The American people have spoken and after the concession from Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has become the President elect and our next President of the United States. Like many, even the Angry Negro’s household is battling “election morning after emotions” including shock, and outrage, as well as managing the despair, (and even adulation) of others. Though we are well through the weekend the debate about what was purchased on Tuesday is still going strong. It is not clear if the buyers are actually feeling remorse, but I guarantee the neighbors are eying the new selection like a new swimming pool in the adjacent back yard. You just know it is going to lead to noise, safety concerns, and potentially drama. In the aftermath of any electoral cycle, we always find ourselves taking stock of what we voted for or what was voted against.
For the Obama presidency, issues of racial equality, and the ability of Americans of color to take full part in our American identity, was seen as one of the core reasons for his winning office. Additionally the vote against his competitors was a vote against the old systems of doing things and the good ol’ boy network. In turn, in this race, the voting impetus came down to what Donald Trump calls the forgotten Americans: mostly white males who feel that America’s new found racial identity is ignoring them, and the prospect of what would have been our nation’s first Woman President. Now that the election is concluded, the choice between candidates is moot as it has been decided, but the main question for many (including those in the Republican Party) is, ‘Where are we going from here?”
If this was your first election, you will probably never wish to participate in the process ever again. The lead up was long and terrible — no matter who you were supporting.For many of our White counterparts — especially those women supporting Hillary, this was not likely their first encounter with sexism, prejudice or racism, but the election experience and outcome certainly was more similar to what communities of color have historically seen at the polls. If you had not known before, now you know why people of color have long standing trepidation about elections.
As much as I love to say, “I told you so,” the lesson that racism, sexism, prejudice and xenophobia are real elements that impact our political structure and not just concepts in books from the 60s and 70s is a hard lesson. Though I maintain a pragmatic outlook, I was not ready for the appointment of such an openly intolerant figure to our most important national role — even if it will ultimately teach the nation that these issues are indeed real. Make no mistake, the effects of last Tuesday will be significant and ongoing.
The rhetoric surrounding Hillary Clinton’s bid for executive office as well as the current tenor of the Trump campaign toward women is a slap in the face to the Pantsuit Nation and in the same history of communities of color, this betrayal at the polls is enough to put a whole generation of young women off of the political process. The field seems no better for ANY of the brown communities who now hold fear of a leader that has promised deportation, religious testing, increased policing, and to undue many of the civil rights protections held sacrosanct by minority communities.
It’s looking pretty scary out there, and what makes me afraid is not just the wide eyed shock in the eyes of my friends, families and colleagues, but also the despair that I fear will take root in their hearts to closer we get to Inaugural.
Now that the election is complete, all of the career politicos will press to next steps of running the country. We have already been encouraged by Secretary Clinton in her concession speech and POTUS in his remarks from the White House that it is now time to work for a smooth transition and move ahead with our new leadership.We will be encouraged to focus on the future and leave the rhetoric of the campaign in the past.
Now that the election has ended, the majority of the American people are going to turn their backs on politics and participate in the Thanksgiving Chrismahanuka Super Bowl Holiday Festival for the next few months. Already on Social media there are folks blacking out their Instagram pages and agreeing to close their computers for the next few months.
Maybe you need a break from the festival of punditry.
Maybe you feel like you cannot bear another loss
Maybe you feel like we have lost our way and need to go back to a simpler time.
All of those feelings are valid, and after the long election cycle and the spectacular upset, even I just want to kick of my gators and watch my little girl blow bubbles…
But maybe you missed the name of this blog, and as much as I would like to pull a Pontius Pilate and wash my hands of these events, I just can’t do that. I cannot act as if the culture of intolerance that was created during the campaign and the actions of hate that have been encouraged, can be separated from this “new” leadership. I refuse to let bygones be bygones, nor suffer fools and racists for the greater good.
If like me you also refuse to take this shit on the chin, then there is another path that we may take together. Instead of putting our heads in the sand we can rage. We can rage and use our despair to fuel our action. Here are the steps we MUST take:
Pull yourself together (get on up)
Get your shit together. There is not any of us that have watched the presidential election – much less been alive in the past 12 years that have not been aware of the post racial world in which we actually live. Did you really think racism was over? Had you been fooled by the discussions of post racial America? The arrival of the President elect is just affirmation of a truth that has been lurking behind the exhilaration of a Black President and an Executive Branch that actively sought to engage diverse communities. This is not to insinuate that our nation is beyond fixing, but a reminder that Freedom is a Lego set without instructions, and the Star Wars Cruiser engines will not be hold in place with our tears.
So first things first – mourn what might have been, If you need to drink, rage or weep. I encourage you to do so. Weep for our friends, weep for your country and the fear that we all harbor of the future. Weep also for the folks who have been so misguided to believe that old strategies of discord can bring a new result of solidarity. Weep for their fear, and misunderstanding, as they have not even made the first steps of moving toward the truth. Take a week if you must, and then wipe your tears, put on your big girl and boy pants suits, because it is time to get to work.
Get Into it.
One of the mistakes that has consistently been made in this country is the belief that certain freedoms are only the business of those who would directly benefit from them. In this line of thinking, President Obama was only for the African American Community as a would have been President Clinton would have been the woman’s president. Though the people who work for justice and rights do not (usually) adhere to this limited idea of support, this opinion certainly exists even in places that are fighting and supporting the rights of marginalized people. We have to throw this idea out, and further promote the ideas that if one wants to work for justice and civil rights, then we do so for everyone – not just for the benefit of a few. We are all connected, and the freedoms that are won by any group of people are an enhancement to the freedom of us all. For those of you who want the source material, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” It is for this reason that we must work together, must keep the faith, and must not toleration hatred and injustice toward any person.
Now that we have all had our wakeup call, it is time for the next step: organization. The Trump campaign has engaged a population that has taken direct aim at people of color, the LGBTQIOA Community, immigrants, Muslims, and anyone who has been maligned by the police. In essence he has laid the groundwork for an intersectional rebuttal to his ideas and potential policies. With a unified focus each of these groups can provide a counterpoint to the despicable campaign promises. We as a community must maintain the bravery and the wherewithal to take advantage of this opportunity No issues of freedom or justice belong to one community – freedom must be the business for all of us.
In addition to getting our head right there are some significant steps that we can take right now to ensure that the work to include and elevate marginalized people continues, and that our recently developed freedoms are not dismantled. We must:
- Watch the Courts – In addition to the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice, the Court system will also be the battleground for any challenges to laws and legislation that currently support any marginalized communities. The system needs to be watched closely AND with an eye for when support can be offered in the form, of outreach, amicus briefs, and even protest.
- Engage with Congress – If you are concerned about the Supreme Court and the appointment of Justices,, then there must also be better engagement with Congress. Not only does this include interactions with individual members, but also calling them to task on the sort of legislation and prioritize that are set for the year. If Congress refuses to #dotheirjob, then the common sense action is to convince them with the only currency that readily affects all members of the Legislative body – votes.
- Ad nauseum – Over the next few weeks all of the powers that be are going to encourage the American people to leave behind the rhetoric of the campaign and move ahead with the business of ruining the country. They will place an emphasis on the American tradition of a peaceful transition of power. Though this is indeed important this does not mean that we need to not talk about the issues that means the most to you as an American. Continue to talk about race, gender, religion freedom, justice, inclusion disability and intersectionality. In fact, make an effort to ensure that these conversations NEVER die out go away, end, or fade. Take these issues to your community centers, local organizations, personal blogs, social media feeds, and the internet. Never be afraid or hesitant to call out issues of racism hate or intolerance, and equally check your own privilege as you check others. Remember that you also don;t have to do everything alone. Your support can take the place in your local town, and be in the form, monetary action, protest action, support of marginalized communities or participation with advocacy organizations. There is plenty of work to go around and all hands and skills are needed. To quote John Stewart, it must be all of our responsibility to maintain the “war on bullshit,” and to mix universes it will take our “constant vigilance.”
Lastly there is something that we also must NOT do. We must not allow ourselves to fall toward finger pointing and blaming. I am specifically talking about third party candidates and voters. None of the people voting for Johnson or Stein are to blame for the outcome of Tuesday nor does finger pointing prepare us for he work to come.
To move forward we need to do the opposite of crab in a barrel syndrome. Instead of pulling winners down, let’s lift each other up even as we climb.
Though this has indeed been a week of shock and awe – with likely more to come. This is no where near the end. Like any event in our lives we as a community are left with a choice. This can be the moment that we accepted our defeat, or as Danielle Moodie-Mills so deftly stated, it can be the last hurrah of the White Supremacy movement in the United States. We can choose to draw the line here. I was reminded by David Johns & Michael Blake in their The Root interview that though we may have faced disappointment, we should not despair. We have been here before. We have faced the hordes of the intolerant moved only by tradition and a fear of a brown future in America. We have seen the press to dehumanize our existence de-legitimize our culture and take liberties with our bodies. We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, but we have also overcome this before, and we will again sing the songs of jubilation, freedom, faith and love for all to not hear, but join us in. The path to the nation that we wish to have is still in front of us. WE need only take the first steps — and we are OBLIGATED to do so.
Here is some theme music to take us on our way:
The Angry Negro stands in solidarity with all thise who belive in justice, inclusion and tolerance.