We don’t have to accept leaders who hate us

President* Trump,

Yesterday I told you how surreal it feels to have the specter of armed civilians going after other civilians should you win (or lose) be a valid concern and not just overheated, fantastical catastrophizing. It really does seem totally out there most of the time, but then your Caputos say what they say, you say what you say, and your party either unblinkingly affirms the righteousness of the threats or pretends nothing of consequence was said. Plus, there’s the increased popcorn-ing of White vigilantes plowing their cars into peaceful protestors or shooting and injuring or killing them all over the country.

As such, this isn’t an isolated phenomenon that can be chalked up to a few crazy “bad apples.” Much like the systemic racism that infuses police departments across the country, entitled, freaked out, hateful White people who’ve grown up sipping (or gulping) White Supremacist Kool-aid are everywhere. For sure, most aren’t locking and loading their semi-automatic weapons or hunting Black people and realistically, it’s unlikely that all that many people will ever engage in such behavior. But complicity is a powerful driver and the more “likes” and “retweets,” and whatever the equivalent is on Facebook, of dehumanizing racist propaganda, the more likely it is that the popcorn-ing violence will escalate even as those “likers” and “retweeters” can maintain their innocence. It’s an incredibly ugly, and dangerous, self-perpetuating cycle of fear mongering, goading, and condoning of violence against BIPOC people. And it’s not a bug in they system – it’s by design.

This pernicious, evil cycle keeps millions of White men (and no small proportion of White women) enthralled with the idea that they deserve more than they are getting, that the reason they don’t have more than they do is that immigrants and BIPOC people are stealing their jobs and threatening their way of life, that the One who will save them will put those sub-humans in their places, and thus, that the One’s position of power needs to be defended to the death all the while the One is really focused on churning the country’s wealth up the pipeline and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the aggrieved White people he’s manipulating via their racism.

That might be the longest sentence I’ve ever written and you might have trouble parsing it (but the grammar check isn’t freaking out so apparently I did ok), but what do you think – did I get it about right? I can’t at all claim that I came up with this analysis by myself – lots of people have traced this historical (and contemporary) economics undergirding racism and it sure seems to be a reasonable way of understanding what’s going on. All of this is why those racist White “likers” and “retweeters” need to be confronted and called out, this is why the rest of us need to be connecting the dots for them and not giving them a pass. This is why we need to stay loud and insistent and why it isn’t enough that the armed assholes be disarmed – we need to root out the rot by facing it and reckoning with it.

Before I close, I want to say that the other supremely surreal thing currently is that the presidential race is at all close. After everything you’ve done to shatter the country and to put us in harm’s way, the fact that there are still millions and millions of people asking for more of same (but worse) is absolutely mindboggling. And heart breaking. How is it that so, so many of us are prepared to pledge our votes to you when you show us every single day, multiple times a day, that you have nothing but disdain for us? It’s like the child who continues to sidle up next to the bully who steals their lunch money and sucker punches them in the gut but somehow the attention is worth it. It’s so sad and so pathetic. And the stakes are so damn high.

May we be safe.
May we not forget how to be happy.
May we not forget that we are strong.
May we not forget that we don’t have to accept leadership that hates us.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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