We watched the debates. We watched his tweets. We watched him bully and intimidate, and still it did not matter. Donald Trump has won the office of the Presidency, as he emboldened white voters across class categories, telling them that he would take their country back for them and that is what he has done.
After eight years of a black president who has raised incomes, lowered unemployment, withdrawn us from two wars begun by Republicans, and held a scandal free White House, we have plunged headfirst into the next era. A man who has claimed to “grab women by the pussy” will be responsible for leading the free world.
Perhaps the onus is ours for underestimating the power of white supremacy. Surely, we thought, more white folks, white women would help us carry Clinton over the precious 270 electoral votes. Surely, demographic change has come fast enough to defeat this man who hates people of color. We were wrong. Folks with middle to upper incomes, older people, white people (men and women) and evangelicals all turned out and voted for Trump. Democrats were roundly rejected at all levels of government—they lost the Senate and House as well. It looks like the Supreme Court is also up for grabs.
We will see if we maintain our rights to free speech. Trump has said he wants to “open up our libel laws” to sue the press, and regularly disparages them at his rallies. We will see if we maintain our rights to protest, to exist in this country as a person of color. Donald Trump had protesters and black people (even some who supported him) brutalized and kicked out of his rallies.
We must (continue) to support and protect our undocumented friends from any threat of deportation. We must resist the ridiculous wall Trump wants to build around our borders. We must call out and fight against the racist, xenophobic rhetoric and people he’s certain to employ and elevate. We must fight to protect women’s rights to choose and the LGBTQ right to marry and be free in this country.
I am afraid for us. I am afraid for our future. Of course, the United States has been racist and sexist, so that is nothing new. I am deeply saddened, however, at the swift and unyielding rule of white American racial backlash. This rule says once a modicum of racial progress is achieved, white supremacy will work to undo that progress. It is Jim Crow and mass incarceration to Emancipation. It is voter suppression to voting rights. It is now President-Elect Donald Trump to President Barack Obama. All progress we have made is now temporary.
What have we lost? It will become clear in the next four. I leave you all with a fighting song to carry us through the next presidential term. Remember, if you see something say something. “Contentious” must be the default in American politics from now on.