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

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You Asked For Revolution

The attention has been on Trump for some time now. Rallying his protestors to violence. The hurled racial slurs, the veiled slogan “Make America Great ‘Again’”; quite the spectacle it’s all been. Trump supporters, Republicans etc. are the angry ones. This tension is their fault. Right? Sort of, kind of, yeah, not really, but mostly. Right. I will not take any blame away from Trump for his vicious rhetoric, but Republicans aren’t the only ones fighting. “Bernie Bros” plague the internet with pictures of Bernie at Civil Rights events, forcing their candidate on those they (disrespectfully) assume must be uninformed. Those repping the #StandWithHer set are asking if you’ll really vote for Trump, turning the spotlight onto the options rather than Hillary’s uncomfortable political history and the fact that when asked about if she preferred creamy or crunchy she short circuited.

Overall we can’t agree. Not in the usual Republican/Democrat way. There’s Republicans planning to sit out this election. New young Democrats saying, Bernie or Bust. Two out of three candidates are “anti-establishment” and one probably can’t name more than five cabinet positions. Hillary has people arguing over everything, and could sneak out a victory on her No, but seriously, Trump? campaign. I think she wins because luck, historical trend and Bill playing that damn saxophone.

After all the confetti and celebration though, what about everybody else? Her victory would be with reluctance and wavering support from those who vote for her. She’s alienated minorities and young people, and obviously conservatives assume she’s the Anti-Christ (literally). What about all the Bernie Bros cursing her name? The Trump supporters burning her pictures to light their non-menthol cigarettes and the Democrats who vote but don’t believe they chose. Tensions are high. Maybe it’s that this is my first election where I’m a maturish adult, but this seems much more tense than any other election I’ve lived through. The air comes out of the balloon in November, and I don’t see a resolution that doesn’t see already violently active people angry. Regardless of their mascot of choice.

Now to clarify, I don’t see this election fallout looking like 1860. I’m not making any bold predictions about violence in the streets. I don’t THINK anybody is that mad (although Texas citizens petitioned to secede after both Obama elections *eye roll emoji*). People aren’t taking off their political goggles, for anything. News pundits are throwing around terms like systemic oppression and privilege, in various lights. Being a Republican is starting to mean fiscal and moral conservative less, and when I see a Trump sign I think bigot. Moron. Ignorant. I’m sure when some see a Hillary or Bernie sign they think, man-hater or communist, respectively. I always try to keep in mind my own age, and wonder if this much anger is normal but I can’t imagine it is. Summer hasn’t really started yet and we have two heated conventions before the actual election. People are throwing hands and this is just the preliminaries.

Bernie has been calling for political revolution. People are on board for a political revolution. I’m just not entirely sure any of us know what we’re signing up for.

“Have a rally out in L.A., we gon’ fuck it up. Home of the Rodney King riot, we don’t give a fuck. Black students, ejected from our rally, what? I’m ready to go right now, your racist ass did too much. I’m ‘bout to turn Black Panther.” –YG

“Look, Reagan sold coke, Obama sold hope. I’m from a place where you prolly can’t go, speakin’ for some people that you prolly ain’t know. It’s pressure built up and it’s prolly gon’ blow.” –Nipsey Hu$$le

-FDT (Fuck Donald Trump) – YG and Nipsey Hu$$le

My President is Trump

With all of the mayhem surrounding Donald Trump and his bid to represent the Republican Party in 2016, there’s been this rush to denounce Trump by the faces on news stations, celebrities on Twitter etc. The phrase is familiar, “I just cannot believe in 2016 we’ve let Trump get this far. That this would be accepted in America in this day and age.” Pretty standard. How in this great land of freedom and equality can a candidate run on a platform of white nationalism, with a smidge of sexism and homophobia? As a student of history, this questioned is a little stupid. How is this not MORE common? Trump has been the President of the United States of America multiple times.  When people cite America’s history with (insert group that isn’t straight, white males), we avoid the pieces of legislation that encouraged violence and hate. The individuals who were in charge. The Donald Trumps.

 

  1. Andrew Jackson, POTUS 1829-1837.

Andrew Jackson was a jackass. He is easily one of the most racist commanders this country has ever had. The fame that led him to the presidency can be found in his time destroying Seminole and runaway slave villages in Florida, and illegally seizing Spanish territory (occupied mainly by women and children) in Pensacola. What a hero huh?  He can be credited with signing into law the Indian Removal Act, one of America’s many, many racial blunders. This act essentially gave President Jackson the power to grant “unsettled lands west of the Mississippi” (WHICH DID NOT BELONG TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT) to tribes in exchange for their lands in American territory. Unsettled land assumes nobody lived west of the Mississippi. The hundreds of Plains tribes living in those “unsettled lands” would disagree, and would showcase their disagreement by warring with tribes that were placed on their lands.

In attempting to remove tribes, Jackson would famously, and publicly, disregard a Supreme Court ruling (Worcester v. Georgia) dealing with the Cherokee Indians. Gold was found on Cherokee land in Georgia. The Cherokees refused to move, but had Americans come on their land and fight/kill for the gold. The Supreme Court sided with the Cherokee Indians. Jackson said their decision would fall “stillborn” because he had no intention of enforcing it. Instead, he would have representatives sign an illegal treaty with an unelected group of Cherokees signing away their land. When the Cherokees leader sent a petition with 16,000 signatures stating this treaty was illegal and was not representative of their government, the federal government ignored them. The Trail of Tears would follow.

  1. Andrew Johnson, POTUS 1865-1869

When the Civil War ended, and slavery was abolished, it would have made sense to see multiple generations of former slaves be granted rights over time. Equality shouldn’t take but a generation or two to phase in right? WRONG. Because we had Andrew Johnson. Johnson should have never been President. He was only Vice President because Lincoln wanted a southerner on his ticket to make sure he would win the 1864 election. Then he was assassinated. So Reconstruction, the period where America would try to repair itself after the Civil War was left to a southern man who had previously owned slaves. If the mountains of irony are not apparent, let me spell it out for you. By 1866, Andrew Johnson had pardoned 7,000 Confederate soldiers and officers and returned all of their property. Seven. Thousand. Pardons. Half of the country committed treason and waged war with the federal government. Former governors and congressmen leading Confederate troops against the United States. We blow up countries just for thinking about warring with the U.S. These men who had just attempted to create their own country and destroy the United States, had just been put back in power by Andrew Johnson. Very few of them saw trial for their treason.

Let that sink in. A series of events would lead to former slaves being lynched and burned, former slaves who, per the Constitution, were American citizens as was their birthright. This series of events begins with Johnson’s presidency. Many former Confederate officers and soldiers would go on to form hate groups targeting black politicians in the South. The Klu Klux Klan was one of many. What better way to mobilize a group of racist white men in the south than to pardon them and their former Confederate leaders. Now military bands could change their name from Confederate Army to Klu Klux Klan, the Red Shirts, White Knights of the Camellia etc. and so forth.

  1. Woodrow Wilson, POTUS 1913-1921

How did we go from freeing the slaves in 1863 to not having basic civil rights promised by the Constitution until 1957? For this one, we can look to the famously religious man that was President Wilson. Under Wilson, the federal government would copy southern policy and enact segregation in many of its departments, including in Washington D.C. Jim Crow had spread to the capital. The government in the land where all men are created equal was reinforcing the racial hierarchy.

Wilson had met with many black activists during his run for presidency, and was thought to be an ally to the black community. Many activists were now being called traitors to their people as Wilson not only did not help black Americans, but made their situation worse. Now, the blame could be spread around and Wilson may not even be labeled a racist by historians had he pleaded ignorance. But, when meeting with civil rights activist William Monroe Trotter, Wilson famously told Trotter that segregation was best for everybody. It kept white people happy, and black people safe. Wait, pick your jaw up. He’s not done. He also told Trotter that the humiliation black people felt at being treated as second class citizens was up to them, they didn’t have to take it as embarrassing. Yes. Yes he did, and no this is not conspiracy. It was plastered on the front pages of newspapers nationwide. While black bodies were being mutilated and economic advancement was being made impossible, Wilson told a group of Americans to suck it up because he didn’t want to make white people mad.

  1. Roanald Reagan, 1981-1988

Reagan. Reagan strikes a chord with most minorities and poor people (see “welfare queen”). Conspiracies run rampant, some even believe he was the Anti-Christ or the Devil. But, none of those have stable enough ground for me to argue without mountains of research, obviously. No, Reagan’s Trump-like move would actually be against a different subset of American society, the LGBTQ community.

HIV/AIDS struck like a plague in the late 1970s. Researchers rushing to figure out what was killing off men and women, and looking frantically for a cure. When a disease begins to spread globally, America has often sent help or offered support. When that disease touches American soil however, we have historically done all that is needed to keep our citizens’ safe (see Bird Flu, Ebola etc in the last decade). HIV/AIDS was treated a little bit differently. Actually a lot bit differently. Think back to how many Americans had Ebola before a cure was discovered. 2, maybe 3? 16,301 Americans had died, not just been diagnosed, but died from complications related to HIV/AIDS by the end of 1986. Reagan’s first time ever saying the word AIDS in a public forum was in February of 1986 to Congress (as part of a greater speech, not the main topic), it wouldn’t be until April of 1987 that Reagan would address the American people regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic. A plague was spreading amongst the LGBTQ community, not that the disease was exclusive to them but they were hit the hardest. Now people will argue for ignorance on Reagan’s part, that he wasn’t ignoring them. But how much leeway does he get? People knew about AIDS, not much, but they knew it existed. Organizatons for research and funding were popping up nationwide to save American lives. A damn play was written about AIDS. All before Reagan would ever mention the disease. An accident? Maybe, but this is the same man who said American society could not condone the gay lifestyle. The same man who’s communications director said AIDS was “nature’s revenge on gay men”. In 1983. In the New York Post. Reagan knew about AIDS and what it was doing, he didn’t care.

 

 

Now, with the exception of Andrew Jackson (who also owned slaves), each of these presidents either targeted, or ignored certain sects of American society. That’s what we usually lose in the shuffle. The LGBTQ community inside our borders, are all Americans. Former slaves after the Civil War, all Americans. Black people seeking protection by their Constitution from Jim Crow and the lynch mob, all Americans. The President of the United States is the President of ALL Americans.

Take any of these situations and insert Donald Trump as president, would you expect him to do anything different? Could he have done anything worse? Trump’s rhetoric has inspired a fervor of white nationalism. Making America great again right? Let’s go back to the days when a president could tell black people that their bodies don’t matter or could play ignorant to the cries for help by gay men. Let’s turn the clock back, and make sure everybody knows their place, that the hierarchy is as it was before we had a President who culturally resonated with a group that wasn’t white dudes. That is what I hear from Donald Trump when he speaks. President Obama seemed to be a turning point for us as a country, hopefully the first of many to right the centuries of wrongs done by this country to its own citizens and those tribes with whom we share this land. Donald Trump is asking to be put in the lineage of men who have done the opposite. He isn’t the first, in fact he’s probably the 20th or 30th if we start doing our Googles. Any member of a marginalized community in America will tell you that Trump is only reflecting the hate American society has for them. He is only a shock to those who believe in the “post-racial society” and those who don’t know he has run this country for most of its history.

“Our history, black history, no president ever did shit for me”

-Nas, My President (By Young Jeezy)

 

#Trump2016 Pt. 2

I gave Trump predictions a few months ago. If Super Tuesday results follow recent political trends, which we have no reason to think otherwise, Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election. Spend a moment thinking about that. I won’t start listing of all the various demographics in various states. There’s too many. There is no one group a finger can be pointed at to blame for this (besides Republicans obviously). But I will offer you one statistic, 2,483,436 were cast for Donald Trump on Super Tuesday. 2.4 million. 2.4 million.

Across 11 states, 2.4 million people voted for Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination. The idea that Donald Trump hasn’t been annihilated by public backlash is embarrassing enough. Trump calls Ted Cruz a pussy and the crowds roar. Trump suggests WAR CRIMES in killing the families of terrorists, the news casters run the clip back hundreds of times across our 24-hour news cycle. Trump refuses to state he does not want the support of white supremacists (the KKK). Leaders of the Republican Party state they do not support white supremacy; Trump threatens them on national television.

I’m standing by the notion that Trump is a paid troll sent to destroy the Republican Party. Nothing else makes sense. Logic is out the window at this point. A candidate in 2016 is using outright xenophobia, racism and has yet to present ONE valid and logical policy on ANYTHING and is leading the GOP in March of an election year. 30 years from now, this election year will be a large section in history books. For what I have no idea, but it will be there. People have stopped laughing. The joke may still be on us, there’s no guarantee Trump can win a general election as he’s already splintered Republicans on both state and national levels. But I wonder who is voting for Trump? It can’t just be everybody’s crazy racist uncle, or dumb backwards cousin. These people are voting in primaries in mass numbers?

Donald Trump may be the next president of the country I will live in for the foreseeable future. He may not be. Regardless, I live in a country where Donald Trump is being legitimately considered as a nominee. A candidate whose entire campaign has been based on mockery of other candidates and hate speech towards black and brown people, women, the LGBTQ community and the physically disabled.

2.4 million.