I write this on November 2nd, less than a week before the presidential election. I choose to write this now for multiple reasons: 1) it’s becoming pretty clear who the next POTUS will be, and 2) I’m honestly afraid of what the consequences will be.
This evening in my Facebook Newsfeed, towards the bottom of the trending bar, was the label “Black Church Burned” (The Atlantic, 2016). Immediately I felt my stomach sink, and when I clicked on the link to learn more, I came across an Atlantic article that explained a Black church in Mississippi was devastatingly burned and vandalized with the words “VOTE TRUMP” on the side of the building. The headlines are upsetting, but the pictures are simply nauseating.
Before I get into my thoughts on this event, I’d like to first address that of any movement, whether progressive or not, I think there are extremists. There are individuals that do things out of the norm and go significantly farther than average members of the movement would agree with. Sometimes, these acts can be violent, and/or done by individuals with a mental disorder, or a whole host of unrelated issues. But, in the end, that movement informed their actions, and that needs to be considered. I do not know why this person did this, nor am I offering an excuse for this person – their actions should be outright condemned. However I think it is important, when we analyze this, to leave potential room for outliers/external factors.
The fact that this incident was done in the name of Trump speaks volumes about what Trump’s campaign has done. It has brought up a whole host of underlying feelings in America that are shocking and sickening to see. Videos of his rallies, shirts and Internet posts made by his supporters, political commentators on the news, other acts of vandalism and hate…there is overwhelming evidence that the most avid of Trump supporters are extremely angry at the current state of American politics. When considering all this evidence, all of this hate and anger, this incident may not be the case of an outlier. This person or group was informed by Trump’s politics, a presidential candidate. And that is scary to say.
What will be the consequences of this election? All of the political scientists who have visited our school this election season have all stated that they are not surprised that this has happened, and that Trump-ism is not going away any time soon. In fact, xenophobia and anti-establishment rhetoric appears to be a global phenomenon.
I think unfortunately, discrimination, fear, prejudice, and hate will continue for a while in American politics. What is terrifying to see though are acts of violence committed against marginalized communities that mimic the Jim Crow era. It makes all of us question, how far have we really come?
What do you think will happen post-election? How advanced are we from the Jim Crow era? What does “Make America Great Again” even mean?