Donald Trump is tricking white America. He is playing us for fools. And he can do this because he knows we feel fucked up. And scared. And underpaid. And over worked. And isolated. And lost.
A lot of folks talk and write about the role fear is playing in Mr. Trump’s success. And often the narrative suggests that voting from a place of fear is cowardly. I disagree. I think it’s practical and perhaps imperative as long as we are the right kind of scared. As long as we aren’t being fooled into fearing the wrong things.
I mean, like all the years before, being alive is hard. To some extent American suffering is a shared experience, even though the ferocity and relentlessness varies depending on what we look like and who our daddies are. Depending on how free we are. While shame and anger in white supremacy can sometimes make it hard for me to empathize with folks who look like me, I know that is disingenuous. I know what it’s like to feel I’m suffocating, and alone in the middle of a monstrous ocean, in this place we call home. It may be for different reasons, but I know what it feels like to be white, American, fed up, and heart broken.
But when we try to figure out whom to blame, which I know we like to do, we must not let folks fool us. The common denominator in this equation of American heartache is not Mexicans who pick vegetables. Or black men with a splif in his pocket. Or men who put BBs in a rice cooker. Because those folks don’t, and have never, had the power to.
But we have. We are the only group of people in the history of this country who has systemically hurt folk—including ourselves. And maybe not you, or your friends, but folks who look like both of us. I mean, folks who look more like my daddy than me, but hell, white girls have never been innocent in the face of white supremacy. White folks who believe only a special few deserve safety and feelings of hope, fulfillment and stability who have made calculated decisions over and over and over to serve the interest of big business and the mega rich. Those interests are almost always to protect white power, and white folk always disproportionally materially benefit, but the sustainment of white power doesn’t create conditions for health. Definitely not for folks of color, but not for us either. Our insides aren’t healthy. I think we know this.
I think that is part of why we are scared. And I wonder if that, in some twisty way, is why white America, and much more than we thought, is running to Donald.
I don’t believe the psychic experience of being the “beneficiaries” of genocide and terror and stealing and lying makes us people we can easily love. I also don’t think the decisions of powerful white men have helped create economic or political environments we feel secure in.
Billy Clinton passed NAFTA and subsequently gutted the US industrial economy—not folks who speak Spanish and work hard. Georgey W invaded Iraq to try to satisfy his Daddy issues and then after a power vacuum was created, ISIS was born. And, I mean, Al-Qaeda was literally funded by the CIA in the 1990s. White bankers and city officials zoned and red lined Black folks into resource desserts, the government facilitated the importation of large amounts of drugs into those neighborhoods and then white folks declare a war on drugs. Well, a war on only Black and Brown people who use drugs. White people created the conditions under which white folks experience fear. And that fear is deeply destructive to folks who have never hurt us, if we allow ourselves to be fooled into believing the survivors of white violence are the cause of white American heartbreak. And fear.
Donald Trump is desperately trying to speak to our fear. And it’s working. But he is creating foot soldiers out of white America for a doctrine that is inherently flawed because it’s not real. He’s playing white America for fools. And I know white boys don’t like to get played.
We can be angry and make decisions from a position of fear. But lets not allow a reality TV star take us for fools. Donald Trump is the embodiment of damn near everything that made today a hard day. And yesterday. And the day before that.
Lets not reward him for that.