My Country ‘Tis of Thee

I have spent the last few weeks since the election trying to reconcile all of the emotions that have come from the devastating realization that a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic white billionaire was actually elected by the people (well, those who went to the polls anyway). For the last year that fear sat, mostly in slumber, far beneath the surface of all rational logic. Surely a man who shows absolutely zero knowledge of public office, foreign relations, cultural understanding nor sense of actual national unity would become the next president of the United States. Surely a man that has been proven time and again to make up scenarios and facts, base his campaign on sheer public (celebrity) “charisma” (I use quotes since this notion of charisma is completely relative), mock the disabled, degrade women, brag about assaulting women, encourage racial violence, accept an endorsement by the KKK, is in the process of a major fraud legal suit in which he manipulated the general public of thousands of dollars, is about to go on trial for raping a thirteen year old girl, used threats and force against a female news personality (the newly respected Megan Kelly) in addition to the many other methods of fear mongering and bully tactics he used, surely this country has moved forward enough in the last 60 years to NOT ELECT THIS PERSON TO THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

United. What does this word mean to Americans? What does the term united stand for in this country? I could offer a slight bone to the average white American who feels disenfranchised by the democratic policies of the last 25 years, and particularly the last 8; this being their seemingly excusable reason for a Trump vote (since, yikes, the alternative was an aging white woman with 30 years of political office experience). Yet, I stop short of that pathetic sense of appeal given the complete and utter lack of this so-called marginalized population’s acknowledgement of the disenfranchisement of every non-white American since the birth of this nation. But that disenfranchisement is not a part of the white conversation. It is only in white America that disenfranchisement among white Americans matters. It is only in white America that the plight of the person who has lost their job, has to compete in a highly competitive job market, is facing complete poverty due to policies destroying their jobs and livelihood feels left out of all conversation and benefit of globalization and economic progress. Only in white America does their seemingly silenced voice matter. In all of this nation’s history, that same voice within the populations of non-white America has been met with vitriol and outrage. That such a voice should be silenced and instead offer thanks for what they do have and simply work harder for what they don’t. It is baffling that today, in 2016, two-hundred and forty years since the signing of the declaration of independence—whose own author and signers were well aware of its hypocritical first words—still have not reconciled the horrors of the “peculiar institution” and instead continue its horrific legacy.

This election has shown that white America has absolutely no intention of actually being the all-inclusive nation its proud words on the Statue of Liberty claim it to be. White America, particularly white male America, will not share its power with any other group. Even as white women, a group of which I belong, cannot consider themselves among the marginalized, because regardless of their secondary status in the context of white males, they will benefit from white male power. This might explain why the majority of white females voted for Trump. His racist rhetoric that encompassed his now infamous slogan “Make America Great Again” offered a benefit to them that women of color will not receive. And perhaps, this was the appeal. White feminism, after all, never included the intersectionality of race, culture, economic standing, and the personal experiences of those that experienced America much differently than she who suffered from “the problem with no name.” White America will not be excluded, but more importantly, they will not forgo the power to exclude.

I have tried over the last few weeks to listen to those who voted on behalf of white male supremacy, to see what, if any, profound and logical thoughts might come from their devastating support of such a vile human being. I have come up short. I have sat and listened when they have said to give him a chance and see what he can do. I have listed to this sentiment time and again from one white person after another who has no reason to fear what he might do. I have looked for any indication of empathy for the escalating racial violence across the country, all of which is done literally in the name of Trump. I have waited for any one of these voices to actually condemn racial aggression, racial violence—much of which has been enacted by school children—and any condemnation of cultural or religious hate. I have waited for an ally among white males and females to speak out against sexual assault, rape, and the mere reduction of women as objects whose sole worth is rated on a beauty scale of 1 to 10. Alas, all silence. I have, however, listened to the condemnations of protestors, despite the call to revolution should Trump lose, and the condemnation of parents who allow or teach such immoral and un-American acts of “terrorism” (apparently forgetting their own history of how this nation was built—you know, a bunch of land-owning white dudes who threw highly taxed tea into the Boston Harbor just before engaging in all out revolution against a tyrannical government); I have heard nothing but crickets in support of all-inclusive cultural and religious freedom, while listening to the abhorrent vitriol condemning such “others” to “go back where they came from” (many of whom were born right here on this very fertile American soil); I have listened to one male after another, and disturbingly, many a female, normalize sexual assault as “locker room talk” and nothing more than “mere words” because white male power offers entitlement to women’s bodies, consent being of no matter. I have listed over and over again to those who feel guns have more rights than humans—this, supposedly, being a large “reason” for a Trump vote. Because losing your right to own a thing designed solely to kill is much more important than the Human right to live. Gun rights taking precedent to human rights is somehow completely unproblematic to those who feel their right to a gun is reason enough to elect a man who has been called an incredible danger to this country and the world by just about every economist, historian, and political leader in the world. This same right to a gun that is only afforded white America, because if we have learned anything from the Black Lives Matter movement, it is that only white America can own a gun for “protection.” Any notion of even having a gun (despite the much emphasized 2nd Amendment right to do so) is reason enough for a cop to feel “threatened” and murder the American “possessing” this rightful weapon. Gun rights over human rights. Gun rights over the right to human life. Can someone please explain this complete lack of balance to me?

I end this here. On the notion of balance. The notion of priorities. The notion of who is entitled to what in this country, and how this election season spoke very loudly of that unequal balance and the truest, most profound sense of entitlement. I was told by a member of my own family that I should move to Canada when I voiced my shame in being an American when the election results came in. In other words, either I conform to racist ideology, or move to Canada. Because in this country, refusing to accept white nationalism as “American” makes you, well, un-Amercian.

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Published by: stellasyr

"The writer must create out of her real self a separate narrative persona. The narrator has wisdom and distance the writer may not, and can craft a meaningful story out of the raw details of life"

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