Thursday, December 8, 2016

All I Want for Christmas is to Stay Here in My White, Hot Rage

Other people have written about this better than I will.  I like this piece from Kara Brown. I like this one by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie even more (by the way, have you read Americanah?  It's so good).  But, I'm just gonna take my own amateurish stab at it and tell you why I am not going to reach out to Trump supporters because I could not find a way to be less interested in reaching out to a Trump fan if I had a Trump map and a Trump compass (fun fact: the Trump compass points straight to the flaming pits of hell and then breaks).

One of my beloved cousins, who is so smart and so cool, told me that I couldn't just call 62m Trump voters racist.  And, I get that.  I really do. I get how it could seem unhelpful.

Except ... of course, I can call 62m Trump voters racist.  I'm pretty happy to call a solid 60% of the country racist.

I count myself among that 60%. I am not immune from feeling a shiver of fear when a black male walks in my direction on the street.  And I hate that.  I hate that I have that feeling. And I find myself constantly fighting the racist inclinations that have been bred into me as a white American through 240 years of white supremacy.  I think and hope that I am winning this battle against my own racism.  But I'm not optimistic enough to expect anything less than a lifelong fight.

Until we acknowledge that racism is built into the fiber of this nation and stop thinking that racism only comes in white hoods and burning crosses, we're never going to get better.  The first step to solving a problem and all that...

Remember during the first debate when Hillary was asked if she thought police had an implicit bias and she said "we all have an implicit bias."  Jesus, to think how close we came to having another grown-up in the White House.  It's just devastating.

But we didn't get a grown-up.  We got President Pussygrabber, who racism put into the White House.  And as such, we white folks need to focus on the people who will suffer the most from this devastating presidency.

And that's not white people.

People are scared of Trumplethinskin's presidency.  I'm scared.  But I'm not as scared as the Mexican kid who's afraid that her parents are going to be deported (by the way, it doesn't matter to that kid if her parents are here legally or not: she's picked up on the tone.  She knows what they mean).  Black men are scared that they're going to be harassed by law enforcement with impunity (here's a fun thought experiment: imagine a rich white dude getting stopped and frisked).  Black mothers are afraid that their sons will keep being killed and no one will care.  Women of all colors are afraid of forced pregnancies, of sexual assault becoming even more normalized. LGBTQ Americans are scared of being forced back into the closet.  Muslim Americans are terrified of being put on a registry and then...

And that's where our focus as Progressives and Liberals should be: the people directly and explicitly threatened by President Orange Julius Caesar. The only message I've got for poor rural, whites who voted for Trump is "Hey, you may want to google Paul Ryan Medicare or Paul Ryan Social Security."  That's all the energy I have for them.

And look, I don't wish evil on poor, white Trump voters. I want them to have jobs and healthcare and decent public education.  I want them to be able to retire at a reasonable age instead of spending their golden years stocking shelves at the Super Walmart that drove their hardware store out of business.  As a matter of fact, that's why I vote Democrat!

But if we focus our fight on the minority people who are living through this noxious cloud of visceral hate, if we push our political will towards them, we'll be OK.  We'll be better than OK.  Remember almost 3m more people voted for Hillary.  We won and we need to politic like we did.

Two more things: this is a white people fight.  We have been sitting around too long waiting for the Magical Negro to come around and make us better and then forgive us.  We have been putting the burden of fixing racism and for forgiving white people on black people for too long.  No more.

Second, never forget, my fellow Progressives: plenty of white people who aren't suffering from economic insecurity voted for that walking Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This guy doesn't have any economic insecurity.  Neither does this lady.  They just know They're Supposed to Get More. And you know what?  Fuck those people.  I'm sick of them.  And I'm ready to be louder and angrier than they are.