the GOP in Congress lost their minds and made it their mission to block Obama at every turn, even against their own best interests.
So, what did folks who were “sick of the games being played in Washington” come up with?
Because there is a whole segment of our society that sees “America” as one thing: white.
Now, there are other attributes that go along with that whiteness that are equally necessary and acceptable: male, straight, Christian (preferably Evangelical), cis-gender, and middle class. I can see why these folks feel that the country is being “taken away” from them. It’s a simple concept, actually; to those in the majority, anything that levels the playing field by giving rights to others outside of that majority feels like oppression. It’s a zero sum game: if something is “given to them” it must mean that it is “taken from us”. Simple, right?
Simple is right. This is simplistic thinking that isn’t worthy of adult reasoning, let alone the many well-educated folks who feel that way. To these folks, Trump is the perfect candidate.
Trump says what they want to hear, even if it means contradicting himself in the course of a single sentence. He was raised with a mindset of “superior people” and the need for them to get together to create more superior people (sound familiar, anyone who has read anything about the Third Reich…?). He espouses “traditional values”: women should stay at home to do the child rearing and cooking while men go out and earn money and provide. The perks of that for Trump have been numerous. How do you think he keeps finding new wives?
Trump champions himself as a man of the people, though one look at his life of privilege and wealth can show anyone with eyes and a brain that nothing could be farther from the truth. Trump supporters don’t care. As long as he shows himself to be aspirational, he’s their man. Maybe those dudes wearing the “Hilary is a Cunt” t-shirts can be rich and successful someday, with the hot ex-model wife to seal the deal.
The Republican Party shouldn’t be shocked by Trump’s primary wins and eventual nomination. Their pandering to the lowest levels of hatred in the far right fringes of their base is what created this monster. Their fear of being “out-righted” by some other segment of the party has led directly to the creation of the hateful uber-candidate that is Donald Trump. He is the good ol’ boy: the womanizing, racist, us vs. them, bully that represents so much of this country, in this so-called “post-racial” society.
Post-racial my ass.
It seems like we take 10 steps backward for every one we take forward. How else could we end up with this elitist overgrown toddler as a viable major party candidate?
So, where are we now?
We are deep in the heart of a movement. It’s not the revolution that Bernie Sanders represented. No, it’s far less positive than that.
We are in the middle of a revolt.
There are politicians running for election right now who claim that there is a “war on men”. There are men, AND women, dismissing Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” as boys-will-be-boys locker room talk — rather than the sexual harassment and assault that it really is. There are folks who are actively advocating for the building of a wall at our border with Mexico and vocally promoting the end of our country’s welcome of refugees from Syria. There are politicians, and their constituents, who are looking forward to getting back to the “good ol’ days”. You know the ones I mean: when women, so-called minorities, LGBTQ folks, and others had no rights. “Make America Great Again” may as well be called “turn back the clock on everything those folks called progress, because it makes me uncomfortable to have to acknowledge their humanity”.
Let me be clear. Turning back the clock on that progress could potentially strip me of my right to vote, my rights as a female citizen of color, and my right to be married to my white husband. All of those rights were given to me prior to my birth, either by Constitutional Amendment or Supreme Court decision. I believe those rights were always mine, endowed by my Creator with my other inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If folks from the right wing fringe have their way, the Constitution would be narrowly construed to include only what our founders wrote in the 18th century. I daresay we’ve made some progress in human rights since then. Perhaps we ought to take that into consideration. I don’t think I’d do well as an enslaved non-voter worth only 3/5 of the white man who owns me. I’m far too uppity.
What scares me is that folks are buying this tripe wholesale. There are folks who actually nod their heads in agreement with Trump’s description of partial birth abortion. Do they think women just merrily trot off to the clinic to kill their babies rather than buy nursery furniture? Are we so lacking in compassion and human decency as to not acknowledge some women make heartbreaking decisions regarding reproduction everyday? Do we only care about being “pro life” while women are pregnant, and then say to hell with it when these babies are born? And how do we justify that same pro life stance when we are screaming for blood in death penalty cases? Remember Trump’s full page ad in the NY Times calling for the execution of the Central Park 5? Even their exoneration won’t compel him to apologize or admit that he was wrong.
What of Trump’s main opponent, Hillary Clinton?
Mrs. Clinton is not without fault, to be sure. Truth be told, I didn’t vote for her in the primary because I was “feeling the Bern”. I voted early for her this past Friday, though. It wasn’t a choice betwen the lesser of two evils (actually the least of four evils, if you count Gary Johnson and Jill Stein). My vote for the former First Lady and Secretary of State was a vote for reason and experience over arrogance and entitlement. It was a vote for reasoned debate over mansplaining and “otherist” rhetoric. It was a vote for the articulate over the infantile.
It was a vote for the future, rather than a mandate to roll back over a century of human rights progress this country has made.
I’m sick of the lies and the bullshit, Donald. I’m sick of listening to you call Mexicans rapists and Mike Pence call you a pro life candidate. I’m sick of you interrupting a competant woman in a debate with your “I’m rubber, you’re glue” approach to civil discourse. I’m tired of the hot mic tapes, the pussy grabbing, the racist bile that drips from your mouth as you tell this African American woman that people like me are living in hell and getting shot just for leaving the house. Mr. Trump, I’m tired of you and all the hatred within this country that you represent.
You are the car accident I can’t stop watching happen.
I need to watch to remind myself what I have to lose if you are elected. I need to remember my beautiful children and the horror a Trump presidency would bring to their lives. I need to remember my friends and loved ones who are everything you and your supporters revile. I need to remember exactly why you are the only candidate I ever feared so much that I took my clothes off to protest against you and your whole political party.
If Hillary Clinton is “such a nasty woman” for being smarter, more articulate, and a skilled politician, then I am proud to join the ranks of nasty women everywhere who cannot wait for pussy to grab you back on November 8. I can’t wait to witness another historic moment in American history when a woman finally becomes President. I know you are too much of a child to concede, so I know her victory would mean your tantrum. Who cares? Like all little kids acting out in public, it’s best to ignore the behavior and walk away. You’d know that if you’d taken any interest in raising any of your 5 children.
On behalf of all the pussies, bad hombres, nasty women, and black folks living in hell, I say Trump you, Donald. We’re sick of getting Trumped. Pick up your marbles, and your supporters, and go away. This country cannot survive being run by a man who has bankrupted his own company so many times, and claims to respect women as he rates them as nasty and disgusting. Leave us alone to pick up the pieces of the mess you’ve created and go back to the business of becoming a whole country again. A Clinton presidency may not be the best answer, but yours would be the end of far too much.