There are only 11 days to go before the US election is upon us. Depending on who comes out the victor, half of the country will be in mourning for the next four years while the other half will move forward with muted optimism. No matter what side of the divide you’re on, we (excluding voters at the fringes) have all pretty much agreed that the choices for this election suck pretty hard. It’s a horrible decision; like having to choose between under-cooked chicken and rancid groundnut soup. Either dish has the potential to kill you, but NOT eating (i.e. in this case, voting) would be considered an affront to those who’ve fought so hard in years past to give us access to poultry and groundnut soup. That’s good eatin’! However, I think former sharecroppers and Suffragettes alike could appreciate the dilemma their contemporaries – you and I – face today.
Back when it seemed impossible that Donald Trump could become the front-runner, let alone the candidate for the Republican Party, I asked a particularly snarky relative of mine how bad could it be if he actually did succeed in his bid to become president. This woman snorted with contempt before answering, “It won’t mean a damn thing to Black folk who wins or loses in this election. Never has.”
I knew that to be fundamentally untrue. I mean, the Obamas have given us a lifetime of lovely pictures to look fondly back on. Nothing in the way of policy that has affected positive change for our most vulnerable citizens, but we have truckloads of internet memes and Essence magazine covers praising the couple for leading the nation with “style and grace”. When I said as much to the aforementioned relative, she nearly choked on her own condescension…which I understood well.
The grim reality is that people of color in America have been, and will probably always be, on their own where politics and development are concerned. Sure, politicians hang around churches, barber shops and urban radio stations when they’re pandering for votes, but outside of developing policies meant to punish and contain super predators who populate inner cities, or keep people dependent on the public dole – and then scorning them for their engineered condition – the political elite have never considered communities of color a valuable resource worth investing in. And despite having our most prosperous communities razed to rubble, a school to prison pipeline in full swing, and pervasive hostility that manifests in ways both micro and overt, we keep holding on and fighting back. This is why when calamity strikes mainstream America, we don’t participate in the freak out. Do you remember when the Great Recession first hit and affluent white men were killing themselves and/or their whole families because they lost their 401Ks? The potential for living a life making the sort of wages Black women have had to get by on for decades was more than they could fathom. Being broke is no walk in the park, but it certainly doesn’t warrant a murder/suicide! Even when things are bad, they are only temporary…as would be a Trump presidency.
Since that conversation with my family member, a lot has happened. We’ve had three debates and Trump is no longer tied with or leading Hillary in the polls. In fact, exit polls at early voting have her at 93% chance of winning the election. But if Trump DID manage to eek out a win, I don’t foresee how it would be that bad for Black Americans. No! Just hear me out.
We’d be safer. Old Crazy Joe Walsh has already begun rallying the Second Amendment riff raff with a clarion call for all to gather their muskets in revolt the event of a Trump loss. As history has shown us, from cross burnings on lawns, to mass school shootings to Pumpkin Festival riots in New Hampshire, white men mean what they say when they threaten to execute violence. We have long lived to pacify and work around white male fragility, and I know it’s anti-revolutionary for me to suggest that we continue to do so, but until we as a people get real socio-economic and political power, we have to continue to do so. If we work on doing THAT, maybe we can get a better breed of presidential candidate in the future.
It will finally remove the illusion that we can depend on the government to protect us. By “protect”, I mean from policing, to provision of safe utilities, to healthcare. Barack Obama’s presidency did a lot to change the ‘tone’ of politics in America, but it did not improve the execution of policies that keep communities of color safe. Not much of this is President Obama’s fault, as he is limited in what he can do from the Oval Office with a Republican House and Senate opposing him at every opportunity. I think his presidency caused us to become complacent, in a way. With a Cheeto in Chief, there will be no such complacency. We will always be on our guard. We will operate on the offensive, rather than being reactionary to social events. We will keep our eyes peeled for shenanigans of any sort and be more difficult to dupe, as we will be far less trusting. As the great philosopher Frankie Agyemang said: “Trump’s face is like a reversible coat: I don’t know which side to trust!”
As Cheeto in Chief, Trump will drive us to prayer. Yes, Lawd, we gon’ pray. This is always a good position to be in. You know why the Old Mothers lived to be old mothers? Because they were always in a position of prayer. With Trump as president, the name of Jesus will never rest. The Holy Ghost will always be in our midst. We will begin to see ministering angels because. We. Will. Always. Be. In. Prayer.
We will draw closer to each other. There’s nothing like a common enemy to cause people to circle the wagons and close ranks. With a Barack Obama presidency, there was the assumption that everything was good…or at least everything was going to work out. But with President Squirrel Wig (as Luvvie calls him) so close to the nuclear codes, we will be more likely to check on each other. Like, “You okay, Curtis? Just checking on you. I just wanted to make sure the Fuhrer didn’t steal your children in the night or poison your water supply…” We lost some of that sense of community cohesiveness with 8 years under President Obama. It hasn’t helped us!
EVERYONE would get a passport. Just in case something pops off, it’s always good to have that blue passbook to the world at the ready. You never know. Tavis said that they could re-institute race based slavery in America, and you don’t want to be caught with no way or paperwork to get on the exit boat. The duration of a Trump presidency would be a really good time to go see the world.
A Trump presidency is more detrimental to white American citizenry than it is to Black. The former group is more susceptible to deception. We at least know where we stand. He’s already concluded we’re illiterates who live under a hail of gunfire in the inner cities, where we alone, dwell exclusively. The man has no idea how to bring back the manufacturing jobs that Middle America lost to NAFTA, and frankly couldn’t care to. That’s his biggest carrot. He doesn’t even furnish his hotels with made in America goods. This bid for presidency is meant to serve two people only: Donald Trump and his Ego, an unpleasant persona so vast it’s measured in Parsecs.
Trump supporters would be in for the shock of their lives about his ineffectiveness if he won…but he (probably) isn’t going to. As for the ones he refers to as “The Blacks”, we’re going to do with what we’ve always done to survive America; turn sludge into sunshine.
Whichever way the election goes, the results are going to be historic: We’ll either have the first woman woman or the first bipedal crunchy snack running the country.