We had a simple hope. Americans would make the easiest, most logical and humane choice on 11/3.
All we wanted was for America to choose justice over injustice, unity over division, equality over racist oppression.
But almost half of America’s voters refused.
In fact, counting everyone not voting for Biden, America seems overwhelmingly satisfied with the failures and tragedies of Donald Trump and his heartless minions.
We were waiting for the GOP to pay the price for failing to remove a monster from office over his undisputed abuses of power. Instead, they will not pay any price, as Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham have proven.
We were hoping the reaction to the Trump presidency would act as the trigger for the death (if only a slow one) of white supremacy. Instead it’s a new launching pad for racism and xenophobia, as this apparent American apathy toward hate and ignorance may continue to consume far too many of the governments of the world. A plan the GOP activated almost 60 years ago to weaponize race fear among white Americans has reached a deadly momentum and now seemingly can’t be stopped, or even slowed.
The Senate was designed to give non-proportionately high control to rural and underpopulated states. That’s where racism too often thrives, and the reason we have a Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, but not a Merrick Garland. Even in a Biden administration there will not likely be any judge placed on any court that fails to meet Mitch McConnell’s strict definition of bias, and that may never change while he lives. (Or even after.)
Remember how we all took comfort in knowing that Trump’s replacement would simply undo four years of disastrous and destructive policies? And then the rules giving the Senate too much power would be changed to be more balanced? Very little, if any, of that is likely to happen unless a near miracle provides a 50–50 Senate (with Kamala the tie-breaking vote.) Do you recall the censure of Trump we expected, once he was out of power and no longer to be feared? (Even from a chagrined and contrite GOP, we imagined.) As long as nearly half the country still loves him, such anticipated career-saving condemnation won’t happen. And in fact, speaking against Trump at all may inflict a higher price from his followers and sycophants than it might have from Trump himself. But all that conjecture is moot. Since the GOP has paid no price, there will be no action from them toward Trump. He may even reach mythical, Reagan-like proportions in time (if he hasn’t already.).
Remember how we knew that even republican voters couldn’t possibly ignore the impact of the pandemic? It seems that the areas most affected by the virus voted for Trump in even higher numbers than in 2016. But if we’re surprised by that, we haven’t really been paying attention. While this should have been evidence that it can be deadly to not wear masks, what it really says is that believing every Trump coronavirus lie turned out to be just one more means of “owning the libs.”
We so desperately wanted something good to be the direct result of the misery and death deliberately caused by this administration, but all we get instead is a new wave of hate, and more people than ever willing to simply ignore it.
But what they wanted was someone to approve of the violence in their hearts, someone to say, “It’s OK to hate and kill”, and they may have it in America’s underwhelming concern about positive change. It may be their grandparents or parents being killed by a carrier of the Mask Sickness. It may be the reporter on TV, the liberal living on one side, or the Black teenager living on the other, all likely to fall victim to hate. But anything that makes Trump worshippers happy, or makes them better supplicants is A-OK. They hear Trump’s whisper in their collective ear, “No one will stop or punish you. In fact, you’ll be a hero, and many people who look like you will protect, love and respect you, and even send money. Stand by.”
Now we know what Trump meant when he talked about getting away with shooting someone on 5th Avenue. He meant anyone who fails to bow down before him. And he meant the finger on the trigger can be anyone’s, if they love and worship him enough.
Concerning Charlottesville, Trump talked about “good people on both sides.”
Americans just said essentially the same thing in return, as if they were afraid of hurting Trump’s feelings. As if they saw nothing wrong with children in cages, and peaceful protesters for the just cause of self-preservation being attacked by those in power, as if the only just cause is self-promotion. And they said that there is no problem with armed police violently attacking innocent Americans protesting that very violence, people unable to respond because of the power behind that violence. As has so often been said, the far-right has no sense of irony.
November 3rd was apparently the end of nothing (except America’s hopes, dreams and best intentions about racial justice), and possibly the beginning of an even darker time in America. Perhaps the darkest time since the Civil War, and possibly the end of America. Now, instead of being respected (as it was just four years ago), America will be feared and doubted. As maybe it should be, considering how deadly America can be in the wrong hands. (And there are still a great number of “wrong hands” in power.) And feared and doubted exactly as Trump wants America to be.
Yes, it’s wonderful that Joe Biden (or for that matter, anyone) was elected over Trump, though he may face the most challenging presidency since Lincoln, but on a far grander, global scale. I so wanted 11/4/20 to be a day of rest, a new beginning for a new, better America, knowing Joe will be in charge soon.
But it really isn’t very much better if that many Americans still support Trump. I’ll never see a better America in the time I have remaining (or even the America we had just four years ago.) But other, younger Americans may, and the struggle must not stop for even a single day. Prior to Tuesday I had two Trump hopes; Trump’s portrait would never hang in the White House, and Trump would die in prison. Now I mostly just don’t want to be killed if I choose to wear an anti-Trump t-shirt.
Thank you for reading, for the battles you have fought, and for the battles you have yet to face.