This Is Who We Are

It has ended. And so it begins.

I have been hearing people all day talk about why the election went the way it did. One popular theory is that America simply isn’t ready for a woman as president. That we, as a nation, simply could not imagine a female Commander in Chief, and so, chose the man instead.

That’s probably part of it. I am sure there will be plenty of think pieces appearing in the next weeks and months, attempting to grasp how our nation thought it best to put Trump in the Oval Office, instead of Clinton. The political pundits will sound off with demographic data and key aspects of each campaign to clarify what exactly caused this moment in history. And, the theories will most likely fall along predictable partisan lines, with conservatives claiming that Americans long for strong and decisive leadership, and liberals claiming the stupidity of the masses have once again let fear overcome reason. Surely there will be lots of nuance and variations. Reams of data will be produced to support each claim. We will be given sound bites to chew and new memes will appear on social media. Anything to reduce this event to an easily digestible nugget of popular wisdom.

I don’t have any special insight into this, nor do I claim to understand national politics as well as the pundits. My own feelings and thoughts just come from my gut, filtered through the education I have so far. This is just what I see.

The election has ended and now we come face to face with the reality of a Trump presidency. The candidate we ridiculed and lambasted now holds the highest office in the land. The angry white man, with a fist full of pussy, is pulling up his chair next to the nuclear codes, ready to Make America Great Again. He isn’t afraid of ISIS. He’s not afraid to be politically incorrect. The angry white man is going to show those Mexicans and Muslims who is boss. He’ll send them packing and build a wall to keep them out.

This is who we are.

That is a harsh thing to face. I can imagine some of you reading this thinking that not ALL of us are like that. And you’re right. We are not all a bunch of walking, talking, Trump puppets. There are plenty of other people in this nation who do not fit that description and actually resist it. What I mean is that this is what America IS.

It is nothing new. Don’t hide anymore. We have a history which has brought us to this moment. In that history there are legion of angry white men, abusing women, enslaving Africans, killing Natives, and stealing land. The lofty words of The Declaration of Independance, “All Men are Created Equal” are simply a masthead for a system of control and domination. The “All Men” in that phrase were very specifically, white, land and slave owning, men. There is no way to separate the writer and the written. There is no more time to sit idly by and recount the victories of the past. At the precipice of this most current future, our darkest past is being revealed. The “All Men” of the Declaration was written for Donald Trump.

It wasn’t written for Hillary Clinton. Nor Barrack Obama. Nor the millions of LGBTQ folks, Mexicans, Muslims, people with disabilities, People of Color, Indigenous People, or white women. Those words were written for straight white men with financial and political means. Those words were written for Donald Trump.

We need to understand this immediately. We need to stop pretending. Facing this future will mean coming to terms with our past. As much as it is said, it still remains true; the only way out is through.

Showing up for this struggle must entail resistance to the very foundations of this nation. No longer can we dismiss misogyny as “boys will be boys;” we must end patriarchy. No longer can we ascribe resource disparity to “the marketplace;” we must destroy capitalism. No longer can we be satisfied with the “Rule of Law;” we must disrupt white supremacy. No longer can we be complacent with the “cost of doing business;” we must end the extractive and destructive practices which fuel this society.

And what does Trump have to do with this? He is the symptom. He is the wake up call. He is merely the most recent iteration of a program of destruction which has been underway on this continent since 1492. This is not, nor has it ever been, a partisan battle. When we look back on the last eight years and rejoice in a first family that has shown beauty and grace in the face obstructionism and bigotry, we can not forget that under the Obama administration, the wheels of imperialism have continued to grind. We can not ignore that despite a black man being elected to president, racism, sexism, classism, and environmental destruction have been continuing unchecked. The only thing Trump has done in this moment is remove the veneer of respectability that so many of us have been clinging to as an indicator of real progress.

Trump is not our problem. Our problem is the system of domination which lays across this land and is destroying the very things that give us life. All Trump has done is return us to reality. The reality that white supremacist patriarchy is the name of the game. And the game is killing us.

 

Silverback Gringo

 

3 thoughts on “This Is Who We Are

    1. I feel the first step is self-education. Understanding how oppression works in the world, and how the intersections affect us as individuals.

      Of course, that process is ongoing. So the second step needs to be concurrent with the first. Reaching out to others like ourselves and sharing what we are learning. Building relationships with others who are NOT like ourselves and listening deeply.

      Action is required both personally and in community. When we see places to speak up; speak up. When we see ways to intervene; intervene. When we see ourselves falling into old ways, correct ourselves. Organize with other folks like ourselves to take action. Be that educational within white dominated spaces, or protest in private and public spaces.

      It is messy. It is not clear cut. We make mistakes and learn. But still; we gotta do it. We must find the uncomfortable places and be present within them. We must reach out to folks and weed through the discomfort together.

      Recently I heard from a friend who heard Angela Davis speak to a 500 year plan. This is bigger than the next election cycle. This is shifting of culture. It is thankless and difficult. Gains are incremental. But we gotta do it anyway. And we need each other to get through it and have support when it all feels hopeless. Because it often does. And in the hopelessness, we need to pick each other up and start again.

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