“I’m not saying that supporting Donald Trump makes you racist. That wouldn’t be fair. It’s a lot more likely that you were already racist, and that’s why you support Donald Trump.” ~ Jeremy McLellan
People all over the United States will be voting for Donald Trump today. They will be coming out in droves. It is not a joke. It is not funny. It is not entertainment. It is real. Human beings all over America, whose vote counts just as much as yours or mine, will be heading to the polls and voting for a person who was roasted by Jersey Shore‘s “The Situation” on Comedy Central. Breathing citizens will be casting a ballot for a man who body slammed and pummeled the face of Vince McMahon at WWE’s WrestleMania… This is the person whom the majority of the republicans in this country want to choose the next Supreme Court justice.
This is actually happening. A few months ago, I posted a picture of a face that Donald Trump was making during one of the first republican presidential debates. I wrote a bit about how annoyed I was by his affects, and I talked about how I could understand why his supporters were so angry… Having to deal with the faces he makes. And that voice. And those words that come out of that mouth. But even then–as he still led in the polls–I was blissfully believing that #WeAreBetterThanThis, and that human nature was such that we could be trusted… If not to make the “right” decision, at least humanity could be trusted not to make the decision that is empirically the most “wrong.” I believed that by the time the primaries came around, the GOP would have woken from its collective sleep, and chosen someone–ANYONE–other than him. At the end of the post of Trump’s annoying face, I wrote the following words:
“Still, I appreciate him. I think that by the time he is cast aside from the presidential race, he will have better exposed the thriving heart of white supremacism that still beats within this country. A heart that, for some, is still hard to perceive. He draws out the hatred like the poison that it is, and he lures the people who have been festering in the darkness of racism into the light of day… Where perhaps they will catch a glimpse of themselves, and come to their senses.”
For so long–for decades–people have been keeping their racism hidden… Frustratingly unable to say what was really in their hearts. Anger swelled over being told there were certain words they could not say around anyone but the most trusted people in their tribe. That anger maturated into hatred. And that anger and hatred sat there, like an ulcer in their collective gut. “Who do they think they ARE?!?” And the last seven years have been nearly more than they could handle… With that black boy in the White House… With his fancy words and his fancy education. With that uppity negro on the TV–combined with everyone and their “rules” about saying things that were “politically incorrect”–it made that dark thing inside of them fester and rot. And that stuff needs to come out.
And like the relief of an open sore, there appeared some ways to let it out. There was the anonymity of the internet, like a pointy white hat. There were forums to blame all the ones in power for the rot that grew inside of them. There was the cold feel of steel in their hands, the kickback of the gun, and the little holes in the dark silhouette in their sights. There was a budding movement that demonized decency as the same “political correctness” that kept their hatred smoldering inside of them… They longed for the old days, when you could say what you wanted. They longed for the days before it seemed like every one of those mooching welfare recipients had a camera on their phone to record every interaction with the ones “keeping the peace”/enforcing the status quo. They longed for the good old days… When America was “GREAT.” And then, like the head of a pimple letting out the building pressure and the puss of the hatred inside of them, there appeared a figure vowing to “Make America Great AGAIN!” And those pimple felt so good to pop… Every one of them releasing some of the pressure that had built up:
Build a wall… Pop!
Mexican rapists… Pop!
Ban all Muslims from entering… Pop!
Take out the families of the terrorists… Pop!
Mocking people with disabilities… Pop!
All lives matter… Pop!
The next thing you know, there are stories everywhere about people saying and doing things that were once almost universally known to be unacceptable… Not just grown ups, but kids getting involved as well. Things like white high school girls brazenly spelling out “NI**ER” with their shirts, and laughing as their photo was taken:
Things like the student body from a mostly white Iowa high school, who were getting beaten by a team with hispanic players, deciding to chant “Trump, Trump, Trump!” It wasn’t the first time that had happened to the team…
And even though there is no mistaking the kind of degrading intimidation that was intended by just chanting his name, make no mistake–Donald Trump is doing nothing to make the United States more racist. He is simply exposing it. He’s not causing it… He’s an indictment of it. He is making it okay to say the stuff that’s inside of people. Like one of my friends said, “Trump is a truth serum.”
And that’s the truth. He is a giant mirror to the soul of America. Some of us look into that mirror, and we are shocked and disgusted at what we see. Others look into it and they feel relieved. They feel a deep sense of “I’m not the only one.” While many people of color look at it like, “NOW do you see what I’m talking about??” I am one of the ones who is shocked. And disgusted. I am sickened at the sight of the rot at the heart of this country. I am embarrassed at the ignorance that blinded me to the extent of the seething canker. I am amazed and saddened by the size of the tumor that has been exposed. And it almost makes me doubt whether there is any hope for healing… ALMOST.
So listen… Yesterday, Trump requested that a group of about 30 black students–students from Valdosta State University (where the rally was being held)–were removed before he even took the stage. They neither said nor did anything to get removed. They were just standing together, and security removed them. And people cheered as it happened… This is a poison inside of us. It is the rot of racism. It is the decay of discrimination. It has been festering in darkness for too long. Please, take two minutes to watch this scene from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I saw this in a different way as I was thinking about the poison of racism and white supremacy. Look at the compassion on Gandalf’s face as he looks at the king’s cloudy eyes. Look at how the darkness is no match for the light. Look at the king wake up… Look at him breathe the free air… Look at him come to his senses. And be filled with hope.
And then GO VOTE! Because you know who IS going to vote? All those people who haven’t had a chance to wake up yet, that’s who. Let us show our kids that we are better than this. And we can do it without demonizing the people who don’t yet get it. Let us look at those people with compassion, and say, “Too long have you sat in the shadows.” Let us work to release the people wearing those stupid red hats from the spell that they are under. Let us speak the truth in such love that it “draws out Saruman like poison from a wound.” Seriously though. We’ve got to vote. Together, we can make a difference.
I spent a while writing some poems for some of my Patrons. You can read them HERE. They turned out better than I expected… Also, if you’d like to be help support this blog, my writing, or me, you can do that RIGHT HERE. There are some fun things you can get. Gabriel Fancher did… Proving that you don’t have to agree with someone politically to value them as a person and a voice in the world. Thanks dude. Also, Facebook and Twitter or whatever…