So those of y’all who’ve been paying attention and know me by my government name, not my incognegro name, know how I’ve written many times throughout the years about my complicated relationship with POTUS44. I love his swag, eloquence, elegance, and diplomatic skills which he has displayed on many awkward occasions. I love his brilliant mind and his graciousness in the face of flagrant disrespect to the Office of the President not to mention the most virulent, racist attacks on his person, that of his wife (my beloved FLOTUS44), and even his adorable young daughters.
But for all of my pride in Obama’s accomplishments (particularly the inspirational/aspirational symbolism—for children of color—of his ascendancy to the highest political office in the land), the fact remains that any president of the United States is ultimately an Agent of the State. And despite our miseducation by the American public and private school systems, it remains an easily verified fact that the United States is a State founded and perpetuated in infamy by:
- The systematic genocide of Native Americans, a crime exacerbated by the United States’ ongoing lack of integrity in honoring its 500 treaties with Native nations, not to mention its continued assault on sacred Native lands
- Its kidnapping, enslavement, acculturation (deprivation of their names, language, religious and cultural customs), and miseducation of Africans compounded by the lack of reparations to the descendants of those enslaved Africans who have never economically recovered for reasons well-documented. (Ironically, reparations to former slave owners were provided). These same descendants of enslaved Africans face state-sponsored genocide and domestic terrorism to this day
- Its mistreatment and massacre of Chinese immigrants who worked the coal mines and built the Transcontinental railroad
- Its internment, which is a polite term for the racist incarceration, of Japanese Americans during World War II
- Its historical and ongoing racist immigration policies that give preference to European immigrants over immigrants of color
- Its historical and ongoing incarceration and execution of children, which was only declared unconstitutional in 2005, the historical exploitative child labor practices, and the sexual trafficking of minors
- Its historical abuse of women through the allowance of marital rape, denial of the right to vote, a persistent gender-based wage gap, and the ongoing assault on women’s rights
- Its historical mistreatment of Vietnam veterans and the ongoing lack of care for our nation’s veterans
As president of the United States, I hated Obama’s imperialist expansion of the American empire through eight years of war on brown and black countries, which is also an indictment on America’s white supremacist doctrine. Further, it is an illustration of how even people of color can perpetuate white supremacy. I also hated President Obama’s massive deportation policies, his killing of civilians and American citizens through drones, his baffling environmental record, his condescension and respectability politicking to Black folk many of whom still face rampant unemployment compared to other racial groups or never regained the wealth-via-home-ownership lost during the Great Recession. While the Obama Administration’s policies didn’t cause the Great Recession and while his leadership eventually steered us through the Great Recession, I am not enamored of the fact that Obama and Congress bailed out Wall Street and left Main Street behind including millions of students who may never achieve the American Dream due to crippling student debt.
Still, while I clearly had issues with many of Obama’s policies, I found myself growing more and more nostalgic the closer we got to Cheeto Satan’s inauguration. I told myself, as American presidents go, Obama was a good president. I waxed nostalgic with friends and family about the Obama family’s tight-knit unity. I laughed over many Michelle Obama memes, and found hilarity with the coldness between Cheeto Satan and his Unfortunate Bride compared to the emotional warmth and intimacy between Barack and Michelle Obama, which I think is best illustrated through the image on this post. See how there is no space between them and how comfortably she rests her arm on his legs with affection and familiarity? Do you see the way he looks at her? Every person wants a partner who gazes at them adoringly when they aren’t even aware of it.
As we led up to the transfer of power from the Obama Administration to Cheeto Satan’s Administration, I took a break from social media to just feel my feelings. Slowly, like the proverbial groundhog, I reappeared and began to talk to trusted social media acquaintances. We snarked and were petty about the awkwardness of the Trumps’ First Dance, the sparse attendance at Cheeto Satan’s inauguration, his exclusion of LGBTQ people from his inaugural speech, the disappearance of the LGBT, Civil Rights, and Climate Change pages from the whitehouse.gov website (which, to be fair, wasn’t caused by Trump’s team taking them down but rather their lack of preparedness in having those pages ready to launch—assuming they even care about those issues—at the time of the changeover of the whitehouse.gov website).
Then while we were having a merry old time lambasting the new
Supreme Ruler’s gaslighting tactics, the conversation turned to the Women’s March that was scheduled the next day. We talked about who was going, who was sitting it out, and why. I had decided not to attend because I knew the messy history of the Women’s March on Washington. I knew how it started out by excluding women of color from its organizing committee, I knew how The Beckies added women of color as an after thought then promptly set to appropriating the name of a women’s march organized by Black women in the 90s. The Beckies continued their beckying by accusing the women of color organizers of being divisive because they called out The Beckies’ cultural appropriation and because the women of color decentered whiteness by wanting to see issues affecting their communities added to the platform. Some of the women of color organizers stepped down and were honest about their decision to do so. Even through the ensuing backlash and negative publicity, The Beckies continued their beckying by attempting to silence and shame the organizers who stepped down and spoke out. I had enough. I decided I wasn’t having it.
I’m of the mindset anyway that marches as a protest tactic, while they feel good, are no longer effective at affecting change. I’m of the mindset that organized and sustained grassroots local action is the best way to affect change. Luckily, I’m connected to a group of brilliant men and women via social media, and one of them was kind enough to recommend The Indivisible Guide. Now the thing to understand about The Indivisible Guide is even though it claims to be a treatise on how to take down Trump, you really shouldn’t regard it as such for the simple reason that Trump’s thinking defies logic and common decency.
You can’t fight Trump using standard tactics that rely upon logic and common decency. You have to use guerilla tactics. Street rules apply. Sucker punching is allowed. Most of all ridicule and mocking are his napalm. I’ve always had a strong bent toward justice. As a child, I hated seeing smaller and weaker kids being picked on, so I specialized in beating up bullies. And what I’ve come to understand about bullies like Trump, is ultimately they are cowards with low self-esteem who cannot stand up to the same sort of abuse they mete out. To return to my point, you should think of The Indivisible Guide as a primer on how to affect change at the Congressional level. That is where I believe we need to focus our efforts if we are to overturn the Republican stranglehold on Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.
The 2017 Women’s March on Washington certainly gave me feel-good moments seeing all those women (and men!) who were white, black, Asian, Latina, Native American, Middle Eastern, and other ethnicities come together in unity and sisterhood while standing up for women’s rights and giving Trump the middle finger. (Long live Resistance Auntie!) However, today is a new day and I’m pondering whether yesterday’s feel-good moment with that sea of pink pussyhats will be all for naught. And it will be all for naught if it doesn’t affect change. I’m also wondering, are we clear on the change we want? Do we have an inclusive, realistic, actionable agenda? Have we learned to put aside our differences as progressives, liberals, independents, and radicals to come together and defeat Trump 2020? Most importantly, as Toni Cade Bambara famously asked in The Salt Eaters, are we sure we want to be well?
(Image from left, President and Mrs. Obama, Women’s March Co-founders Teresa Shook and Bob Bland, and Cheeto Satan)