A glorious time is upon us. Trump's reign is over, and the democrats have taken congress. However, the air is still tense. I feel no respite. Coronavirus still kills in record numbers, and now the very democracy that this nation prides itself on is fading before us. On January 6th, rioters, emboldened and drunk off of Trump’s unfounded claims of electoral fraud, stormed the Capitol. When I woke up and heard that "protesters" had penetrated the Capitol building to harass Congress I thought, “Oh, America as usual.” Little did I know that people would die, crushed or beaten to death, or that the rioters’ true goal was to subvert our institutions.
As you may have already inferred, I blame President Trump. He set a dangerous precedent of permitting xenophobic violence that dates all the way back to the racists he refused to condemn in Charlottesville, VA. When Trump told the Proud Boys, “Stand back and Stand by,” that was not a plea to the people for hostility to end, but a command from a general instructing them to wait for a better opportunity to strike. Let’s consider the alternative possibility that he never meant for the insurrection to erupt, and the perceived connection between these two events is actually a horrific coincidence. Even so, the fact that the possible explanations for the correlation are between the choices of malice-driven sabotage and destructive levels of poor foresight demonstrates the direness of our situation. This is exactly what those who feared a Trump administration realized from the beginning.
Do not mistake my indictment against Trump as a redirection of responsibility from the prime culprit, America itself. The United States built a marketing campaign that worked so well, it deluded itself. Lost in the sauce of the power of its institutions, the government believed that their democracy would ensure a person of upstanding repute, but instead obtained a despot. However, do not forget: our democracy worked. It did exactly what it was supposed to do, and we received Trump. Pretending that our democracy strayed from its intended purpose would be to delude yourself.
Our impregnable electoral system has revealed its flaws, and the whole political machine is tearing at the seams in response.
Our democracy and its acolytes all contributed to the crisis of legitimacy we are witnessing. The soldiers of government, our police as civil society names them, have kept “law and order,” but only as far as maintaining the status quo. We all knew our government was corrupt; the whole country just took time to notice the smell of its own bullsh*t. The Democratic party did a good enough job masquerading as our hope and savior from their Republican counterpart, but they represent the worst of white liberalism. There’s a cheap quality to the way Democrats speak about Black issues that is so reminiscent of white liberals. Black people are beginning to see that they are part of the same political game as most of the GOP. Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi are ring leaders to a political circus that is no longer enticing. Their desperate bids for votes are seen, and their hollow motives transparent to Black America.
This is a confusing time for Black America, but there were definite wins. We won Georgia her first Black senator. Donald Trump has been ousted. The Federal government looks sky blue, along with its states. Yet, our democratic experiment has never looked more brittle. We have survived this attempt at the Capitol, but what about the fire next time? Many regard this attempted coup as petulant and disorganized, but we shouldn’t underestimate how weak it made the U.S look. The image of “Viking man” sitting where Senator Pelosi would normally preside sends shockwaves down the spines of those who take pride in their American heritage.
Fire-and-brimstone aside, this marks a chaotic time for Black America, but one of great potential. We have shown America just how powerful we can be when we mobilize our efforts in unison. This newfound power translates into more than simply dollar signs, but also into bills and legislation. The bid for legislated reparations has never been more feasible, but then again, what use is money in a bankrupt nation?