Every five or ten years for at least the last three decades, Time and every other newsmagazine has done a cover article on the browning of America. I can’t recall if there were predictions on what would ensue once People of Color became the majority. But even to a dumbshit like me, what is occurring now has been pretty evident.
Obama Elected President is to Blame
Look at the nation on a scale. Caucasians saw land. They exterminated the indigenous people who, lack of a better word, owned that land. They fought every foreign interest out, and if there were foreign people in this won land, they were subject to exclusionary laws, enslaved, or constrained to tiny areas of land. All that insured that the scale was completely weighted on one side.
And to seal the deal, these winning white men created a grandiose piece of paper, the Constitution, to say, “This is our land, and this is how we’re going to run it.”
Over these three hundred years, the scale has tipped the other way. If someone gains opportunities or rights or land, someone is going to lose or feel like they’re losing those same things. These incremental changes of displacement has led to skirmishes for power, for more weight on one side. So you have the Civil War, the battle for civil rights, the suffrage movement, riots, and Stonewall which lead to changes in the Constitution. Within those who are displaced, there are people who went along with these changes because they thought it would make our nation stronger. There are also those who liked the way it was before so their palpable feeling of loss and betrayal has been brewing for three hundred years.
Until an African American was elected President of the United States. A person of a group of people they tried so hard to keep down now had more power, more weight on the scale than all of them combined. While all this was happening, other countries got stronger than ours. Our country got attacked, our land was bought, and our people got killed. And then the people who went along with these changes listen to that anger that has been brewing for three hundred years, and that anger became theirs. And it spread like a virus even to those who have been excluded. Because maybe three hundred years ago, they wouldn’t be given anything but in the last fifty years, they’ve managed to get something. And they want to keep that to themselves.
George Carlin’s classic joke about owning shit is applicable to the trajectory of our country.
Now everything they see as having lost, they blame on Obama and his ‘ilk.’ Trump, they believe, can restore our nation to what it was. Less rights, less sharing, less people who are different will translate into less weakness in their minds.
We knew that if Obama didn’t shit gold, there’d be a backlash. Or as Van Jones calls it, a whitelash.
Our World at War
The battle now is not restricted to our borders. People of Color, LGBTQ, Muslims, environmentalists, feminists, and those who believe unity (or sharing) makes us stronger should have paid more attention to what was happening in the UK. Brexit boils down to our basic human instinct of territory. Go to a dog park and see how they behave. It’s about who pisses on something last.
Globally, the same fight is occurring.
Now is Not the Time to Be Stunned
We’ve had enough Monday morning quarterbacking about what Hillary did wrong, would Bernie win, or were we too complacent in the past eight years to not do anything about the electoral college. Given that we are a people instinctually led by desire of territory, Trump or someone like him would have risen eventually. We’ve also had enough of summer soldiers and summer soldiers starching their uniforms. You’ve had a week to be stunned. As I see it, the outcome was predictable so walking around in a stupor and moaning about the state of our country means that you will only fight when it’s summer sunny, warm and comfortable. Or you’re one of those who like to debate the efficacy of the safety pin, devise coded meanings for different colors, and chastise those who use a safety pin as their social media icon.
These are not the soldiers that will #BetheWall. When called, they will not #GetOnTheLine.
Art as Protest
I’ve been talking to artists to gauge their temperature. I sense they feel the ticking clock, the clock they are supposed to feel regarding climate change. But do they #GetOnTheLine and protest or create activist art? They can do both. My fear is that art as a form of protest had the opposite effect of its intent. The Waldo episode of Black Mirror elucidates this phenomenon. Even if a despicable figure is lampooned, the resulting effect is a creation of an icon. The buffoonery chips away at the negative aspects.
I don’t have an answer to the form to which art can take. But I know art can be persuasive. The worst that one can do is to do nothing. Unfortunately, if global occurrences are taken into account, World War III is happening now. And if we stay stuck in a stupor or bicker about the right way to act, we won’t have another opportunity to act.
What are you going to do?
Here’s a start