Trump’s Rebellion

The election is Tuesday. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. We all know how we got here, no need to carry on about what a crazy year, because we’re here now. Much has been said of the “Deplorables” who are carrying Trump here. They’ve been labeled xenophobes, racists, misogynists, assholes and ignorant. I’m not here to dispute any of those claims, or even humanize them, not knowing you’re a racist doesn’t excuse your being a racist.

What I am intrigued by is the historic role of the group that has become the face of Trump’s campaign: the poor and white, the oft-ignored subgroup of the American political landscape. Often left to make their choice (Republican for the last 5 decades) based on conservative social values because nobody really cares about their economic existence. The reason is because in America’s white-centered society, if you’re white, and especially a man, your poverty is “justifiable”. Translation: there’s jobs for mediocre white people. If you’re white and unintelligent or just not driven, you can settle into a decent middle to lower class life without much strife. It is worth mentioning that the way economic mobility is set up (or not set up), if you’re poor and white, you’re likely to remain poor most of your life unless you’re exceptionally intelligent and can figure out how to use those damn bootstraps to pull yourself up (the jig for minorities is that we don’t get bootstraps). So Democrats cater to the rich liberal who feels sympathy for the disenfranchised minority and Republicans cater to the rich with a passing social appeal to the (likely Christian) poor and white. Trump has gone a step further, he’s speaking directly to the poor and white.

Donald Trump has used their language, he’s acknowledged their (irrational) fears and he’s promised to revive the dream they were promised, a blue collar union factory job to live a decent middle class life (special shoutout to Republicans for destroying those unions and still keeping those voters*). Now, the problem is the poor and white are often the relatively uneducated. The relatively uneducated don’t often participate in safe and peaceful political action. It’s not the rich man who burns down a city or takes up arms when he needs to get a point across, he has too much to lose. In the Civil War, the plantation owners weren’t doing the bulk of the fighting. State pride got the poor white man to serve in his army. It isn’t not hard to get a poor man to fight in a war (against his economic interests, as slavery took jobs from poor white people) for his state. Now, I by no means expect the fallout (or continuation, who knows honestly) of Trump ideology to lead to Civil War, definitely nothing so dramatic. I do expect civil unrest.

Shay’s Rebellion happened shortly after the Articles of Confederation were ratified and the United States began. Before we had a Constitution, we had the Articles. Super short version, not

enough federal power, taxes weren’t being paid, poor white people suffered the most when it was time to pay up on debt during an economic downturn. In comes Daniel Shays, a former soldier from Massachusetts who saw his fellow veterans returning to nothing. He participated in the armed Northampton uprising and began to be more vocal in the violent protests. They began in August of 1786 and weren’t fully quelled until February of 1787. Only a few thousand people were involved, and it by no means tore the country in half. It was eye opening though. The federal government knew it needed dramatic change to address the country before them. When Trump loses Tuesday, I expect some hotbeds of his support to react. I would never advocate for violence, but I won’t deny the possibility. Trump has the usually ignored and disenfranchised feeling like this is a make or break election (continue on with lol “Obama’s America” or make America great again). They also happen to be the most heavily armed, and have been told by their leader Trump that the election is rigged implying the federal government is invalid if he loses (!!!). America traditionally doesn’t usually take big steps unless violence is involved. While everybody keeps waiting for Black Lives Matter “thugs” to start killing cops and burning down grand ol flags, Trump is stirring up a group much more inclined to political violence to partake in whatever political action they feel appropriate. Shay’s Rebellion led to the scrapping of the Articles of Confederation and writing of the Constitution. I don’t think we’ll hit reset on the entire government, but it will inspire dramatic and swift action in a way only white tears and violence can. That’s all assuming he loses. I won’t even write into the universe what happens if he wins.

Oh, and to every Republican politician and party member who has not disavowed Trump, even though we KNOW you know better, whatever happens is also directly your fault.

“Human beings in a mob, what’s a mob to a king, what’s a king to a god, what’s a god to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything? Alright, alright, no church in the wild”

-Jay-Z and Kanye West (feat. Frank Ocean), No Church in the Wild

*did a Google for you: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/30/ronald-reagan-middle-class_n_6578130.html

What now? 

A young man sent me a DM. He is 17. His white friend, his teammate, took me on regarding Black Lives Matter on Twitter.I didn’t entertain him (I don’t debate trolls or kids, block and go).  But I watched them converse. I watched him call his friend out. Then watched his friend backpedal and stumble over his words. He messaged me confused and sad. His white friends, the ones he believed cared about him, keep outing themselves. They keep showing him they don’t see the humanity of black people, they were down to be friends until his blackness was on the table. I didn’t know what to tell him. What do you do when at 17 the illusion breaks down in front of you? That young man is a stranger to me, but I can relate to his experience. We all can. Every young black person is seeing people taking sides and watching a lot of people they believed to care pick the other side. We’re angry. Hurt. Sad. The lights came on when George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, and more people than we could imagine were pointing at Trayvon instead of Zimmerman.  

This election season, mixed with the racially charged conversations can’t be undone. PC Culture isn’t going away. Women, the LGBTQ community and racial minorities are upset. The spirit of the 1960’s has found a place in 2016, fueled by the Internet to hit a speed never before seen. Last time the movement was killed by the murder of leaders and the infection of crack and heroin in poor communities. I don’t see that happening again. Young black kids wanting equality aren’t going away. Angry white people demanding they be quiet aren’t going away. We’re watching a car crash, but the pile up won’t stop. We keep looking to the election to put a halt on the carnage. 

When the votes come out in November, do we all take a breather and forget? What do we do when the smoke clears and Hillary is our leader (I dare not speak into existence the idea of Trump winning). Does she mend these deep wounds? Can she? I don’t see it. Those Facebook statuses and tweets can’t be undone. The Trump stickers and signs can’t be unseen. And the “what about black on black crime” and “cops do have it hard” can’t be taken back. These cuts hurt. I know I’ll rebound, and so will that young man. But rebounding isn’t forgetting. Cuts leave scars, and scars usually come with lessons. Racial innocence can’t be restored, and a generation (from 13 to 30) just had the glass shattered.

Don’t ask me for solutions. I don’t have them. I’m still mourning our post-racial illusion. 

“Visions of Martin Luther starin at me. If I see it how he seen it that would make my parents happy. Sorry mama I can’t turn the other cheek. They wanna knock me off the edge like a fucking widow’s peak.”

-Kendrick Lamar, HiiiPower 

“Dreams of reality’s peace, blow steam in the face of the beast. The sky can fall down, the wind can cry now, the strong in me I still smile. I love myself.”

-Kendrick Lamar, i