How Trump Being Elected Pushes Us to Fight
On January 20, 2009, much of the nation rejoiced because a new leader had emerged, promising change and infecting our land and spirits with optimism—President Barack Obama.
Now, eight years later, the unimaginable has happened with the election of a man who is ignorant to politics, diversity, human rights, and the plight of many Americans. Now, after eight impressive years, we’ve gone from hope to presumed darkness.
On November 9, 2016, after learning that Trump had won more electoral votes than Hillary, I’m sure the question in many people’s minds was, “Damn America, how could you let this happen???”
Well, this is how it happened.
Our doubt and lack of involvement of and in government—coupled with intolerance, resentment, and division—led to Donald J. Trump being elected the 45th President of the United States. I, too, was very disappointed in the results, but as a public servant and believer in the people, I’ve been able to see the brighter side of this whack ass presidency. It is one that spurs a significant growth opportunity for us all, and one that I believe will truly “make America great again.” I must warn you that I may piss some people off midway through this article, but don’t worry. I’m coming back around to rally the troops!
We have taken the sacrifices and hardships of our ancestors for granted. Their fight for our right to vote, to live freely, to be educated, and other freedoms afforded to “Americans” through the Constitution has almost been sought in vain. Somewhere along the way, Black people started to feel entitled. People thought that the buck stopped at the Civil Rights Movement and unfortunately, we got comfortable. Many thought that because a lot of people died for us to be “included” and “acknowledged,” or because some “felt bad” about slavery and Jim Crow, that everything would be fair going forward. Wrong.
The Constitution wasn’t drafted to include or protect us and it still isn’t. Years later, the system has simply evolved and found more abstract and intricate ways to keep us in our place, allowing us to “think” that we enjoy the same freedoms as “all Americans.”
To make matters worse, we don’t vote but complain about the lack of representation and inequality in the country. We don’t take advantage of or advocate for better educational and career opportunities, but complain about the achievement gap. What’s sad and most damning is the fact that we have become so complacent in existing in a system of oppression that we just take what we’re given. So here we are now, living in some of the worst conditions: crime and poverty-ridden communities with poor educational options, economic ruin, and vanishing family structures. Y’all, we had one job—to continue the legacy and work of the freedom fighters that came before us and…We. Have. Failed!
Last year, we all watched the campaign and heard what Donald Trump and his administration said they’d do and not do—which pretty much boils down to undoing the progress we’ve made, which will set people of color back a good 100 years. So now that these “freedoms” have been threatened by Trump’s administration, we’ll have to fight for them. And I guarantee you that there will indeed be a struggle. However, through this fight we will build character, grit, humility, pride, stronger communities, cultural understanding, unity and so much more…and that, my friends, is the beauty of it all!
The truth is that we needed a social justice rejuvenation! We need to embrace, embody and enforce the power that our ancestors once exhibited—the power that is embedded in our history and our spirits!
The days ahead may seem bleak. And we can cry and ask the higher power why we’ve been cursed with however many days of leadership from a very ignorant man who has all the money in the world, but can’t seem to get his tan or wig quite right. But it doesn’t matter because God doesn’t make mistakes. We needed this wake up call. And this is just another learning and growth period in the Book of Life and American history. So allow it to be an opportunity to make our ancestors proud and secure a brighter future for our children and their children! So in the words of the late, great Curtis Mayfield, “People, get ready,” because the change is coming!
Tanesha Peeples is lifelong resident of Chicago, IL and proud Englewoodian. She is an entrepreneur and public servant whose passion and mission are to uplift communities that have been marginalized through inequality and inequity. It is her hope that all Americans have access their ideal quality of life.