The Chaos And Misery Are The Price They’re Making Us Pay For Wanting A Better Nation
When I was in the Fifth Grade at a private Catholic school in Queens, we enrolled the school’s only black student – Donell. His mother had enrolled him because she hoped he would have better opportunity at a good high school and college if he went to a private school. The year was 1994 and the public schools in Southern Queens and neighboring Eastern Brooklyn where Donell lived – about a mile or so from my school – were in a sorry state. His mother had taken a second job to make enough money to cover her son’s tuition.
The news was not well-received. Starting in the late summer, when rumors of Donell coming to the school began building among the school community, I overheard my classmates’ parents at a block party talking about “letting n*gg*rs” into the school and the problems that would arise. At a meeting of the Home School Association, my school’s PTA, one parent suggested segregation should be reimplemented and black kids would “bring our school down.” One parent said “black men are naturally inclined to rape women” and felt it was her duty as a parent of a daughter to stop Donell from entering school.
Within a few weeks, it was clear he was being treated differently – by other kids, teachers and staff. He was expelled for doing something that many kids do and don’t get expelled for – blowing raspberries in the hallway while changing classes. But it was obvious that’s not why. Parents, angry at Donell’s admission, not only raged at meetings and brought local political candidates to talk about eugenics and the pitfalls of “diversity,” they wrote to donors imploring them to cut off funding. This school, they said, was “a white school,” and if it couldn’t be a white school, it may as well just not exist.
“If we start letting them into the school,” one letter, shared to me years later by a former benefactor, read. “Then why even have a school at all. I might as well just sent my kids to public school.”
What kind of person, you might ask, would try to sabotage their own children’s education in order to punish one black child whose mother just wants him to get a good education?
The same people who will vote for Donald Trump in 2020.
Lately, so many people have asked me the same question: How on Earth are there still people voting for Trump this year?
With all that’s happened – a pandemic that’s killed 170,000 Americans, an economic depression, civil unrest over disintegration of trust between law enforcement and citizens they are sworn to serve, scandals galore, including evidence that the president sat back and punted on news of AMERICAN soldiers being marked for death by Russians – how could anyone go “yeah, four more years of this please!”
The reason is simple. Because they’re happy with all this. This is exactly what they wanted. After years of watching their vision of America – one in which white, Christian men with money are on top of the social hierarchy – be slowly dismantled, they decided those who took away that vision must be punished and punished harshly, even if it means they get hurt too. Because systemic inequality in our nation means for every white person who gets hurt, a marginalized person gets hurt twice as hard. That’s why black Americans are dying of COVID at twice the race of white Americans. The painful path back to the privileged existence of their parents and grandparents make mean some hard choices now, but they will benefit later – when blacks are subjugated, gays are closeted, women are submissive, the rich rule over us and beatings will continue until morale improves. That Trump is getting away with crimes is even better – it proves that white men with money don’t have to follow the rules and the America Trump supporters dream of, where rules don’t apply to them, is just around the corner.
We, progressives and liberals, dared to dream of a better, freer, fairer America, and some couldn’t stand it’ so in 2016, they send us a message – The unequal America where a black man is treated less than a white man, where women earn less than men, where poverty is punishment for laziness and Christianity is a force used to oppress, will not let go quietly.
It’s always been strange to me that Republicans and conservatives somehow managed to win the mantle of patriotism, and that’s especially true of Trump supporters. No one hates America more – the real America, not the one Fox News markets to them. No one is more desperate to erase huge chunks of America – education, enlightened thought, immigration, labor unions, civil rights, diversity. Despite all the complaints about wanting to tear down Confederate statues – liberals don’t want to erase the country’s dark history, they just don’t want to celebrate it – it is conservatives who are desperate to cancel all the progress America has made over the years and roll back the clock to a more regressive time.
I don’t think people understand that many voters supported Trump because they WANTED him to hurt some of their fellow Americans, and they got what they wanted. Everything that’s happening now – cities struggling, people of color dying and falling sick at higher rate, America isolated globally – this is what they wanted. They are gleeful at the idea that big liberal cities like New York are “dead,” they refuse to follow any guidelines on mitigating COVID because for every white person who dies, two black people and two Hispanic people die. The virus is doing what they couldn’t – wiping out the minority and progressive population. The pandemic and the Trump presidency is destroying public education, public transit and social services, which in turn leads to the type of social disruption that breeds crime, which empowers their desire to build a fascist police state that serves them like private bodyguards paid for by taxpayers. Further, the economic devastation from this pandemic has wiped out whatever wealth Millennials have struggled to accumulate over the past decade, and left younger generations with little to no reality of economic freedom in the next few years at least. The recovery from this will take a generation or more.
I don’t think people understand that many voters supported Trump because they WANTED him to hurt some of their fellow Americans
They have gotten what they wanted – revenge.
Revenge for saddling them with a black president, for”political correctness,” or daring to create a more respectful and less cruel society, for expanding civil rights and forcing them to see marginalized groups as equals. Revenge for trying to make the word fairer, and in the process dismantling the system that rewards them with privilege. Those young people who castigated them for being insensitive, who refused to shut up and rally behind the flag during a pointless war, who made them feel stupid by effectively learning technology, who dared to dream bigger than them, will now never have a chance at the American Dream. That’ll show ’em.
They were able to do it and retain their luster of patriotism by hiding behind patriotic symbols – the flag, the anthem, the military – to make it look they were doing it “for our country’s good.”
But they weren’t. Like the mothers who sought to shut down my elementary school – despite always wearing school-branded clothing and organizing school events, – because it opened its doors to “others,” Trump supporters decided if they couldn’t have America, the way they wanted it, no one can, so they became hell bent on destroying it, and will continue to as long as we allow them.