When Trump first announced he was running for president, I found it weird and awful in a “fuck this shit” kind of way but also vaguely amusing in a sad, bad reality-TV show kind of way. Another idiot on the screen. I didn’t take it seriously though.
How could I?
You see, I thought outright racism, xenophobia, and misogyny disqualified someone from presidency. I thought over-simplified, ignorant (if not downright moronic) proposals such as “let’s send all the illegals home” disqualified somebody from a position, say, as PRESIDENT OF OUR FUCKING NATION.
I thought emptiness behind the eyes and acting like an overall buffoon would repel people on a superficial level alone. Simply, I don’t want that asshat representing my nation.
But I was wrong.
I watched the media put him in the spotlight over and over again, and I wondered how they could care about clicks more than the future, about circus over substance. I know. I know. This is how they’ve always been.
And with each one of his bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, idiotic statements, publicized relentlessly, I watched his following INCREASE instead of decrease. It was like an out-of-body experience. I kept thinking, this. This will be thing that wakes up his supporters.
But it made them love him more.
And now, I’m fucking terrified.
Last week, Trump refused to openly and immediately disavow the support of a known KKK member.
THE KKK, PEOPLE. The lynch-ers. The murderers. The children-murderers. The church bombers. Arguably the most violent and hated and ugly group of wannabe humans to ever walk our soil.
Not a deal-breaker, I guess.
Trump thinks Mexico is going to “build a wall.” He stated that Mexicans are drug addicts, criminals, and rapists. He wants to register and track Muslims. He wants to survey and close mosques. He wants to lock down our borders based on ethnicity and religion and lock down the internet. He wants to repeal marriage equality. He makes fun of his supporters. He thinks climate change is a “hoax,” invented by the Chinese (?). He mocked a disabled journalist. He mocks “fat” and “ugly” women and said rape in the military is expected if you put men and women together (NICE ONE!). He said he would have sex with his daughter if she weren’t his daughter. He said he “could stand in the middle of 5th avenue and shoot somebody” and not lose voters. This is a small selection of what he has to offer.
And yet, his support grows.
Are we really this fucked up?
Yes. The answer is yes. We know this because his followers love him BECAUSE of his bigotry, not in spite of it.
It’s hard to believe this is really my country, right now, in 2016. It’s hard to believe a huge number of Americans think they will “make America great again” by returning to a time the rest of us look back on as the darkest moments in our history.
Make America great for whom?
At this point, supporting Trump unequivocably means support for racism. But this doesn’t bother Trump fans. In fact, I believe his openly white supremacist stance IS THE MAIN ATTRACTION of this circus.
Yesterday I read this tweet by Hend Amry: “If you’re an American confusedly watching the darkest forces of ur nation rally behind a demagogue-maybe u can understand the Mid East now.”
When I read her words I felt a moment of relief, you know, the way writing speaks something you’ve been unable to put into words? That’s what I feel. Confusion at watching dark forces I didn’t fully know existed bring to power a man that represents everything I thought my country was moving AWAY from.
Look, I knew they existed, but I thought they were a small, distant number. I thought they were radicals hiding in the corners, not enough people to elect this “rabid coyote,” as Stephen King calls him. (Undoubtedly I thought that because I am white, and have lived my whole life in California.)
I’ve listened with anxious curiosity to Trump supporters. They say things like “He’s going to keep us safe from terrorists;” “He isn’t reliant on lobbyists because he’s independently wealthy,” “He tells the truth,” “He isn’t a regular politician,” “Our country is being overrun by immigrants.”
The truth thing is wrong. He lies all the damn time and they’re just ignoring that. But the rest? We made that. We made the whole thing. We built this house one motherfucking brick at a time.
They are afraid. They are fed-up. They are fucking tired. They’re mostly poor and uneducated and overworked. And they live in a country telling them brown people are the reason why. They live in a country breathing racism. It’s in their bones. And now, they’ve found somebody willing to say it. He is voice to their family talks while watching Nascar over dinner. He is their conversation after “church.” He is bar talk with buddies. He’s the motherfucking knitting circle.
He is them.
And we made it all.
WHY DO THEY THINK IT’S OKAY TO SUPPORT AN OVERT RACIST? No, why are they straight empowered by him? Why do they see his devotion to white supremacy as the solution?
Because this is America. This is how we do.
We do it every time we call brown religious extremists “terrorists” and white ones “mentally disturbed.” White rioters “upset about the hockey game” and brown ones “thugs.” We do it every time we shoot unarmed people of color without recourse while claiming racism was “fixed” during the Civil Rights movement, a story that allows us to return to bootstraps mentalities while ignoring systemic inequalities in healthcare, education, class, and the justice system.
In other words, we blame “them.”
We set this up, one day at a time. Through our media and national rhetoric, we’ve planted images of the “other,” and the fear and power and entitlement wrapped up in those narratives have materialized in a man speaking that which the nation has been whispering under its breath since inception, carrying out with its hands, pitting poor working whites against people of color to justify the exploitation and powerlessness of their own lives.
Hey, I may be fucked, but at least I’m not brown. We’ve been doing this for years, and it’s worked beautifully.
We’ve bolstered our national (freedom-loving, land of equality) identity in spite of reality through the white-washing of history: by teaching the Japanese Internment in 15 minutes at 2pm on a Friday; by glossing over our Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1790 defining citizens as “free white people of good moral character,” and the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Geary Act; antisemitic efforts and the one-drop rule and nationwide, state-enforced anti-miscegenation laws and the 1907 Gentleman’s Act with Japan; denial of citizenship to Asians, blacks, Filipinos; the Johnson-Reed, National Origins and Asian Exclusion acts that tilted immigration in favor of Western European whites; America’s colonization of the Philippines and the resulting slaughter of 2 million Filipinos; the special gun we made to kill them; denying citizenship, voting rights and representation to America’s colonies, which we call “territories” because “colonizing” is what mean British do; we did it by forgetting the Tydings-Mcduffie Act of 1934 and Mexican Repatriation and the Bracero Act and Yellow Peril…
Make America great again.
Our nation was formed through exclusionary racist laws, social and cultural forces, but we don’t teach that, not loudly at least, because it hurts our feelings. Is that why? Because it undermines our understanding of precious America?
Nah, I think it’s about power. Maintenance of power.
And I’ll be damned if we’re not getting what we asked for.
This is it people. This is what you fucking get when you let fantasy override reality and rather than face and learn from mistakes, reframe them into vague rhetoric about “the greatest country of earth.” City on a hill. Better than the rest.
THIS IS WHAT YOU GET THROUGH AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM AND WHITE SUPREMACY.
You get a bunch of white Americans believing they are exceptional and entitled to supremacy.
Or, Trump supporters.
The people shoving this black teen yesterday in Kentucky are the same angry mob yelling at Elizabeth Eckford as she attempted to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School, in Little Rock, Arkansas, September 4, 1957.
If you don’t teach history, you get history back again.
And now, everybody’s freaking out. It takes a batshit blowhard explaining that he needs to “check his sources” before speaking out against the KKmotherfuckingK to make us scratch our heads and say “Geeeee I guess we should do something.”
Yeah. We better.
Fuck party lines. This isn’t about the GOP or Democrats. This is about not allowing a bigoted almost-fascist (all we need is direct violence!) wannabe dictator to return our country to oblivion. This is about tearing down the mind-boggling danger of him and his followers and the rhetoric they embrace. (Incidentally, let’s not vote somebody in who just says this shit more quietly, mmmkay?)
Use your writing. Use your voice. Use your canvas use your spray paint use your music. Use your car your home your mouth. Use your art your work your hobby your legs and your hands. Use anything. Use everything.
Use your motherfucking vote.
Move your feet. Do not be quiet.
We built this house. We can tear it down.
The revolution will not be televised. It will be live.
God damnit, America, MAKE IT LIVE.