There are many Americans, including myself, who hoped that Joe Biden would have won this election by a landslide. That hope was not all politically motivated. It went deeper, to the systemic racial divide that this current president has sown for decades and the exposure to the coronavirus pandemic that he has left this nation in the wake of his presidency, which now impacts our BIPOC population more than most any other group.
Instead of a landslide victory, this presidential election has turned out to feel more like we turned on an ultraviolet light in a dark room and saw for the first time, 10s of millions of Trump voters beginning to glow bright red in every corner of this country.
Over the past 4 years, Donald Trump and his administration have failed and continue to fail millions of Americans. Though Biden has won the election, there is still a great concern over the present state of the issue around systemic racism in America. Trump and his base of supporters are quick to hurl an ‘all lives matter’ chant, while their votes in this election said loud and clear, “all votes don’t matter”. The President right now, despite his loss, is claiming voter fraud and aiming to suppress the votes and voices of the segment of America that didn’t share his views.
For this portion of the nation that opted to move on from President Donald Trump and countless others around the globe, he’ll be remembered as a shell of a leader that rebranded us as the Divided State of America. Yet, through his incompetence, negligence and consistent screwups, he still somehow amassed over 71,048,781 votes (47.7% of the popular vote as of November 8, 2020, at 1:30pm ET).
For these 10s of million of American citizens who gave their support and vote to Trump, whether they have been deceived by him or dare I say, share his thinking, it’s fair to assume they have all seen the impact of racial injustice and the coronavirus pandemic on communities, cities and states around our country, and still chose to ignore these dangers by re-electing Trump. But why?
As Black people in America, many have felt and still feel the weight of these decisions that have hurt our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, children and others, each and every day for the past 400 years.
We need to educate ourselves and be more empathetic of others
Just this week in a response to a LinkedIn discussion thread about Trump’s failures, one person left me the following comment reply, “Come on you are not believing everything you read and not researching it … You can’t see reality obviously. So sad.”
Another in response to my request to stop using the term “MAGA” following this election said “How is All Lives Matter more racist at its core than Black Lives Matter?”.
Unfortunately, comments like these are more the norm than an anomaly. And politically, we are each looking at the other party as being in an alternate universe.
But truth is Black America is exhausted (I know I am) by the sheer volume of bad seeds that Trump has planted, that take us back generations to the sufferings as enslaved people in a country that was built by way of our blood and the work of our ancestors. For many today, they say we should move on, that the systems of the past should be ignored.
As a Black man and an immigrant living in America for 27 years (19 years as a naturalized citizen), I have seen racism bleed through the fabric of this country and I can’t ignore it. For my wife and my children, their ancestors fought for their freedom from slavery in Maryland 230 years ago and were denied freedom by the Supreme Court. The very systems of America then, failed to see them as equal humans and free them. The Black lives of their ancestors did not matter then, and at no point from then until now has America been great or even near equal for our Black lives.
Donald Trump is a racist and aimed at bringing back these systems
It’s no surprise but still infuriating when Donald Trump cites that he’s ’the least racist’ person, and his historical record proves otherwise. His brand of leadership, sowing terms like ‘Make American Great Again’, ‘Law and Order’ and ‘All Lives Matter’ are just a few of the ways he’s divided and emboldened his base toward hate, violence and racism.
And this isn’t new for Donald Trump. Here’s a timeline of the decades long history of Trump’s racist controversies published by Vox:
1973: The US Department of Justice (under the Nixon administration) sued the Trump Management Corporation for violating the Fair Housing Act. Federal officials found evidence that Trump had refused to rent to Black tenants and lied to Black applicants about whether apartments were available, among other accusations.
1980s: Kip Brown, a former employee at Trump’s Castle, accused another one of Trump’s businesses of discrimination. “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,” Brown said. “It was the eighties, I was a teenager, but I remember it: They put us all in the back.”
1989: In a controversial case that’s been characterized as a modern-day lynching, four Black teenagers and one Latino teenager — the “Central Park Five” — were accused of attacking and raping a jogger in New York City. Trump immediately took charge in the case, running an ad in local papers demanding, “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!” The teens’ convictions were later vacated after they spent seven to 13 years in prison, and the city paid $41 million in a settlement to the teens. But Trump in October 2016 said he still believes they’re guilty, despite the DNA evidence to the contrary.
1991: A book by John O’Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, quoted Trump’s criticism of a Black accountant: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.” Trump later said in a 1997 Playboy interview that “the stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true.”
1993: In congressional testimony, Trump said that some Native American reservations operating casinos shouldn’t be allowed because “they don’t look like Indians to me.”
2000: In opposition to a casino proposed by the St. Regis Mohawk tribe, which he saw as a financial threat to his casinos in Atlantic City, Trump secretly ran a series of ads suggesting the tribe had a “record of criminal activity [that] is well documented.”
2010: In 2010, there was a huge national controversy over the “Ground Zero Mosque” — a proposal to build a Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, near the site of the 9/11 attacks. Trump opposed the project, calling it “insensitive,” and offered to buy out one of the investors in the project. On The Late Show With David Letterman, Trump argued, referring to Muslims, “Well, somebody’s blowing us up. Somebody’s blowing up buildings, and somebody’s doing lots of bad stuff.”
2011: Trump played a big role in pushing false rumors that Obama — the country’s first Black president — was not born in the US. He claimed to send investigators to Hawaii to look into Obama’s birth certificate. Obama later released his birth certificate, calling Trump a “carnival barker.” The research has found a strong correlation between birtherism, as the conspiracy theory is called, and racism. But Trump has reportedly continued pushing this conspiracy theory in private.
On Thursday, November 5, 2020 the president targeted Philadelphia and Detroit, both African American majority cities in the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and Michigan. “They’re trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen,” he said. “Detroit and Philadelphia — known as two of the most corrupt political places anywhere in our country.”
Donald Trump failed us in response to COVID-19, which adversely impacts people of color.
In addition to the above, the president has failed America, and especially Black America on the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s something we’ve not seen or heard enough mention of in the news media: By early August 2020, people of color, who represent about 24% of the general population, made up about 61% of all COVID-19 infections and 50% of all deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Was this a chance happening or another of Trump’s racially motivated plans? Setting back people of color has been a mission mantra of this LAW-and-ORDER president, and while some will shut it down as fake news, others are questioning it. We need to be aware of these systems that work against us, and work to address the disparity in response to this pandemic for people of color.
Below is a timeline of Trump’s coronavirus responses and actual facts of the pandemic which help to emphasize his lack of leadership, of care, of urgency, which has now caused years of challenges ahead for America and its people:
Feb 7 — Trump said he knew COVID-19 was deadly
Feb 26 — “The 15 cases in the US would be close to zero within a couple days”
Feb 27 — “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
Mar 13 — “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
Mar 15 — “I’d rate it a ten,” [Trump’s rating of his coronavirus response]
Apr 6 — “LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!”
Apr 11 — U.S. death toll passes 20,000
Apr 23–26 million jobless claims
May 5 — Consumer debt hits an all-time high
May 16 — “We’ve done a GREAT job on COVID response”
May 22–38 million jobless claims
May 27 — U.S. death toll passes 100,000
Jun 17 — “It’s fading away. It’s going to fade away.”
Aug 3 — “OPEN THE SCHOOLS!!!”
Aug 31 — Six million Americans have now been infected by the coronavirus.
Sep 10 — “We have rounded the final turn”
Sep 19 — U.S. death toll passes 200,000
Oct 2 — Trump and First Lady test positive for Coronavirus. Also, more than a dozen White House staff and aides tested positive.
Oct 5 — “Don’t be afraid of Covid.”
Oct 24 — “Turn on television: ‘covid, covid, covid, covid, covid.’ A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don’t talk about it — ‘covid, covid, covid, covid,’ “By the way, on November 4th, you won’t hear about it anymore.”
Oct 30 — Nine million Americans have now been infected by the coronavirus.
Nov 1 — U.S. death toll passes 230,000
Nov 4 — We now have exceeded 233,000+ deaths and 9,441,473 million cases in the USA.
Now that we’re all aware of what we’re dealing with in this dark America following Trump, where all is now clear to us under the ultraviolet lights of the November 2020 election, we must all begin to answer this important question:
What will be our next move to fix our broken and divided state of America?
In many ways, Joe Biden should not be viewed as the be-all and end-all solution to this issue. He’s no doubt going to be part of it, but he’s got a tough battle ahead with a potentially tough senate (that, if led by Republicans, will make it hard to get things done). Change won’t be easy politically and it won’t happen overnight, but we as a people and a nation must begin to work together.
In the words of Shawn Dove, we must stop stalling on our calling. It’s time to jump in and begin to fight for the change we’re seeking to see.
Why should any of this matter to the 70 million Trump voters?
While the Donald Trump era will end very soon, the beliefs and vision he’s planted have already fueled hate, violence, injustice, and discrimination, which will not be easy to eliminate. We must remove them together if we are to plant and grow new seeds of love, cooperation, empathy, and unity (and rebrand ourselves and live up to our country’s ideals and our hope of being the United States of America, which include ALL Americans). We can’t do that as a Democratic Party or a Republican Party. We can’t do that solely as a white race or solely as a Black race. We must do this as a united people who share this one nation.
WHAT’S YOUR ONE ACTION?
What is one action you can take right now to begin doing in your home, your neighborhood and community to effect the positive change(s) you want to see? What are some of the organizations that you’ve admired, who are already doing great work and might not be getting the media spotlight and awareness, to grow and bring more awareness to the change we need to make our country a better place for our children and their children? How can we partner with other organizations to rebuild our country?
Let this serve as a call to action, as mission fuel, to begin doing the hard work to make America a good place for ALL for the very first time, because it’s truly never been before for many of its citizens, including our Black people.
We want to hear your thoughts, so please share a positive word in the comments below.