2016-11-14 22


Dr. Joyce Watford, an Educator and a Descendant of America’s Slaves

November 14 and 19, 2016

Note:  FYI, the November 14, 2016, article was revised on November 19, 2016,

              which accounts for the two dates above.


                   OF CLASS AND RACE IN THE USA

A Coup d’Etat is a sudden, decisive exercise of force in politics, intended to overthrow or alter an existing government, by a small group of people (in Trump’s case, 19% of the people). This is what happened on Election night, November 9, 2016, when a small group of disfranchised people, mostly whites, feeling left behind and fed up with their/our government, which increasingly is being overrun and ruled by politicians driven by self-interests, corruption, wealth, greed, and Corporate America and a political system that has turned their/our democracy into an oligarchy for the service of the elite.

Partisan politics has long characterized our government which evolved as a two-party system. The names of the political parties have shifted and changed over time; however, the common names our generations are most familiar with are the Republican and Democratic Parties—the first being the conservative party and the latter, the liberal or progressive party.  There have always been tugs of contention between these two parties in how they approached the role of government and its relation to the country and its people.  With clear lines of distinction drawn between the two-party system, the people, once, could count on what to expect, given whichever party was in power at the time. The conservative party always represented the status quo and the majority of working class white people, while the liberal or progressive party represented change for the little people across class and race lines.  However, over time, and in our lifetime, especially over the last fifty years or so, after the second Civil Rights Revolution of the sixties, we have seen a blurring of the lines of distinction between the  two parties so that it has appeared for decades that neither party has cared about moving government in directions that benefited all the people and that addressed the intractable problems of class and race which keep us, as a nation, from realizing the “more perfect union” the founding fathers may have envisioned for the country.

After the Civil Rights Revolution of the sixties, the struggles of the little people (the non-elite) escalated and racism and classism became more entrenched, as our two-party system of government shifted its interest away from the problems on the ground—disrupting, interrupting, and diminishing the lives of the little people—to big business, wealth, greed, and the interests of the elite.  Corporations became so powerful that they began to overshadow the people and even gained human status, supplanting humans under laws granted them by Congress, Presidents, and the Supreme Court.   As corporations grew more powerful on the Hill, our democracy was stolen and transformed into an oligarchy, run and controlled by Corporate America. Our two-party system sold the American people out while its representatives saw politics and Washington as a place to go to become rich and powerful in serving themselves and Corporate America. Both political parties lost sight of their public and civic duties and service to the American people, in general, whom they regarded more and more as pawns to be exploited.

When our economy collapsed in 2007, at the end of President George W. Bush’s term, and threatened to take the country into its second Great Depression, at the same time that President Obama was coming into Office, the American people began to realize just how corrupt and self-serving our two-party political systems had become.  Not even one of the two parties had had the American people’s interests as its priority, beginning with the local and state levels of government all the way up to the federal level!

While our political parties were becoming just one party, in terms of interests and priorities, blacks lost their Civil rights and protections under the law, as historic, systemic Jim Crow and white supremacy practices against them continued to grow and evolve in unprecedented ways that took them back over a hundred years to times past, reminiscent of the Antebellum South—except, that now, in the 21st Century —the whole country became one big Antebellum South against blacks, due to regressive laws and politicians, supposedly representing both parties, but which had actually melted into one party, in terms of priorities and interests, dividing the country and the people.

Whites lost jobs and employment stability which, in the past, generations of whites had counted on for upward mobility and access to the American Dream. Many blamed their economic decline on the encroachment of blacks and other non-whites in the workplace, causing whites to hoard job opportunities, thus shutting blacks and other non-whites out of employment opportunities, except for those jobs at the bottom and below the standard living wages. Blacks were denied and deprived of equal employment opportunities and cut off from the traditional pursuit of the American Dream, by working class whites.

While class and race clashed at the bottom of the socio-economic well in the workplace, providing a distraction for white elites and Corporate America to steal the country, along with everybody’s rights, opportunities, freedoms, and American Dreams, the seeds of a second American Revolution were being sown and fertilized by disgruntled whites who felt that their economic mobility was being affected too by white elites and Corporate America. 

Eureka! The second American Revolution finally took root, grew, and matured, exposing a disaffected segment of Americans (the Silent Majority and the Silent Minority) who went to the polls on November 9, 2016, on Election Day, and elected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Their votes marked the second American Revolution in which disaffected, resentful white Americans rose up and overthrew their status quo government, an act comparable to the first American Revolution or Coup d’Etat, beginning with the Boston Tea Party when disaffected, resentful, and defiant white people rebelled against their Mother Country, overthrowing it and setting the stage for the War of Independence, the American Revolutionary War, which was an armed conflict between the Mother Country and the white colonists. The war lasted from 1775 to 1783.  Both the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolutionary War were political upheavals that sprang from the colonists’ rejection and defiance of British authority and aristocracy, which led them to overthrow British rule and found the United States of America in 1776. Similarly, the second American Revolution or Coup d’Etat against status quo politics and government and the Presidential election of Donald Trump was also an act of rejection and defiance, resulting in the overthrow of traditional party politics as we know it. Trump’s election as the 45th POTUSA is both historic and revolutionary, whose end we have not yet seen, when whites join together to commit revolutionary acts of rebellion against their/our government.  What we have witnessed in Trump’s Presidential election is something that appears to be a sweeping repudiation or putdown of traditional government as we have known it—equivalent to the beginning of  another American Revolution which hands over the Presidency of the USA to a novice—an event that has no historic parallel or precedence.  Many are still wondering how that can be.  It can be because there is surely another American revolution afoot that appears to be both serious and reckless—as much so as its predecessors—which is growing out of existential fear and desperation. Existential fear and desperation, simply stated, refers to how some whites, in this century, view and feel about their place in their country and in the world, which drove them to put someone in the White House in 2017 who told them that he could protect them against inevitable change and safeguard their concerns and interests by making “America great again” and by “taking back their country,” unlike what status quo Establishment politicians had done for decades, which left them feeling vulnerable, endangered, fearful, and desperate. Because a segment of whites believed Trump, they threw all caution to the wind, went to the polls, and elected him their 45th POTUSA.

However, for the records and for what it is worth, let us not overlook another crucial factor, resulting from the many Americans who chose not to vote on Election Day or who chose to go to the polls and throw their vote away by voting for some third, fourth, or fifth party candidate or individual write-ins who had no chance of winning, which inordinately helped the Trump Presidential election along.

Although the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the USA is both historic and revolutionary, there is also something about it that is both primitive and Darwinian, except that the Movement afoot is Anti-Darwinian. The second American Revolution, epitomized by the 2017 Presidential election of Donald Trump, has “in your face” primitive roots, reaching back to a time when life was the result of the survival of the fittest or Darwinism. Disaffected whites may feel that they are in a race for their life that can only end with the survival of the fittest—feelings which have kept (or, more recently, put) the country and all Americans in a very dark and dangerous place. No one, especially the disfranchised, can afford to take lightly the political coup that has just transpired. Already, we have seen our country become overnight a one party government, dominated and run by Republicans from the President-Elect to the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the states—a feat which can leave Republicans in power for the next one hundred years! We no longer have a democracy, which is a chilling thought, but which becomes more readily evident by the President-Elect’s unfolding appointments to his Administration. His Administration promises to be a radical departure from democratic tenets as our country descends into a white nationalist, authoritarian government.  

To further complicate and confuse political matters even more, Trump’s Presidential election is fraught in ironies. Most of us had suspicions about whom Trump was representing during his campaigns, but no one knew for sure whether the President-Elect really had a political party affiliate and/or constituency.  During his campaigns, we know he ran as a Republican, but we did not really know whether that was who he is or whether his choice to run as a Republican was a choice of expediency to get him into the Office—knowing he probably would not have had a chance of winning over the votes of the disaffected whites he needed to win, if he ran as any other party than Republican, which is also the party primarily of white people, in general, who identify as conservatives. Thus, the first irony in the election of the 45th POTUSA is the uncertainty around his political party identity, on which he ran and still won the 2017 Presidential election, making us think that perhaps the white voters who sent Trump to the White House really did not care what he called himself because it was really about the message, the promises, and the hopes he extended to them. The second irony is that they also did not care about whether he was a career or traditional politician whom they had, for decades, sent to Washington to represent them and their interests, only to be betrayed and sold out. They simply wanted someone different to change the course of the traditional trajectory of government in the country that would restore the voice of the people in the selection of whom they sent to Washington to represent them. The gravity of the 2017 Presidential election of Donald Trump as the 45th POTUSA was a white people’s Coup d’Etat against status quo politics and an oligarchy instead of a democracy—for the people, of the people, and by the people, ersexcept that in this political Coup, the “people” in those phrases are understood to include only white people .  The third irony is that Trump’s supporters claimed to be “anti-status quo” politics and Establishment. Yet they chose and elected a favored beneficiary of status quo politics and the Establishment. Trump has benefited greatly from affiliations and connections to the status quo elite and the Establishment all of his life. That is why and how he is a billionaire and a member of the elite class in our country. Trump’s life was never a life “from rags to riches.”  He was born into and has lived all of his life with privileges and wealth—none of which he shed to run as the champion of the common man and the working class—a paradox in and of itself, but which paid off, big-time, for him, contrary to sound reason and popular belief. Themost troubling irony, however, is the fourth irony which involves the way the“status quo Establishment” politicians (Republicans) are regarding the now President-Elect Trump, with glee and praise, which starkly contrasts their initial denouncement and treatment of him during his campaigns. The now total turn-around embracement of Trump by status quo Establishment Republicans—which Trump led the American people to believe that he opposed and was not one of—are now his staunchest supporters and the ones he is reaching out to for inclusion in his Presidential Administration. Trump now has been credited with having unified the status quo Establishment Republicans around the country and in Washington where, with his election, they have gained control of both Houses in Congress, a Coup which has also played out in a majority of state governments. What has and is still unfolding around status quo Republican politicians raises questions about whether Trump’s election is the result of a kind of “bait and switch” hoax to dupe and/or mislead Trump voters (and the American people) into believing that Trump was anti-status quo Establishment—only to have him join now those very groups who represent status quo Establishment politics (regardless of whether they call themselves Republicans or Democrats)—which he ran his campaigns in opposition to. Therefore, his Presidential election promises to play out as divisive political business as usual, benefiting the 1% over the 99%.  This conclusion is based on the status quo Establishment’s political reaction to Trump’s election, which has been one of jubilance, and not one of opposition or repudiation, or problematic, as one would have  expected.

If Trump were truly in opposition to these groups, in Washington and across the states, why they are so jubilant and quick to claim and embrace him so happily— now that he is President-Elect Trump—is a question we all should be thinking about, as well as about who and what Trump was on the campaign trails and who or what he is now, as 45th POTUSA, along with what he really does stand for and how that will play out over his first term in the People’s White House. Given post-election revelations, he is beginning to look more and more like a white nationalist and a threat to democracy, despite his softened post-election rhetoric which could be a ruse to continue to mislead the American people into thinking that he represents a unifying change for the betterment of the country and ALL of its people—which may not be his real agenda at all.  With that said, perhaps we all have to wait and see who gets screwed over the most by his election!

Since Trump’s election, he has spoken with restraint and conciliation about going forward, leading us to think that he will be a different kind of POTUS than the kind he built his campaign around. Perhaps he is a chameleon and can change colors to become a President for ALL the people.  Only time will tell, and in the words of Dave Chappelle, the 45th POTUSA “deserves a chance to prove himself and show us who he really is, so let’s put our differences aside and give him a chance.” Whether the 45th POTUSA can deliver on all the promises he made during his campaign waits to be seen. 

After winning the 2017 Presidential Election, President-Elect Trump has promised to be EVERYBODY’S President, and not just the Champion President of the working class. If, however, he falls short on being EVERYBODY’S President, and not just the champion President of the working class, his POTUSA would prove more divisive than unifying, for the reason below.

Being the President who is “the champion of the working class” is both implicitly cryptic and ambiguous and plays into the status-quo approach toward work, an approach which has determined who gainfully works in this country over the last fifty years or so. For more than fifty years, middle and lower class blacks have not had equal opportunities in the workplace the same as whites have had and still continue to have, resulting in dire economic disparities between the two races.  If President-Elect Trump does not deliver on his post-election promise to be EVERYBODY’S President and address white supremacy racism and discrimination in the workplace against blacks, his Presidency will end up being just another “status quo” Presidency that ignores and treats black lives as invisible and politically irrelevant. We will expect President-Elect Trump to address white supremacy and discrimination in the workplace, in which blacks suffer more than whites. We will expect him to address the matters of the unfinished legacies of race and class in our country’s history, waiting to explode again, over and over. When he promises to be EVERBODY’S President, lower class whites, blacks, and other people of color—the commonly ignored, invisible, and exploited groups in society—believe that those promises include them too, which give them hope for change that will improve their socio-economic status too, contrary to the centuries of neglect they have endured.

In his tenure as 45th POTUSA, Trump has promised to seek counsel across the political aisles, including President Obama and the Clintons.  He says he wants to save our country, that he is aware of bad things that have happened to our country, and that he wants to bring change to it. 

I hope he is equally aware that incoming wealth and equality are what ALL Americans want across race and class and that he knows that we, American people and government, have to deal with the problems emanating from race and class—which reach all the way from the bottom to the top and from the top to the bottom of the socio-economic well.  I hope that he knows also that we must include in our narratives not just the middle and upper classes but the lower classes, as well, which cross all color and race lines.  He must know that we cannot afford not to include the plight of every American when we talk about change. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind anymore.  Therefore, we must become totally inclusive about delivering benefits, opportunities, and privileges to ALL Americans.



© 2016

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