The reality had set in for me long before Wednesday morning, and well before the electoral votes had been tallied. It had set in well before primaries and before candidates had announced intentions to run.
That reality, cold and evident, was that some pulsing and angry part of America, of my nation family, was fully stretching its wings. It was rising in public in ways that it had not in some years. It had been present, but muted. It was shouting and pushing its way forward now.
I, like many of you, had chosen to think that, as a nation family, we might do everything we could to overcome our history of, and reality, of White Supremacy and privilege, and had built sufficient emotional safeguards to effectively manage the existing and ever-present architecture of oppression and misogyny.
Surely, we would need and use these tools to as a populace to properly access and then prevent an Islamophobe, bigot and purveyor of misogynoir from holding the highest seat in our nation.
I knew I was mistaken about our total growth when he was allowed to take the stage and debate his conservative peers. I could see then what was coming.
White supremacy, having never gone anywhere other than to a cave with its riches was prepared to unfurl its leathery wings, cast forth flames from its mouth, and fly.
Even with his present and history of transgressions. Even with his mockery of disabled persons. Even with his inability to outline and discuss policy. Even with his blatant disregard for women. Even with his inability to discuss Black inner cities as anything other than 3rd world nations. Even with his apparent elitism and poorly developed plans. White America chose to elect Donald Trump.
There are those who would suggest that we should not shame others for how they choose to vote. And in the main, I would agree. We should however, process why voting trends among certain segments developed as they did. We should take a good long look at the “Why” and “Who” when considering how we got here.
There are those among the Republican voting bloc that began immediately pointing to the roughly 8 percent of African-American and 26 percent of Latino voters who ultimately voted for Donald Trump. They offer this as some means of offsetting the obvious. White America, both men and women, decided that Donald Trump would be president.
Over 70 percent of White men, about a third of all registered voters, sided with Trump. About 60 percent of all White women did the same.
When peeling back the layers of these decisions, it becomes clear both now, and over the past eight years, that there has been a great deal of angst about the “changing face of America.” A mixed race President made those fears real. The blatant abuse that he suffered during his two terms supports this. This election hammers it fully home.
Muslim Americans, immigrants, and people of color likely believed, right up until early Wednesday morning, that our nation family would continue its apparent development, and elect a president willing to work to protect and improve the lives of our diverse nation family.
That nation family voted instead to loop back to supposed halcyon days. Those “Great Again” days often referenced. Days when religious, practical and personal beliefs were all crafted and grounded in a Whiteness mindset.
I hear Trump supporters pointing to the relatively miniscule diversity in their number. I would direct them to the presence of internalized racism and internalized sexism, and cost of oppression of the psychology of victims, and ask them to return to this conversation with me only after they have made themselves familiar with it.
This election was about disillusioned, privileged members of our nation family reasserting themselves and taking back a position. A position which they had never lost, and voting against the best interests of us all.
The vote here really looks no different than that for Brexit in the U.K. The people of Sunderland and Newcastle, working class poor and blue collar voted to return England to its halcyon days. The fear among immigrants and persons of color in the U.K. was made real. Hate speech was coded into the rhetoric. Likewise here in the U.S., our poor, uneducated rural communities voted with Trump, and the hate speech and separatist rhetoric was also coded, an in tow.
Conservatives will point to any number of reasons why Hillary Clinton should not have been president, and whether they are right or not, still remains less important than the reality of the individual they chose to support. He is ill equipped to represent us all. You voted for him with the express understanding that he ran on a platform to represent only a segment of our population. The same segment which voted for him in obscenely huge numbers.
The message to people of color, to families of color, like my own, is that our dignity and sense of safety remains less important than re-establishing some supposed order of things. That only the majority of our nation family matters at this time. That you are willing to ignore the worst of this person and place him in office, if for no other reason to maintain the White Supremacy status quo. Worse still is that you will willfully ignore the rampant cries of your nation family. You see their angst and fear, but are choosing to justify what you have done with complete misdirection. We should understand this about ourselves, and where we are at present.
Our White conservative nation family is not prepared fully to have this conversation. Those of us who are people of color, or queer, or immigrant, or some combination of minority groups, do not get to wake and simply avoid what has happened. For us, it is a nightmare made real. And not a fictional created nightmare based on what we believe about this president-elect. It is a nightmare borne of interactions with his supporters.
It is his supporters who spewed hate speech on social media and at his rallies. Other supporters quietly allowed this. It is his supporters who refuse to engage his many transgressions and obvious lack of preparation for his office. It is his supporters who have emerged from supremacist hate groups. His supporters are at equal points middle America and members of the KKK. Proud members of the military and isolated rural America.
It is his supporters who have failed all of us, by not allowing us to progress toward what we ultimately, as a nation family, need in a commander in chief.
We didn’t have to make history. We didn’t need to vote narrative, but we needed to responsibly vote for us all. We failed. The dragon rose.
My greater fear is that White America is so grounded in our history and architecture of supremacy, that many can’t even process how it impacts that thinking, doing, and voting. It becomes a general way of being, and an expectation of the world. Any perceived change, like that of the last 8 years, violates that, and brings about dissonance that must be corrected. To the detriment of us all.
This president elect, with his often careless rhetoric, emboldened and activated hate groups. They hadn’t gone away, they simply now had a public spokesperson, and centrist conservatives simply chose to ignore this. Misogynist sentiment, xenophobia, all of these were activated by this candidate. And yet…
I am afraid for my family, and our future, and for what this election means for our development as a nation family. Those of us who know to think of ourselves as minorities do in fact feel attacked, and abandoned, and that is likely how some among you wanted us to feel.
Photo: Getty Images