Adam Serwer – The Atlantic:
One hundred thirty-nine years since Reconstruction, and half a century since the tail end of the civil-rights movement, a majority of white voters backed a candidate who explicitly pledged to use the power of the state against people of color and religious minorities, and stood by him as that pledge has been among the few to survive the first year of his presidency. Their support was enough to win the White House, and has solidified a return to a politics of white identity that has been one of the most destructive forces in American history. This all occurred before the eyes of a disbelieving press and political class, who plunged into fierce denial about how and why this had happened. That is the story of the 2016 election.
I could pull resoundingly meaningful quotes from this article all day long. Do yourself a favor and go read it.
This is the bottom line of our 2016 election, the culmination of backlash against the abolition of slavery, abandonment of Reconstruction, institution of Jim Crow laws, economic and educational marginalization, and overall unease and outright fear among the white community of an empowered, non-white population.
Though GOP voters may not believe they’re racist or bigoted in any particular way, every last one of Mr. Trump’s supporters was willing to give this man a pass on all we knew about him. How anyone with a shred of decency, particularly women, could vote for a man who claims “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything” is beyond me, except for what Serwer wrote in this article. Trump is the balm that soothes a deep-seeded animus toward the non-white, and covers the shame over treatment of black and brown Americans.
Serwer’s well-documented article sums up a particularly egregious aspect of our cultural and political history. An example of Trump’s supporters’ fervor is expressed in a recent interview with a handful of Trump voters in which one said “If Jesus Christ gets down off the cross and told me Trump is with Russia, I would tell him, ‘Hold on a second, I need to check with the president if it’s true.” A Christian, no doubt, and he puts this charlatan ahead of his god. Think about that.
Trumpism emerged from a haze of delusion, denial, pride, and cruelty—not as a historical anomaly, but as a profoundly American phenomenon. This explains both how tens of millions of white Americans could pull the lever for a candidate running on a racist platform and justify doing so, and why a predominantly white political class would search so desperately for an alternative explanation for what it had just seen. To acknowledge the centrality of racial inequality to American democracy is to question its legitimacy—so it must be denied.
“question its legitimacy.” What do you call a republic founded upon the principle that all men are created equal, by men who themselves held human beings as chattel? You call it a lie. It’s well past the time we tell the truth, that slavery informs our politics today because it is America’s original sin, and is its central, unanswered question.
#Trump #racism #bigotry #AmericanPolitics #AmericanCulture