Hatred has won. Violence is the new means of communication. We have gone from a political correctness which masked racism and ethnic discrimination to a full blown demonstration of revenge for the years in which people of color strived to hold this country accountable for concepts like equality, justice and respect for diversity. Rather than focus upward toward the 1 percent responsible for the growing wealth gap which benefits them, white America (and come on, I’m speaking about ontological whiteness and not skin pigmentation as I know several black and Latinx folk who are white) believed their representatives that the real threat was those historically disenfranchised. Make America great again became code language for suppressing the advancement and votes of nonwhites in the belief that white supremacy would lead to greater privilege.
I keep hearing racism was not a primary motivation for whites casting votes for Trump, that said votes came from “forgotten Americans” economically struggling — but I reject such analysis. Causes are not simple either/or; they felt forgotten because they believed those damn Mexicans were taking their jobs and, thanks to affirmative actions, underserving black welfare moms and young bucks on welfare were draining the system. Every vote casted for a man who called Mexicans drug smugglers, criminals and racists; every vote cast for a man who believed judges with Latinx ancestry cannot be objective; every vote cast for a man calling for a religious test to exclude Muslims; every vote for a man who refuses to recognize black lives matter; was a vote for racism using economics as an excuse. And the consequences of that vote became obvious within 24 hours of the election. Mark Potok, of the Southern Poverty Law Center (which tracks hate crimes), is “seeing a rash of hate crimes, of hate rhetoric, racist graffiti in campuses around the country. We have seen [Ku Klux] Klan literature drops, we have seen that suicide hotlines are ringing off the hook, and we are hearing of very extensive bullying in and around schools.”
TrumpNation means hatred towards Muslims: A San Diego State University woman was confronted by two white men commenting about Trump and Muslims, according to SDSU police. According to SDSU President Elliot Hirshman, “Comments made to the student indicate she was targeted because of her Muslim faith, including her wearing of a traditional garment and hijab.” TrumpNation means hatred toward Latinxs: Children (hatred is taught early) from Royal Oak Middle School in Michigan chanted in the cafeteria: “Build the wall! Build the wall!” The school’s superintendent, Shawn Lewis-Lakin, has confirmed the incident.
TrumpNation means hatred toward blacks: On busy intersections in Durham, N.C., the phrase “Black lives don’t matter and neither does your vote” was spray-painted on two walls. At least the latter part of the phrase rings true when we consider how white Republicans knowingly suppressed the votes of people of color (a phenomena not limited to North Carolina). TrumpNation means hatred toward Jews: On the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Philadelphia police reported several incidents in which walls and vehicles were defaced. On the main city throughway, Broad Street, graffiti appeared with phrases like: “Sieg Heil 2016,” and a swastika substituted for the T in Trump. TrumpNation means hatred toward the LGBTQ community: A transgender veteran from Cookeville, Tenn., had her truck vandalized with graffiti with the word “Trump” then set on fire.
So many incidents have occurred in the first 48 hours of TrumpNation I lack the space to document all the unfolding hate crimes. Suffice to say that in North Carolina, KKK groups are planning to hold a victory parade to celebrate the election of Trump. And what is truly telling is the deafening silence from the president-elect repudiating these incidents and chastising perpetrators of violence. As I have mentioned, for whites who voted against Trump, they just lost an election. For the rest of us, our livelihood and lives are threatened.
What all these white perpetrators of hatred have in common is a social context which disdains the educated, labeling them elitists, while embracing falsehoods and conspiracies (look no further than the appointment of Stephen Bannon, CEO of Breitbart, as chief strategist and senior counselor of the Trump administration). Rather than politicians, journalists and religious leaders arising to guide those choosing death, many “leaders” instead perform to the crassest stereotypes so as to incite fear in exchange for support, popularity or increased personal revenue, as demonstrated by Trump throughout his 2016 presidential race.
Yes, we can dismiss those perpetrating hate crimes within hours of the election as ignoramuses, but the fingerprints of the president-elect, along with all those responsible for stroking fear, are also all over these incidents. Fear and hatred are powerful manipulative tools by which to lead those seeking simplistic answers. The hopelessness facing our society is rooted in our recurring amnesia concerning issues of racism and ethnic discrimination always ready to reemerge as we are currently witnessing.
The real question is not how a politician like Trump, through the use of not so well coded racist language, was able to capture the presidency, but how he was able to amass a following which brought him to the White House. Trump’s political rise is incongruent with the hopeful American narrative that our best days lie ahead (voiced by both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats). Trump cements for us the political hopelessness of the future. Such hopelessness is evident in the 2015 public’s response to the arrest of an undocumented immigrant who murdered, in a random shooting, a white woman in San Francisco. Immediately, the case became fodder in the immigration debate vindicating Trump racist chants, proving that the murderous acts of one undocumented immigrant proves all Mexican immigrants are criminals.
The predominance of this type of logic means we no longer need to feign public outrage when the next hate crime occurs. A clear indication we are at the threshold of a new age of ignorance is the simplistic dualism created by religious leaders — specifically evangelicals — committed to a salvation history separating heretics from believers, the saved from the damned. Ages of ignorance, which contributed in the spiritual formation of both Trump and those engage in hate crimes, occur when evangelicals participate in demonizing their Others as they did with Obama and Clinton, or when they maintain that Jews, or more recently Muslims, or anyone else who rejects “their” particular Christian orthodoxy, is destined for the flames of hell. History has shown such xenophobic Christian views have been the root cause of so much of global genocide.
Eighty-one percent of evangelicals voted for Trump, demonstrating their allegiance not with what they once hypocritically called “family values,” but with hatred toward families of color and queer families. For every hate crime committed, evangelicals are also complicit for providing centuries of spiritual justification to hatred. In TrumpNation, every Latinx child left orphaned, every black person whose vote is suppressed, ever queer person denied the ability to make a living, every woman who lives in fear of sexual predators — evangelicals are responsible. The Jesus they call me to follow is the Jesus of Trump. This, as my friend James Cone reminds me, is the satanic white Jesus.
So, as for me and my house, I refuse to walk with this satanic white Jesus and commit to pray for those who claim him in the hopes one day they might get saved.