The morning of Election Day felt like waking up with a hangover. Not the cheap tequila variety where moments were lost to the night and close friends may have been accidentally insulted. It was more along the lines of consuming too much eggnog during Christmas Eve and the accompanying nausea. Initially I assumed it was just the regular Election Day jitters; will my polling location be where it’s supposed to be or will my name be at said location. As the day wore on though the feeling became something more, by the time I planned my schedule to cast my ballot the depths of my affliction began to take shape. It would be far too simple to define it as fear; you can face fears and overcome them. The foreboding calamity that clutched my soul was inescapable, as the time ticked closer towards the evening hours the grasp tightened. With my ballot finally cast, my children fed and sent off to bed I turned on the Election 2016 coverage in hopes of releasing the vice grip of terror I’d been trapped in all day. After only moments of CNN coverage I recognized what would come to fruition in a matter of hours, the only response I was able to execute was to naively go to sleep in hopes that things would change whilst I napped. Despite my best efforts the next time I awoke America had already drawn a line through itself. The disenfranchised majority of white people (I’m still not sure how that’s a thing) had spoken, nominations were being conceded, the champion of racist vitriol, producer of ethnocentrism’s greatest hits and misogynist pussy grabbing had been elected and Van Jones was giving his best attempt at explaining all the shattered pieces.
Whenever racism prospers in any way no matter how minuscule or tremendous the initial reaction should be to lash out. It’s a disgusting thing that permeates through our country around almost every dark street corner and well-lit cul-de-sac. I wanted to lash out, break something, anything, maybe everything; but I was in my own home so that wouldn’t do. All I could do was think and begin writing, within that maybe I could figure out how this happened. Almost immediately my how became who did this. A ‘man’ endorsed by David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan will be succeeding perhaps one of the most influential human beings ever in President Barack Obama. A ‘man’ who ran a campaign etched in the stones of hate, misogyny, racism and bigotry stood on a podium after obtaining the requisite votes and celebrated its resounding success. Perhaps that is the freshest section of the lash that is most painful to consider. This was an election; there was no accident or hostile takeover. There was no successful military coup d’etat; we witnessed a failed coup end in bloodshed and rounds of high-caliber ammunition in Turkey this past summer; it most certainly was not that. Millions of Americans voluntarily voted for what they want this country to become and simultaneously demonstrated to the world what and who they are.
By no means is this an attack on personal freedoms, especially against the freedom of opinion or the right to support whichever candidate or political party one may feel so inclined to. Many Americans of all races fought and died for those rights, I’d never dream of taking them away. While that right exists it’s not without it’s caveats. The rights to support and vote however you’d like also encompasses the right for the world to vocalize what that support really means. For instance, to be a Donald Trump supporter and willing voter despite the previously mentioned aspects of his campaign would classify that supporter as one of the following if not all of the above:
With the bare minimum in regards to policies on display through his entire campaign and absolutely no previous political experience of any kind, a person would have to be voting for what Donald Trump currently stands for. It will be near impossible to convince the world that the resounding amount of white women who voted for Trump despite his unapologetic misogny do not fall into one if not multiple of the classifications above. Most certainly there will be no convincing the millions of Americans that didn’t vote similarly. I suppose any honest effort at convincing people as to why a person would stand for and believe in such things is welcome, although there will be a response for each attempt at justification.
In the days after the Election the RPM meter on the justification engine has been at the figurative redline, through social media and personal interactions the many terms of explaining away the ugly have been on display. In-between the devout dredges of supporters and the vocal Trump objectors there was a silent collection of people largely responsible for our new world. Apparently, those same people just wanted a change. Some wanted their country back from foreign invaders responsible for stealing jobs and livelihoods from real Americans. Most were fed up with the political machine Hilary Clinton stood as the archetype for and were enamored with Trump’s devil may care attitude towards the entire institution that is or was the political process. Those might be acceptable justifications if they weren’t based on being at best negligently oblivious or at worst racist in the camouflage of regular human behavior. Those are two of the more prominent options. It is possible that there are variations and combinations in between but what isn’t among those is that support for Donald Trump was and is actualized through good will on to others.
For those who requested a change, the obvious query is a change to what? Within 24 hours of the Trump victory open racists, now injected with steroidal-like validation, have targeted women, minorities and perceived immigrants around the country. Young children are proliferating the hate they are learning at home into society through attacks on their peers within the walls of schools. The once assumed safe places for our children to attend are maturing into fervent battlegrounds. College age adults, already considered the most brash and unapologetic brand of attention seekers were seemingly prepared with new and further devolved racist epitaphs for social consumption. A short 10-minute stroll through @shaunking on twitter depicts the harsh reality and disgusting response to Trump’s campaign. For all of those people who had grown weary of the specter of American politicians wrapped in their stars and stripes of double talk and broken promises; is this the change they requested? The once divisive rhetoric we received through the Republican Primary and the Presidential race is now a heartbreaking, embarrassing and dangerous reality. At this point it doesn’t matter if the votes were cast with the intent of creating what has begun to occur or if they were cast in outright ignorance; the change is here and it doesn’t matter if it’s the one you voted for or just the one we all have to deal with.
The hope in all of this, yes there is hope involved, is that once the sadness and hurt over the depths of hatred in this country subsides even a tiny amount; the horizon of what has to come next will begin to rise. Perhaps those with hate in their hearts intended for this to be a death knell of sorts, a figurative gnashing of the ‘Easy Button’. A vote for Trump was a vote for a new world order where all glorious promises would come to pass. All women would welcome groping of their vagina’s by their misogynist celebrity conquers, there would be a willing mass exodus of the minority, disabled and LGBT populations by land, sea and air. A magnificent wall drenched with the opulence and golden standard of the Trump brand would rise around all borders. Perhaps the most majestic expectation is that the employment fairy would visit all those lower to middle class working Americans in need of employment as they slumber and replace their sycophantic will to vote against their best interests with shiny new jobs. While a vote for Trump was an attempt at such a future, the actual results could not be further from the reality this county will face.
There is a limit to the amount of injustice people are willing to live with on a daily basis. The limit isn’t the same for everyone, some had passed it well before Trump’s ascension and others are rapidly approaching theirs. Due to those closely passed and approaching limits organization will begin. By the time this paragraph has been completed organization will have begun. For the uninitiated, organization isn’t a few folks getting together for a book club or the recital of a few bible hymns at a late service. Organization is the collaboration of like-minded people with the interests of achieving goals; the new Trump world has left those of us willing to organize with countless goals. The rhetoric in the face of hate has always been love; it has always made sense to move forward with such reciprocal methods. That notion isn’t invalid by any means, love is still very much necessary; loving our neighbors, embracing all of those people who are different yet deserving of our love and respect not only as Americans but as humans, is all very necessary. In some ways what the country has shown us is cyclical; the disenfranchised majority (there’s that term again) has inflicted wrongs upon different people many times before. If we observe history we can see that there always comes a time for action; the organization that is beginning now is leading to that action. The oppressed people of the world and especially of America have always used love as a shield, a means to persevere and withstand the hate spewed from the Donald and David Dukes of the time. The truth of the matter is oppressors have weapons, swords of hate that continually clang, scrape and grind against our shields if they don’t infact pierce our bodies. Love can continue to be our shield but organization and action must and will become our sword. Organization must and will become a tool we utilize to protect ourselves from the hate that has been openly perpetuated towards all oppressed people throughout this country.
Trump’s election signifies many things, almost as a reflex the words racism, bigotry, misogyny and xenophobia trail after his name like the caboose of a steam train. There are people who wanted this; there are people that don’t understand what they were a part of and many others who let their inactivity speak for itself. These decisions have impacted an entire country, even the world and left many in the crosshairs of a blitzkrieg like attack on human dignity that will most likely get worse. Many will take all of these events as a signal to double down on love, respect and unity with the intent of human decency seeing us all through to the other side. We need human decency, and I’m sure there will come a time when the concept isn’t so difficult to explain to our children, there doesn’t seem to be an estimated arrival date for that moment though; so then what, is patience the sigil of this perilous time? Some may reluctantly and compulsively say yes; what the face of racism running rampant throughout our country will come to signify is the moment when many people decided they won’t be waiting for hate to come to their doorstep, many people won’t be waiting for human decency to return on it’s own. Organization will be the actions taken towards education, protection, self-defense and even the self-actualization of what we as people can and will accomplish once we truly move to make the world a decent place instead of waiting for it to become one.
There is no more waiting, there is only now.