After We Heal, It’s Time to Live Revolution
The “silent majority” has found its voice. The resounding victory of Donald Trump in last night’s election was a sobering, if needless, reminder that we live in a country founded on white nationalism. Even if Trump had lost, we’d have a serious racial dialogue (and potential terrorism from angry nationalists) to deal with.
But he won, off the strength of “off the grid,” working class conservatives who came out in rural America. These are the people uninterested in Twitter trolling, Breitbart blogging, or flooding the comment sections of liberal online publications. We thought there was enough collective sense to outnumber the people proudly wearing “deplorable” badges online, but there were even more Trump supporters than we anticipated: a block of “center-right” citizens that Hillary Clinton overlooked and took for granted. As Hugh Hewitt noted on NBC’s election coverage, “I was a reluctant Trump voter. I didn’t know there were millions of us.”
It’s a twisted posit to digest, but Trump’s victory is a reflection of Obama’s in ’08. Like Obama, he appealed to a group of people who were sick of the previous eight years. Who felt they had no voice. Who longed for hope. Trump provides that hope through hate.
So what’s next? Financial markets are already plummeting. If last night’s crash on Canada’s immigration site is any indication, many are looking to leave the country. Millenials are in mourning. For the youngest of them, this will represent their first lucid experience with business as usual in American politics. There will be no Obama to stoke our hopefulness, to feel quelled that he would do the right thing if his hands weren’t tied by a GOP that rejected more of his bills than any President ever.
Trump plans to repeal many of Obama’s policies, including Obamacare and Barack’s criminal justice reform strides. Bigotry and anti-Immigration reform will reign unpoliced. The predacious police system may be further emboldened with nationwide stop and frisk. The last two times all three branches were dominated by Republicans were the Great Depression and the Great Recession. Rudy Giuliani likened Trump’s victory to that of Andrew Jackson, who Vox notes was a racist ethnic cleanser. Yes, it looks bleak.
But as someone who was old enough to remember the full eight years of Bush’s reign, and realizes we’ve been through slavery, a Civil War, 9/11, two world wars, great depressions, recessions, Jim Crow, the “War on Drugs,” trickle down economics and other calamities, I’m not sure how much Trump could put us through that our ancestors haven’t seen.
Last night’s results were a disaster for reform, but a harbinger for revolution. We’ve received a titanic wakeup call that’s needed amidst a too-complacent climate of mass media-placation and “post-racialism.”
The next four years will be our time to become the black and white photos of activists and freedom fighters that we love to romanticize. We’re part of the same struggle, and as Huey P. Newton noted, “if you stop struggle, you stop life.” It’s time to live revolution.
It’s time to embrace local and state politics as the primary venue for change, as yesterday’s results showed. It’s time for liberation movements to unite in droves, intersecting across identity barriers. It’s time for young people of color to fully infiltrate the political arena. We don’t need one or two leaders to take orders from, we need millions of enlightened people on one general accord. It‘s time for people to analyze the reconstruction era’s Populist Party for cues on how to move together against the “lesser of evils” two-party system. For us to sidestep the flaws of past movements and accept the possibility of torturous treatment like that of activists and journalists in other countries.
It’s time for the angry, defensive culture pervading racial discussion on social media to become about healing and building a communal consciousness. Social media can be our most powerful tool or a disheartening expose of our divide. Those revolutionary idealizations that we’ve held like keepsakes of bygone, unmimicable eras simply have to become actionable realizations against the scourge of a fascist President-elect like Trump.