Dom's Blog

  • 1 Year, 151 Days...

    It has been one year and a hundred fifty one days since Donald Trump became President of The United States and well...kind of a lot has happened. I’ve been interrogating it. I have been driven to madness and then numbness and then back to madness since the kleptocratic narcissist was sworn in and have tried to keep my thoughts about him mostly to myself. This is not about being reticent to have the necessary conversations. It has been about the feeling that it doesn’t really matter what  I think about him. I didn’t vote for him. A whole lot of folks didn’t. But a whole lot of folks did and they knew what they were doing. I don’t buy into the idea that people were hoodwinked nor do I accept the supposition that his presidency is some cosmic accident. Some terrible incomprehensible fluke. Nah. This is the story of America. This is the country revealing itself. I’m not confused. Donald Trump is possible because America the “Beautiful” is not. But whatever. I’m a black girl. I grew up here. My family’s legacy in the Civil Rights Movement taught me everything I needed to know about this country’s “promise.” 

    I am not writing this to overstate the obvious. I am writing this as an exercise in record keeping. See, I am predisposed to disassociation. I’m prolific at it in fact.  My brain is wired to delete. To disremember. It’s how I survived childhood. But I am 44 years old now; three of my four kids are grown, and I am interested in integrating the things that have happened so that I do not fall into the same kind of apathy and historical amnesia that dogs our country. So let’s get started shall we? 

    Donald Trump, reality tv star, real estate mogul, self proclaimed ladies’ man, fervent supporter of the death penalty for five black and brown boys in the Central Park jogger case that rocked New York, despite DNA evidence exonerating them, began his political career with a theory: America’s first African American President was not born in the United States. Sounds pedestrian and imbecilic until you remember that othering the “other” is effective strategy in a country founded on genocidal policies and racism. 

    He gains a lot of traction suggesting Obama is secretly Muslim and keeps that same energy as lead up to formally announcing his candidacy. It works. Scared white folks loved him. He was going to restore America to her rightful owners and in so doing, make her “great again.”  But first he had to let everyone who opposed him know he was not above a low blow. 

    You know, like making fun of a disabled journalist. That was a trip. What was even more trippy was watching his supporters proclaim that that behavior was not a deal breaker. Ok America do your dance. I see you. I should have known right then. But I rested on the idea that you can’t do that kind of shit and ascend to the presidency. I was wrong (obviously). 

    It was a freak show. A smorgasbord of dog whistles to white nationalists and evangelicals who were downright giddy to hear the billionaire describe Mexican immigrants as “bad hombres” and suggest that they are all rapists bringing drugs and crime. Positively giddy do you hear me, to listen to Donald Trump talk about Hillary Clinton’s emails and her husband’s philandering and Obama’s culpability in creating ISIS (you know, because he’s secretly Muslim) and I STILL thought: No way. No way folks are going to elect this unpolished undignified unqualified ahistorical twit. By the way this is not me caping for Obama. He was the drone president. I have too many friends in Palestine to romanticize his legacy. (But at any rate, I was wrong...obviously). 

    Then we had him suggesting that TV journalist Megyn Kelly (who I do not love) must have been on her period for being so hard on him during a debate. 

    Whatever. That’s a go-to diss by all fuckboys. I was unsurprised that he said it. I was however, surprised that it meant nothing to his base (53% of whom were white women and if Megyn Kelly is nothing else she is definitely a white woman.) Didn’t matter. He got elected. Donald Trump, the man who had held no public office, the man who told his supporters at his campaign rallies to “punch the shit” out of protestors saying he would pay the legal fees if they did so...the man who led chants of “Build that wall!” and told everyone Mexico would pay for that wall (though Mexico was quite clear that they would not do so) became president.

    And that’s when shit got ill. 

    My brain can’t retain all of the many many things that transpired immediately following Trump’s election. I do remember the Women’s March against him...

    And the many many protests across the country and around the world...I remember that...

    On and on...folks poured into the streets in refusal to accept the outcome...

    New York, California, Seattle, Colorado, on and on...

    On and on...protestors from everywhere...

    And what does a narcissist do when faced with opposition? They show you who they are. If they’re Donald Trump they institute an illegal Muslim ban...

    Again, my mind goes blank trying to catalogue all of the things that have happened since Trump got elected. I don’t want to talk about his firing of the Attorney General or the FBI Director or how his campaign advisors have been indicted for federal crimes. 

    I do want you to remember that when White Supremacists marched in Charlottesville and a woman was murdered and many protestors were beaten and injured, Donald Trump referred to the white nationalists as “fine people.” I do want you to remember that. 

    I do want you to integrate these images into your memory...

    And this...

    I do want you to have to live with the fact of what happened that day...and every day since. 

    Why? Because its cyclical. Because Trump reveals himself and there are folks who still seem to be uncertain about whether or not he’s actually racist or just placating a racist base. Kids, if I am appealing to racists and passing legislation that makes racists and xenophobes happy, I am performing from racism and am therefore racist. See? The math is simple. Trump is every bit the madman Hitler was. I realize some will regard that as a seismic statement. But where’s the lie? Trump referred to African countries as “shitholes.” Trump said Africans should “go back to their huts.” Trump tried to institute a ban on Muslims. Trump claims White Nationalists are “fine people.” Trump put out a full page ad in the New York Times BEFORE he was President Trump with no racist base to placate, calling for the deaths of five innocent teenage boys of color. And, today, right now, as I type this, there are children being held in cages in makeshift shelters in Texas. Children who have been forcibly separated from their parents and detained because the Trump administration says it has a “zero tolerance policy on illegal immigration.” I won’t go through the deeply ironic and hypocritical components of this policy. I won’t waste your time discussing how Americans are not in a position to ascribe that language to ANYBODY unless they first restore land rights to the indigenous people they stole this country from; the diasporic African Americans who are the ascendants of two hundred years of chattel slavery in this country. If those points don’t feel relevant to you, you’re too stupid a person for me to speak to. You can log off now.

    I have heard a great many people say over the last several days that separating children from their parents isn’t American. But if you are honest, if you are a wise student of history, you know that it is precisely American. (See auction blocks. See internment camps. See Wounded Knee.) There are infants and toddlers being warehoused in Texas right now crying for their mothers. There are mothers and fathers being detained right now, ones who came to legal ports of entry seeking asylum, who don’t know where their children are. More than 2000 children...

    Herded like cattle into cages and “tender age shelters”...

    I think it is important that we confront the kind of terror and mind altering trauma these kids have suffered being wrenched away from their families. I want you to know that this is precisely America. This is how the “dream” happened. It happened via genocide, mass graves, slavery, internment, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, economic disparities, smart bombing, war mongering, colonization, and reservations. Standing Rock was not an anomaly and neither is this. I woke up this morning knowing my spirit can’t survive this country. I woke up this morning seeing the excruciating images of babies in cages and the weight of it in my body feels like war. America has been a democracy in crisis since its inception. It has performed itself on the bones and backs of people of color for centuries. It declares these things policy, law, manifest destiny. It insists on our compliance. It assures us that this is the way it has to be. And I can’t act like I don’t know what I know. I can no more unsee these babies in cages than I can unsee my Guinean great great grandmother on an auction block being sold to the highest bidder. I’m still black. Still woman. Still awake. Still long-memoried. Which is to say, America, you have made of me a wolf. And now I’m hungry. I remember everything. Get ready. 

    Dominique Christina

    June 20, 2018