At the progressive news website Counterpunch, Oakland-based poet Ishmael Reed has some words of tentative and much-needed consolation regarding the election of Donald Trump as US president. While Reed writes without illusions about the dangerous racist forces that swept Trump to office, he also asserts that they spring from a segment of US society that is dwindling in size and influence. As Reed writes, “This is a temporary setback as our country moves toward a more inclusive society. The cheer shouted by [Trump’s] followers is in reality the last groan of White nationalism.” Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
Though White nationalism has millions of followers, it is essentially a death cult and Trump’s most prominent constituency has the highest suicide rate among all ethnic groups. Maybe that’s why they voted for a man who promises to fling H-bombs about and is a global warming denier even though some scientists say that we are approaching the point of no return for doing something about climate change. For the rest of us, White, Black, Yellow, Brown and Native American, living under a White supremacist government is like being tethered to a suicide bomber…
On the morning after the election, I got a call from Al Young, former Poet Laureate of California. He said that the election of Trump had made him sick, physically. I called David Murray, the great saxophonist, in connection with an article I was completing. He said he couldn’t talk because he had to call his son, who had voted for the first time and was upset. My daughter Tennessee announced that she is going to learn French and move to France. I told David to tell him and I would tell her that Blacks have survived presidents who owned slaves and slave traffickers like Alexander Hamilton. They survived the massacres of those who tried to exercise their constitutional rights during Reconstruction. Blacks survived Reagan and Nixon and Woodrow Wilson and will survive this. Islamophobia? Muslims slaves practiced their faith under horrible conditions and participated in hundreds of revolts on slave ships. What Steven Spielberg left out of “Amistad” is that the Senegalese on the ship Amistad were Muslims who could read and write. Muslims ain’t going nowhere. Trump, who retweets information from Neo-Nazi websites and Holocaust deniers and gave a thumbs-up to a lie that had Blacks committing 80% of crimes against White people doesn’t know this history. He said that if it were up to him, he would have kept up an Anti-Semitic poster that featured the Star of David, and ended his campaign with an anti-Semitic ad. President Elect Trump doesn’t know that all that’s left of some anti-Semitic civilizations are some pieces of pottery that archeologists find from time to time. Jewish Americans survived Grant and Bush 1.They will survive. No matter how high the wall, Mexicans will continue to reclaim their lost territories, the Southwest that was robbed from them by slaveholder James Polk. They will continue to arrive.
This is a temporary setback as our country moves toward a more inclusive society. The cheer shouted by his followers is in reality the last groan of White nationalism. Like that of a dying horse on the way to the glue factory.
Image: Oakland poet Ishmael Reed.