I didn’t want to write this. I didn’t want to have to write this. But alas, here we are. Donald Trump is the president-elect for the United States of America. Is it the end of the world? Not today it’s not.
The sun came up this morning. The world turned. Gravity still works. And no one was raptured. Today we wake up to a new country, though. Well, not really new, just a country that’s been exposed.
America and Americans have always been shitty and fraudulent. In 1883 Emma Lazarus wrote:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door
She wrote that because she was trying to raise money for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. How funny. The US has always, and for the foreseeable future shall remain, a country that has spoken out of both sides of its face. As this country was raising money for the Statue of Liberty, a statue that would come to symbolize freedom and a path to a better life, Congress was just one year removed from enacting the Chinese Exclusion Act.
That act was specifically designed to keep Chinese laborers (yes, the same ones who built the railroads) from entering the country. So who were these huddled masses? White people. This country has never and most likely will never be for people of color.
This is a country that was literally built by people of color for white men to enjoy. The economic foundation of this country was laid on the backs of black, brown, red and yellow people. Not all white men in this country became Rockefellers or Joshua John Ward, a man who amassed nearly 1,100 slaves by the time of his death in 1853. Of course there have always been poor whites in this country. They have been oppressed and beaten down by the same system that has oppressed and beaten down people of color.
People of color in this country for the longest time had no hope of improving their station in life. For centuries if you were unfortunate enough to be born Black, Brown, Red, or Yellow in this country you knew how your life would play out. Odds of you advancing were low. The chances that you would live a better life than your parents were slim. And, for the most part, most people knew this. There was no hope. Most minorities have understood that the “American Dream” was not for them. That’s where White people differ. The ever-so-attractive “American Dream” was sold to them and they bought it.
Not only did White people buy into the American dream, they passed it down to their children. “Work hard and you’ll be able to rise to the level of the Rockefellers or Carnegies.” They were told you could be poor today, but through hard work and perseverance you can be a great man. But that’s a lie. An attractive lie is easier to believe than an ugly truth. That’s a large failure of white people.
How did we get to today? Quite simply, we got here because Americans are stupid and white people have to blame someone.
If you’re a 45-year-old white male whose home is being foreclosed, you can’t send your kids to college, and you feel like your entire life is shit, you have to blame someone. It can’t be because you’re not as smart or awesome as you’ve been told. It’s not because of policies created by white men. Policies designed to keep rich white men rich and poor people poor. White people, men in particular, operate on this belief that they are better, smarter, faster, stronger and just more awesome than everyone else. So when they fail, who gets the blame? The system. “The system used to be perfect. But now it’s designed to take away from white people.” But that’s not the truth. That’s an attractive lie.
The ugly truth – that white men in this country have benefited from horrible policies, laws, and general dickery – isn’t palatable. “Make America Great Again” could have just as easily been “It’s not your fault.” But it is your fault, white man. White men in this country have had the cards stacked in their favor for centuries. The moment the playing field began to shift toward leveling, there was a revolt. The worst part is that the playing field isn’t even. Minorities and women are still treated like a lesser class in this country.
This revolt led to Donald Trump and his populist and fascist views. During this election cycle, we’ve seen nothing from Trump about how he’ll make America great, except that he’ll ban minorities. Again, it’s not your fault white man, it’s those Mexican people who stole your job. They didn’t. It’s the Muslims who want you dead. They don’t. It’s the Black kid on the corner who sold your daughter Oxy. He didn’t.
For the next four years, or however long until he is impeached (my money is on this) or quits, Donald Trump will be Commander-in-Chief. He may be good at the job. I seriously doubt it, but I don’t know. I do know that for the most part nothing will really change in the immediate future. Shitty policies will continue to be made by a group of rich white men who want nothing more than to continue being rich white men and poor white men will continue to work hard to help perpetuate an ugly lie.