“Did you watch the debates last night?”
Hillary Clinton would ask this question before an approving crowd of enthusiastic supporters, all of whom had come together to celebrate another drubbing of Donald Trump during the previous night’s presidential debate. Clinton routinely proved before an audience of millions that she was the clear choice for the presidency. She exuded confidence, competence, humor, intelligence, compassion, and the willingness to serve the people of this country for the right reasons. Donald Trump, on the other hand, exhibited a propensity for churlishness, irascibility, racism and irrationality. His performance also showed that his grasp of the issues was negligible at best. After watching Trump during the debate, a rational person would have known that Trump was unpredictable, a clear and present danger to the country.
Unfortunately for us, competency, compassion, and rationality lost out. Many voters were made blind by raw emotions- many of them negative- and seduced by blatant lies that fueled those emotions. And on November 9th, Americans chose to elect an unqualified and undeserving peddler of lies, hatred, and fantasy as the next president of the United States.
Donald Trump lost the popular vote by a considerable amount. And so, many people were very upset with the election’s outcome. How is it possible that an avowed sexual predator, bully, and unrepentant racist became the president of the United States of America. As a black man, I was doubly upset at the result. Because a man whom I deem as an imminent threat to me and other traditionally disenfranchised people of color had been put in a position to do irreparable harm to our lives. As I have stated in a previous diary, the knowledge that my country had elected Trump as president brought on a depression that was familiar because I knew that many of my fellow Americans who voted for Trump could care less about people like me.
More than a month has passed since that terrible election day debacle. I’ve pored over thousands of articles and watched hundreds of interviews in an effort to understand how this disaster came to be. The most important thing that I’ve learned from all of this research is that many of our most respected African American celebrities, scholars, and intellectuals are not surprised by the coming of Trump. Melissa Harris-Perry, a former anchor with MSNBC gave her reasoning for this non-surprise. Per Raw Story:
Professor and journalist Melissa Harris-Perry got real about Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory during an Atlantic forum held at Wake Forest University on Dec. 13, Atlanta Black Star reported.
Specifically, Harris-Perry touched on her annoyance that anyone would be shocked that racism and sexual assault would disqualify him as a candidate.
“I am not even vaguely surprised by the idea that sexual assault would be a not disqualifier for the American presidency,” she said. “In fact, I was mostly irritated every time people would say ‘Oh God, we can’t have a racist be the American president,’ because I kept wondering, since when?”
She continued, “For most of American history, racism has been a prerequisite to win the American presidency. One had to actually demonstrate one’s racism to become the American president.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a columnist for the Atlantic Magazine and McArthur Genius Grant recipient, opines that Obama’s ascension to the presidency should be treated as the unique occurrence in American history, while Trump’s election is a byproduct of good old American racism. Per the Huffington Post:
Coates said Obama “definitely” had to work twice as hard as Trump to become president, comparing his laundry list of achievements to Trump’s limited experience.
If I have to jump six feet to get the same thing that you have to jump two feet for ― that’s how racism works.
To be president, [Obama] had to be scholarly, intelligent, president of the Harvard Law Review, the product of some of our greatest educational institutions, capable of talking to two different worlds ... Donald Trump had to be rich and white. That was it. That’s the difference.
Dave Chapelle, one of the America’s greatest comedians expressed his non-surprise through his comedy during a filming of Saturday Night Live. Per the Daily Beast:
The stand-up comedian did not hesitate to address the situation when he took the stage as host of Saturday Night Live for the first time. “I didn't know that Donald Trump was going to win the election,” he told the crowd before adding, “I did suspect it.”
“Seemed like Hillary was doing well in the polls and yet, I know the whites,” Chappelle continued. “You guys aren’t as full of surprises as you used to be.” Speaking on behalf of all of black America, he added, “We are all praying for Omarosa.”
And I am going to assume that there are many more black people were not surprised by the ascension of Donald Trump.
Which is worse? The fact that a sexual predator and racist won the presidency or the fact that black people are not surprised his victory. Maybe it doesn’t matter. But I’m not depressed by the outcome of the election anymore. I now understand that eight years of Obama made me see the world through rose-colored glass. My eyes have been truly opened to the ways of the world over the past month. I definitely know, and millions of other people of color know, that there are many in the United States who are resentful our existence. But we cannot be resigned to it always being this way. I am still hopeful for a future that is better for the people of color who come after me, as are the other millions of the people of color who live and work in this country. And just like the people who came before us, we will fight to make sure that this better future comes to fruition.