The Day We Elected Hatred
The election of Donald Trump sends our nation and the world a grime message: that fear-base rhetoric and hatred can win the most powerful office in the world – the U.S. presidency.
Trump’s election to the presidency is an assault on pure human decency, a White outlash to a changing, multifarious America, and above all confirms that America is still very racist.
The nation has spoken, and it decided to “make America great again” by electing hate.
A whooping 58% of White voters supported Trump while just 37% backed Clinton according to the Edison Research for ABC News, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC. According to CBS News, Clinton won 88% of the Black vote. That’s slightly lower than Obama’s 93% vote four years ago. In particular, she garnered support from 93% of Black women voters, but just 80% of Black men voters. Trump appeared to cash in on poor rural White voters while Clinton held down urban Whites with more education.
Oddly enough, even people who believed Trump was unfit to be president voted for him. Eighteen percent of those same people voted for him, according to exit polls. Just off the hills of our first Black president, America has opted to be on the wrong side of history.
Throughout the campaign trail, Trump secured voters with a polarizing strategy that incited racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia. His crass remarks were welcomed with cheers from his supporters, even leading them to yell, “Lock her up!” in regards to Clinton or “Lynch the n**ers!” in reference to Obama and Black supporters at rallies. This overt racism is more palpable now that Trump has been elected to the U.S. presidency.
As an openly gay, Black man, this disturbs me. I’ve learned to survive and “make it” independent of who holds office, but Trump has set a tone and precedent of blatant disrespect and a certain carelessness around bigotry that is not only tolerated, but encouraged because it gets you elected. Trump may have the presidency, but he hasn’t won my fear.
My parents reminded me that we as Black people have endured a hell of a lot worst than Trump. Nixon got elected to the presidency carrying out the same Southern strategy of appealing to racist Whites. It’s widely known that Nixon’s “War on Drugs” was in essence a war on Black people. Reagan’s complacency with the AIDS epidemic was in effect a war on gay men. And now Trump’s presidency is a war on everyone’s humanity, but it’s certainly not the end.
The mere fact that Black people and marginalized communities at large are still here speaks to our collective resiliency. Yes, Trump holds the presidency, but he doesn’t have to hold our hearts and activism. Democracy exists for the sake of the people; people don’t exist for the sake of democracy.
There is a robust history of citizens not accepting what’s dealt to them from their government. The Civil Rights Movement of the 60s forced the government to grant racial equality. The Women’s Suffrage Movement pushed women’s equality into the national spotlight. After Iceland’s banking crisis, the citizens overthrew their government and rewrote their constitution.
Trump’s election to presidency is just a reminder of the racist times we still live in today, and that our work isn’t done. His election is White America’s last ditch attempt to sustain racism.
So, yes cry today and express outrage; it’s still fresh. But if there’s one thing I know, we as Black people are gonna be alright because historically and currently, the latter was never an option for us.
Terrence Chappell is a Chicago-based writer. He covers an array of topics ranging from social justice to more brain candy content such as pop culture and infotainment. When he isn’t writing, Terrence works as a social media manager at Burrell Communications.