I know, I know. It seems so unfair. You are angry, and upset and justifiably so. You don’t understand how a man with the vocabulary of a 3 year old and the temperament of a rabid dog became the leader of your America, land of the free and home of the brave. You want to do something, all 1 million of you. Most of you all just got scared last year, when against all of your beliefs about democracy and the fairness of this great country, the least qualified person has been elected to the highest position in this country.
I hate to break it to all of you, but you are woefully underprepared for this work. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be surprised. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have woke up the day after election day thinking, “I have to lead something!” You would have woken up the day after election day listening to the voices that have told you what America truly is since its inception.
Native voices have been telling you this country is illegitimate and genocidal at its core. Black voices have been telling you the nature of the violence upon which this democracy has rested and continues to rest. Queer and Trans people of color have been telling you the constraints required of your own humanity in order for you to be fully able to participate in this project called the United States. Voices around the globe have been telling all of us about the murder that is necessary to lubricate the functioning of this country. Yet here we are, and you are solipsistically centering yourselves in a struggle that has dehumanized, terrorized and brutalized millions of people world-wide for the sake of your comfort and convenience.
This is the part where you ask me, “At least I did something! Are you saying that I should have just done nothing at all?”
No Becky, nobody is saying that. It’s interesting that when somebody is telling you you are unqualified to lead, that you should think you should then do nothing at all. If I’m hearing you correctly, what you are saying is that if white women are not leading, then white women should do nothing. Hmmm. Interesting.
What I am proposing, instead is that you listen to the people that know more about the violence that has led us to this particular point in America’s ignoble history. It is the ignoring of the violences that have been inflicted on any one who is not white for the sake of preserving the rhetoric of equality and pluralism and “we the people” and the gross idea of american exceptionalism that has allowed you to be tricked into comfortability. It is the idea that violence and oppression are exceptions to the foundation of America that has allowed you to believe that a hateful, small-minded man could not be the president of the United States.
If you don’t understand the cause of this, how can you adequately resist it? The interesting thing to me is that if Clinton had won, all of this would have been lost on you because the violence and oppression would not have touched you. Instead of marching, there would be parties in the street. And Native women would still be missing and murdered at the highest rate in the United States, and Black women would still experience sexual assault and murders at higher rates than white women, and Black trans women and trans women of color would still be being murdered at astronomical rates, and you all would be proud of this America. This sleepiness and willingness to turn away is the fertile ground from which Trump came.
So no, you are not qualified. You don’t understand it yet, the way that the underground aquifer of violence that feeds this country has burst like a geyser into your white homes. You aren’t prepared to lead, because you are still surprised that there is a geyser in your living rooms. You are not interested in the aquifer of violence that has been running through your taps for hundreds of years; you are only interested in stopping the geyser in your living room. While it is appropriate to stop a geyser in your living room, it’s probably more important to listen to the voices that are telling you that a flood has been on its way for a very long time to sweep you and everything you hold dear up, the ones that actually know how to predict the weather and have been surviving the flood for centuries.