Was Tupac right after all? Were we not ready?
After all of that hope and change in 2008, the “hands across America”-styled fuzziness of faux friendship and ultimately empty empathy, is the mask finally being lifted?
Are we seeing now, for the first time, the true and honest, hate-strangled face of America’s soul?
It was at the inauguration that I noticed: the ghouls are out.
His family all appear plastic, perfectly coiffed and possessed.
Similarly, his audience seemed to be made up of an undulating sea of bleach-bodied Barbie dolls just recently released from a 60-year cryogenic slumber, where nothing about them has changed since the 50s.
Suddenly, emboldened by the success of Donald Trump: the physical embodiment of every hateful, xenophobic and sexist thought they’ve dared to espouse, they’ve begun snaking serpentine-like, along the corners, cracks and crevices of our open society, arrogantly naked in the full light of day.
And they’re rejoicing and screaming, “we won,” while crying tears of resentment and vindictive validation, leaving the enlightened of us with the cold, wet and heavy realization that a good portion of our country has always been either filled with hate-crazed bigots or entirely apathetic automatons, ready to follow whatever order given and totally numb to the anxiety that a monster has just been given the keys to what could very well be our own country’s demise.
Sure if you’re not affected by Trump’s idiocy, maybe nothing will change for you.
But if you’re Muslim-American, you protest against his proposed policies of creating a registry if not deporting or all-out banning you from the country. If you’re black, you protest against his support and affinity for the unconstitutional “Stop and Frisk” policy.
If you’re woman, you protest against his proposed policy of penalizing abortion. You protest to raise awareness about the multiple allegations of sexual assault and rape against him. If you’re Mexican, you protest against his proposed goddamn wall, his planned mass deportations and all of the insanity that would go along with it, including but not limited to arrests, incarcerations and concentration camps.
And more importantly, you protest to let the half of the nation that at best doesn’t care about any of that, or at worst agrees with it, that you will not go quietly.
You let them know that if it is to be war, then so be it.
And that’s where we are: parents against children, friend against friend, brother against brother.
A little more than half of the country is currently dealing with the fact that the other would actively choose to remove and dismiss not only their importance, but possibly their utter existence, while not batting an eyelash. I can only imagine how the holidays went.
Imagine someone’s grandma, all arthritic and addle minded, suddenly and finally having the confidence to stand up at the dinner table, point to her oldest daughter’s son and “roommate” and, without a shred of apprehension or shame, loudly proclaim to God and country:
The Great Unveiling: The moment in American history when half the country finally dropped its veil of passive aggression and admitted that not only is racism still alive, but it has gone absolutely nowhere.
Neither has sexism, but as a man, I understandably have no expertise in that area. But hell, do I need one? Never before has a presidential candidate been so dismissive, ignorant and willfully hateful toward the whims and wishes of the female demographic voting bloc.
And never has a candidate who has flashed even the slightest hint of such behavior been so heavily carried and supported by that very group he has offended.
We are in Civil War people.
According to civilwar.org:
Afterwards Confederate James wrote his Federal Brother:
“I was astonished to hear from the prisoners that you was color Bearer of the Regmt that assaulted the Battery at this point the other day.” James continued, “I was in the Brest work during the whole engagement doing my Best to Beat you(.) but I hope you and I will never again meet face to face bitter enemies on the Battlefield(.) but if such should be the case You have but to discharge your duty for your cause for I can assure you I will strive to discharge my duty to my country and my cause.”
The letter from brother to brother was carried across the bloody fields of James Island under flag of truce. Shortly after the battle, Confederate James tried to visit his federal brother by going to the Union lines and asking if the 79th. N.Y. was on picket duty. They went and the officer in charge of the Federal troops would not allow James to cross the lines and search for his brother nor would he send for Alex so he could be brought out for a meeting.
Things didn’t hit home for me until my coworker was arrested.
While everyone in our office building lined up along Duke street in Alexandria, Virginia, in the freezing cold watching our breath lift and float away like escaping opportunities, my coworker (who shall remain nameless) twisted and contorted in handcuffs. She screamed like a maniac while police carried her alligator-style to a waiting squad car.
Our office was a temporary one. We were in transition and the higher ups at headquarters felt it necessary to move the small staff of our satellite office into a Regus space that shared a floor with seven other startups.
It was there that my coworker had developed a fast friendship with a small impish white woman from another company across the hall named Sally. Being a near 6-foot-tall, Prince George’s County, Maryland born-and-bred black girl, the two made for an interesting image strolling among the tightly dressed penguin walkers waddling around Alexandria during lunch hour.
For a while, they were inseparable. My coworker and Sally took every lunch hour to explore the surrounding business district, sharing personal stories and bonding on intimate levels.
This made it all the more tragic when, after the election results, my coworker of three years was found nestled deep in Sally’s bloody remains with part of the woman’s left calf leg hanging from her mouth.
Apparently (and until the investigation has concluded we cannot be entirely sure) Sally had approached my coworker with a transcript of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech the morning after the election and was quickly and violently tackled.
No one’s sure what happened next, but what is sure is that at some point, my coworker used random office supplies and kitchen appliances to kill, cook and eat Sally. The very next day after the results were finalized, while Trump was parading on the television like a coked up, Brazilian tree frog, my coworker was face deep and bloody, eating the raw remains of a one-time friend who had made the mistake of celebrating Trump’s victory.
Good friends pulled apart by The Great Unveiling.
This is it folks, I’m calling it: we weren’t ready.
A black president? What were we expecting? What did we think was going to happen. Were we expecting he would be the sole lonely, floating ember to ignite the long awaited flame of progress that would possess our cold campsite fire pit like the holy ghost?
After hundreds of years of this shit, was he the one man that was ordained to save us?
Was Tupac right, were we not ready?
No, we weren’t.
It’s as simple as that and hundreds of years from now, just as Confederate apologists continue to argue that Lincoln’s Civil War wasn’t about slavery, so will future Trump followers try to redirect about this election.
“No man, learn your history, Trump’s election didn’t have anything to do with President Obama, or the prevalence of Black Lives Matter and related protests; it had nothing to do with our country’s changing demographics and the issues of minorities and oppressed groups clawing with blunted, bloody fingernails to the forefront of our mainstream consciousness.
It was about the middle class working man saying that we’re tired of being ignored.”
Sure. But of course this more so ignores the fact that President Obama, almost upon election, was attacked and accused of being just short of a foreign-born, radical member of an Islamic terrorist cell by the very guy who would, eight years later, run for and win the presidency…I tend to not think this was a coincidence.
Obama, his very existence and persistence through eight years, touched a pulsing and irritated American nerve. This is true in both the Democratic party and Republican.
Let’s not forget, for all intents and purposes, the Democratic establishment never wanted Obama to take the helm either, their chosen one, even in 2008, was Hillary.
Out of nowhere arrived this black man with this foreign name, with his black wife and black daughters; he brought with him the black baggage of a fatherless home and black resentment toward discrimination; he brought with him an expectation of excellence and an unwillingness to follow trends like wearing 9/11 pins and the refusal to denounce Islam outright; he stood up to the Ferguson police department and called them on their bullshit, alienating cops countrywide; He looked America in the eye and while it prepared to toss Trayvon Martin’s body in the dumpster where we choose to forget the bodies of our dead black boys, he defiantly stated, “this could have been my son.”
He pronounced Pakistan “Pahk-ee-stahn” and he met with rappers, his favorites being Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. He met with Black Lives Matter members as well as Black scholars racially profiled outside of their own homes. He met with criminals and started efforts in his war against the War on Drugs doggedly attacking the country’s criminal justice system.
On top of that he saved the auto industry, pulled the country from the Great Recession, brought Osama Bin Laden to justice and did it all with a level of grace that seemed otherworldly.
And it was in spite of these accomplishments — or rather, if your cynical enough, because of them — half of the country decided to, not only vote to undo his progress, but to do so by choosing a man who represented the exact polar opposite of everything that fueled the outgoing president.
Where Obama is intellectual, Trump is impulsive. Where Obama is pensive, Trump is emotional. Where Obama is analytical, Trump is impetuous; calm and abrasive, inclusive and exclusive, open and narrow, black and white.
What does this mean?
Trump’s election seems to be, for anyone with awareness, a conscious and mass-coordinated attempt to erase everything about Obama and what he has accomplished. More importantly, it may be an attempt to remove all semblance of blackness that our country has allowed to seep into the cracks and crevices of our popular culture over the last 8 years.
No more images of happy and healthy black male presidents, no more black wives and daughters, no more discussions of discrimination and America’s institutionalized racism, no more allowances for Black Lives Matter, no more Larry Wilmore, no more sane Kanye, no more… no more.
It is clear now, more than ever that close to half of the country never felt comfortable with Obama representing us and the first chance they got they cowered behind something rancid, old and familiar; something bigoted and phobic.
This is all about clean up, wiping the white slate clean, while tearing apart friends and family if necessary.
The declarations of war have been written, the first shots have been volleyed and the guttural barks of gunfire now reverberate throughout our lives.
We just weren’t ready.