On this, the first MLK Day of the 21st Century with a full blown white nationalist in the Oval Office, let’s take a moment to reflect on why we are where we are.
Yes, Corporate America has spent billions dumbing down the conservative movement. Yes, the Republican Party is filled with literal traitors sabotaging our government. And, Yes, Russia interfered with our election and will continue to do so. But that’s not the core problem afflicting America.
The core problem is the myth of white superiority.
White Americans are utterly convinced that they are more intelligent, more moral, more successful, and all around superior to people with brown skin (but especially blacks) just by dint of the whiteness of their skin. Anything that challenges this belief is met with a hostility bordering on murderous rage. In fact, throughout America history, white people have crossed that border so many times it deserves its own big beautiful Trump wall.
This isn’t something that every white person alive today chose to believe. I certainly didn’t but I’m still infected with it as surely as if by a virus. Some on the left, like myself, recognize this infection and struggle to suppress it. Others imagine they are immune and that usually doesn’t end well.
But then there are white Republican voters.
White Republicans voters bitterly whine when they’re called racist but proudly fly their Confederate flags, defend Confederate statues, demand black people be kicked off of “their” welfare, support police violence (against blacks only, of course), and voted for Donald Trump is a frenzy akin to a shark swimming in chum-filled water. They can’t summon much vigor to denounce neo-Nazis marching in the streets screeching for genocide but they positively foam at the mouth at the mention of Black Lives Matter. They scream bloody murder over the unfairness of Affirmative Action but also think laws prohibiting discrimination are an infringement of their freedom to be racist. Just don’t call them racist. Because that’s mean.
White Republican voters are unbelievably racist, fully convinced of their superiority over Those People. But when they saw a black man become President of the United States, they saw a future where they were no longer special and they lost their minds. Some of them probably understood why they were so angry but it’s a good bet most didn’t. Not really.
The reality is that a country where a black man can be president is a country making dangerous progress towards Martin Luther King’s dream:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation Where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
That sounds good on paper, but what if the content of your character is lacking? Not for nothing, white Republican voters are the very worst kind of hypocrites. Their entire ideology boils down to “I got mine, screw you.” Their greed and narcissism found the perfect candidate in Trump and the very last thing they want is a nation that judges them by what kind of person they are. The cream rises to the top but trash tends to sink.
That’s why they fight so hard to keep black people in their place. MLK’s dream is their very worst nightmare:
I have a dream today…I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight.
White Republican voters love to talk about how they believe in a meritocracy but they don’t. Not even a little. A level playing field, a true meritocracy, would, at long last, reveal the ugly truth about white people: We are not special. We are not more intelligent, harder working, or more clever than blacks. We did not become more wealthy because we were more ambitious or wiser. We did not control the government for centuries because we were naturally more fit to be leaders.
The reality is that whites built a system explicitly to benefit us explicitly at the expense of non-whites and when parts of that system stopped working, we invented news methods to protect our power and deny it to others and when those stopped working, we simply resorted to violence because we could. That is the system white Republican voters elected Trump to protect, and failing that, to burn it all to the ground. Because if they can’t have it all, they’d rather see the country destroyed.
That’s how desperate they are to avoid facing the reality of their own mediocrity. They may not consciously realize it, but on some level they understand that without a system rigged in their favor, they’re just like everybody else but lacking the basic decency and morality of a Second grader.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream is their unending nightmare and they’d rather die, and take us all with them, before facing it. We are running out of time to stop their suicide run.
There are 294 days left to the 2018 elections.
– This article kills fascists
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I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.