This message is not for the knuckle-draggers, mouth-breathers, in-breeders, cat-callers or cross-burners. This is for my fellow citizens who are white, rational and therefore persuadable. Because you often find yourselves lumped in with the aforementioned undesirables, you have my conditional sympathies. But while I am sympathetic to your problems, I won’t lose any sleep over them as long as I find myself lumped in with the crack-smoking, chain-snatching, foot-shuffling, illiterate miscreants that dwell almost exclusively in the realm of your imaginations. This message is to help you prepare to deal with an America under President Donald Trump. You have had more than two months of his incompetence so you already know that he cannot govern. But he is what so many of you wanted whether you admitted it or not, and you got him. Now you have to deal with the unintended consequences. Since he has already broken his promise to erase President Obama from the legislative record on day one (or any day after that) you are going to be stuck trying to come to grips with the fact that you could have just watched Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and voted for a REAL president to replace Mr. Obama. But since many of you have been cool with me over the years, I do not want you to be shocked or unprepared by what lies ahead that you probably haven’t thought much about until now.
As a progressive black American and a conscientious citizen, I am not laboring under the misimpression that every Trump voter is a racist or a bigot. However, I now carry both the burden and the benefit of knowing for a fact that every one of you who voted for Donald Trump does not object to racism and bigotry nearly as much as I thought you did. And yes, I am making the assumption that if you are not in that basket of deplorables listed at the top of this piece, then you have some black and tans in your circle- even if it is just a few. If you were not tolerant of Trump’s racist language and bigoted sentiments during this campaign, then he would have suffered the worst general election loss in more than 30 years. That was what most of your black and tan acquaintances expected- I for one would have bet my check on it. Thank God I couldn’t find any takers for that bet. Brace yourselves for this condescending commentary, but I really did expect so much more out of you and it is a bitter disappointment that you went out like this- right when the country really needed you to go high, you went low.
Like a lot of black men who have been blessed with opportunity, I had friends of varying backgrounds and persuasions in both undergrad and law school back in the 90’s- ethnic, regional, spiritual and political. My exposure made it plain to me that jackasses and jerk-offs could be found in every identifiable group. By the same token, you could also find people in every group in whom you would entrust your very life if your back was against the wall. Whatever our differences or distinctions were, what we all shared in those circles was a common recognition of the gravity of governance. Understanding that governing has real impact on the lives of real people is base-camp for our nation’s climb up the mountain of democratic idealism that we began scaling 240 years ago. Out of respect for that climb- and the blood, sweat, toil and tears that have been shed along the way, you don’t elect a man like this to our top governing position just to “shake things up.” And white guys and gals, it is on you that this man was elected. He won every single subset of you except for white college educated women- and that was by an underwhelming 6%. Meanwhile, he only got 3% of the black vote so we had literally nothing to do with this debacle.
To follow some Trumpian logic: you may not be one of the bad actors that bombed our political system, but you know who they are and you could have done something about it. After all, if a billion Muslims can be expected to account for the actions of a few thousand insane and deranged Islamic Terrorists, then surely less than 250 million good white folks can keep tabs on 60 million of their cross-eyed cousins and kooky kin-folks. That’s an iron clad case in Trumpland. That is the reason why black and brown people are going to look at you with a suspicious eye for a while- at least until the next general election when this national disgrace can be mitigated. I am not saying it is fair, but unless there is some outward indication of your general openness or friendliness towards us (or even support
for Hilary Clinton) we are reflexively going to ask ourselves “Is this one of those fools that voted for Trump too? I wonder what the hell his excuse is.”
We all saw how this man conducted himself and we heard everything that he said about us- and many of you voted for him anyway. He demonstrated an astonishing lack of preparedness for the job- and many of you voted for him anyway. You saw the David Dukes of the world rallying to his side and expressing a new resurgence of white nationalism- and many of you voted for him anyway. You must understand and accept how thoroughly you have undermined your credibility in our political discourse as a result of that choice. If you are a member of the so-called Christian Right, you must abandon the pretense that you care anything about the content of a candidate’s character or his spiritual underpinnings. If you did, you would never have thrown your support behind a philandering, adulterous, pussy-grabbing practitioner of idolatry.
If you are a member of the so-called Tea Party, you must abandon the pretense that you care anything about a candidate’s tax policies. If you did, you would never have supported a candidate who will provide upwards of 90% of all tax cuts to the wealthiest 10% of Americans. If you are a so-called fiscal conservative, you should abandon the pretense that you care about the national debt because every credible analysis of Trump’s domestic policy platform reflects that the deficit will absolutely explode if ANY of his agenda is adopted- from the national child-care programs you claim to hate to that stupid wall along the Mexican border. If you are a Neo-Con (or still admit to being one), you must abandon the pretense that the Iraq war was anything other than the greatest foreign policy fiasco in American history because you just elected a candidate who has said this repeatedly- while also blaming George W. Bush directly for the attacks we suffered on 9/11.
In sum, my white friends, neighbors and colleagues, just cut the bullshit. Your cover has been blown- Big League. The black and tans now see that your most sacred values are wealth worship and the preservation of the privilege of being white in America. The rest of it is just window dressing and can be swapped out at a moments’ notice. I know that a lot of you are good people anyway but now you have to prove it. The manifestation of your worst soceo-political reflexes is sitting in the White House right now sending crazy Tweets and embarrassing the hell out of you. All eyes are on him now and every time he says something insufferable or stupid the world is going to look at you sideways for electing him. They know that we didn’t do it, so they are going to be looking at you. You now own his incendiary rhetoric, ridiculous policy prescriptions and willful ignorance of how our country actually operates. His failed “repeal and replace” orgy of bluster is searing proof that he doesn’t know what the hell he is doing and lacks the judgment to surround himself with anybody who does. And that, my friends is a stain that is going to be really hard to get out; about as hard as it has been for Hill’s husband to wash away the stain from that young woman’s dress. Lucky for him, President pussy-grabber reset the bar for embarrassing conduct before he even takes office.
But there is hope for you still. Just admit openly that you made a huge mistake. And if you can convince your loud and proud Trump Nationalists to cool it on stoking the flames of division and hostility, you can begin mitigating the damage that has been done. If you can be courageous in public conversation and call bullshit when you see it in Trump and his minions, you can begin rebuilding the good will of the black and tans in your world. If you can fly above the dense fog of confirmation bias and see in the clear skies above that you made a huge mistake in voting for this man, you can begin the march back to civic credibility.
If you need an example, look to John Kasich and George Will specifically. They have both managed to maintain their credibility and dignity during this sorry episode in America’s living history. But if doing homework isn’t your thing, that is ok. Just follow the advice white folks used give black folks back during America’s less enlightened days: Be a credit to your race. And you can do that by at least helping to clean up the mess that you made of our national politics. Good luck.