In every oppressive society, there are the seeds and signs of its own self-problematizing and self-destruction. It makes problems for itself by its hypocritical, dishonest, and oppressive practices. And it becomes self-destructive in that it produces unresolvable contradictions which divide it against itself and signal it can no longer exist in its current form. Aimé Césaire, author, poet and political leader, is correct when he says, “A civilization (or society) that proves itself incapable of solving the problems it creates is a decadent civilization. A civilization that chooses to close its eyes to its most crucial problems is a stricken civilization. (And) A civilization that uses its principles for trickery and deceit is a dying civilization.” The White ruling race/class has proved it cannot solve the problems it has created. It has chosen to close its eyes to its most critical problems of race, class, gender and other oppressions and it has reduced itself to using its highest principles for trickery, deceit and self-deception.
Moreover, the society as a whole, refuses to make a serious self-assessment and real steps toward the radical transformative change needed. Now they are confronted with their monster side in the form of Trump and they are showing belated signs of more urgent concerns about democracy, their international image, and a devastating pandemic raging out of control while Trump lets thousands more die daily.
So, it is difficult to understand or empathize with White people who are now opening and assertively agonizing, and moaning and groaning about Donald Trump’s refusal to admit defeat. Not to mention, his refusal for two weeks to allow President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris access to the office space, the funding and briefings which they are due and which are necessary to prepare for dealing with this pandemic and the resulting health crisis and economic devastation in a timely and appropriate manner. Their newly minted expressions of shock are difficult to discern or digest as real. And whether they want to admit it or not, Trump worked his DNA-directed White magic and carnival mirrors on more Whites than just his cultic followers.
He sprinkled out some racist populist powder, made some ritually racist signs and sounds, blew some smoke in some racially receptive eyes, threw some Viking runes around, and produced carnival mirrors of society and humanity that distorted reality and reduced reasoning to grievance, hatred and hostility. Thus, he made too many Whites feel he was the great White hope for racial relief instead of the small-minded devilish demagogue and hustler he actually is. Indeed, Trump has not changed an iota from the time of his campaign until now. And to be shocked by his infantile and outrageous antics in this period of his life and humiliating loss, seems disingenuous and self-deceptive.
It is the proverbial wisdom of our ancestors that if you know the beginning well, the end will not trouble you. That is to say, the outcome will not confuse or shock you. Afterall, it’s not as if he were not always, from day one, a clear and present danger to democracy, to people of color, Muslims, immigrants, environment, world peace, and the planet itself. And it’s not as if he didn’t tell the country and the world ahead of time that he felt no obligations to accept the results of the election unless he won. Having lost, he doesn’t and now, here we are.
In spite of all reports of his being born in the midst of money and his photoshopping and faking millions of his own, Donald Trump is a hustler at heart, a petty manipulator in the shallow contours of his troubled mind and a duly elected dictator in the dense forests of his favorite fantasies. For him, the whole world is a hustle, a collective gullible mark to be conned and fleeced. And the White House is turned into a kind of pimp palace where he engages in shameless hustling and meetings are held and decisions and deals are made with people around the world for his own businesses and benefit. Meanwhile, the business of state and the welfare of the people are parceled out, between golf games, to moral cowards, professional incompetents, self-named suckers and sycophants whose service is dedicated to Trump, not to God, people or country.
News break for all the Trump supporting evangelicals and Bible-thumping Christians who support and who voted for him in general, there’s not a religious vein or artery in his heart or a God-fearing bone in his orange-colored body. The bizarre photo-op trip to a church to hold up a bible upside down, after using soldiers and police to clear a path for him over the bodies and rights of peaceful protesters, is a glaring sun bright sign for those who want to see. And believe it, oh ye of too little rightful faith, whatever Trumps is, White America has made him. And they must accept primary responsibility for him. Indeed, as their own sacred text says, “They have sown the wind and now reap the whirlwind.” They elected him; they nurtured him; made him a daily news item; explained away his asininity, vulgarity and viciousness, and “normalized” his lying as a way of life with light criticism, much latitude, laughter and hypocritical amazement. They also explained away and even justified the racist, xenophobic and narrow-minded grievances of his followers without adequate challenge and they did beer-lite criticism of his cronies in Congress, especially McConnell and others in the Senate, who held and cleaned his dirty hands, but not his mouth; who carried and drank his septic water, and supported his madness and meanness at every level, actively or in immoral silent assent. And they chalked it all up as their political concern for re-election, regardless of the moral and social concerns and issues and the awesome suffering involved.
Moreover, it is White people, the overwhelming majority of the 73 million, who voted to give him four more years to hustle, pimp and plunder, in spite of his refusal to offer a national strategy to save the people from a pandemic that has caused 12.2 million infections and 255,000 deaths. Also, he has failed to address the economic suffering of the people and the collapse of businesses and to issue another desperately needed stimulus check. So, why the surprise now that this man/boy, interrupted in his fantasies of making all Americans his followers and fans, including Black people, refuses to concede his defeat and still might have to be removed physically from the White House?
Clearly, it is on us, Black people, as a key moral and social vanguard, to be in the forefront of the collective progressive and radical efforts and struggles to achieve the country’s recovery from the pandemic of Covid-19 and the pathology of oppression. Indeed, we must be an ever-upraised light in the midst of the nightmare and madness that surrounds us as a people and this country and threatens the world. We must break the Trumpian White magic hold on White Americans’ minds and shatter his carnival mirrors of illusions and lies about us, people of color, the world, and White people themselves. This must be done with a new educational initiative to open and re-form the racistly deformed mind, political and legal restraint to contain and halt systemic and vigilante violence, and righteous and relentless struggle to transform the entire system. And this means conceiving and creating radically new and more humane and human ways to relate, solve social problems, and improve the conditions of life and the possibilities of achieving expansive and enduring human good and the ongoing well-being of the world.
Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor and Chair of Africana Studies, California State University-Long Beach; Executive Director, African American Cultural Center (Us); Creator of Kwanzaa; and author of Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture and Essays on Struggle: Position and Analysis, www.AfricanAmericanCulturalCenter-LA.org; www.OfficialKwanzaaWebsite.org; www.MaulanaKarenga.org.