How can you trust the system when the system put him there?

I love Elijah Cummings. His “Come on!” at the end of the Michael Cohen hearing is my new ringtone. I agree with him a lot, but we differ is when he says, “We’re better than this!”

If he’s talking about the country, I don’t think we are.

I look at all those republican reps during the hearing and their constant cry of, “This is a waste of time! We should be doing our jobs or anything else!” while they themselves are there, defending the president instead of meeting with constituents or drafting legislation or, you know, doing their jobs or anything else.

Then I look at the president.

I think it went like this…

This fool wanted to boost his brand, so he started a campaign. The best way to do that is to attack the establishment. But that’s a hard thing to do when, as a wealthy, white, male inheritor he’s the living embodiment of the establishment, but who cares? He wasn’t really trying to win anyway. He knew he couldn’t rally the majority of voters to side with him. Part of his identity is believing this. He’s a conspiracy theorist and part of being a conspiracy theorist is the belief that only a few know the real truth. He’s also a eugenicist, which lends itself to the belief that he is one of the very few who can even understand the truth.

Eugenics also tell him that he’s better that the Black guy who’s about to leave office and better than the woman he’s running against. But, again, he’s not even trying to get the majority of American voters behind him. And he doesn’t. It turns out the majority of American voters aren’t fooled by him at all. But the racist-ass electoral college appoints him anyway.

That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of racists to go around. Sure as shit, a whole lot of white “religious” people who spend their spare time railing against the lifestyle of someone like the new president sure love his stance on anything related to race. Same with a whole lot of white Americans who hate those East Coast elites, but, you know, just not as much as they hate darker skin tones.

Then comes the collective, country-wide crisis of white conscience. Suddenly a whole lot of white people have to start dealing with the fact that their families have way more bigots than they realized. Some are inspired by their crisis of conscience and decide to fight for a better country. And, yes, some are more interested in calling for a return to “normal” in hopes to reclaiming a time when they just didn’t have to see how ugly it can be for the rest of us.

Meanwhile, the new president gets into office and proceeds to behave exactly as expected, like someone who didn’t want to win. He doesn’t read reports, doesn’t get out of bed until pretty late. Then there’s his “executive time.” Have you seen his golf count? He’s obviously not mentally or physically capable of doing very much at all, let alone the hardest job in the world and he clearly doesn’t want to be there.

But he is there. And despite what we think of ourselves as a country, he will probably continue to be there. He will continue to be there because the democrats’ goal seems to be getting more votes than republicans even though they reached that very goal last time only to snatch defeat from the mouth of victory.

He will continue to be there because we are still unwilling to admit that racism is what put him there.

He will continue to be there because the system has no internal defense from a leader who will engage with it.

We must ask ourselves: What do we do when our systems disregard the will of the people and appoint a leader who is incapable of even reading a single report and who publicly sides with the enemies of his country over his own intelligence agencies and who openly disdains most of the people he is supposed to represent, care for and lead?

If our answer is to trust in those very systems again, but just keep our fingers crossed this time, well, then I’m never going to agree with Rep. Cummings. I don’t think we are better than this. There’s a pretty good chance we’re even worse.

We can be better, but we’re going to have to accept what we are first.


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All the news that should have been…other than Jussie

Jussie. Yikes.

As of this writing Jussie Smollett has been charged with a felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. It doesn’t look good for him, but just for a moment I invite you to take into account what else has been happening.

Back in the 1990s there was this dude named Roger Davis. He was the sheriff of Marengo County, Alabama, and he was crooked as hell. This fool was into theft, drugs, blackmail—all kinds of bad shit. In the end, he and his deputies got taken down by The Democrat Reporter, a little newspaper in the rural town of Linden, 2,500 people strong.

The editor of The Democrat Reporter was a man named Goodloe Sutton and his wife, Jean, was the lead reporter. Their efforts made national news, led to a federal investigation of Davis and earned them awards nationally as well as internationally.

Jean died in 2003, but Goodloe is still around. In fact, last Monday it came out that he wrote an article calling for the KKK to lynch people in Washington, D.C. It made national news, but not as much as it could or should have. Imagine all of the think pieces that could’ve been written about the fall of a former hero. Or how our national blind spot allowed us to regard this man as a hero when he was likely a terrible bigot this whole time. Maybe something about the multitude of biased ways in which the media chooses or chooses not to cover matters involving race.

I would’ve liked to have seen that kind of thing saturate the news. Instead, the majority of what I hear is about how the Chicago police say a gay, Black man lied.

On May, 1, 2017, the Baltimore Oriels beat the Boston Red Sox 5-2 at Fenway Park. Boston fans didn’t take it well. Boston has earned itself a certain reputation over the years and that night was a prime example of how.

A bag of peanuts was thrown at Oriels center fielder Adam Jones and he was repeatedly called the N-word. There is an acceptance of racism in sports that permits us to blow something like this off. We think Well, what do you expect?

As this article from last Wednesday points out, “But more than 18 months later, community leaders are looking back at the episode as a watershed moment that brought Boston’s pro sports teams together to tackle racism head on.” The article is talking about a program called Take the Lead, which aims at bringing inclusivity into all Boston sports. It’s not the singular answer to anything, but it’s a step in the right direction.

I would’ve liked to have seen this kind of positive story saturate the news, but, you know, the Chicago police said a gay, Black man lied.

It was reported on Wednesday that U.S Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, a self-identified white nationalist, was planning a domestic terrorist attack unlike anything the country has ever seen. A particularly revealing detail that will probably not get enough attention is that Hasson performed an internet search for the phrase, “civil war if Trump impeached.” Certainly, any part of that should overshadow the Chicago police saying a gay, Black man lied.

Last week, The Southern Poverty Law Center released its annual “Year in Hate and Extremism” report. The report shows that hate groups are growing, rising seven percent just last year and continuing a four-year trend amounting to thirty percent so far. So much of the rise can be attributed to the president, which is surely something more important to us than the Chicago police saying a gay, Black man lied.

On Thursday North Carolina, a state so racist it has been known to write laws that “target African Americans with almost surgical precision,” decided it needed to have a whole new election. It turns out that the Republicans were so stupid in their racist ballot fraud that the authorities ordered a do-over for the only midterm election in the country still undecided.

You’d think that that would garner more attention than the Chicago police saying a gay, Black man lied. In the end, not even the sum total of these stories can eclipse Jussie’s alleged transgressions.

Maybe someday we’ll be able to have a national conversation about the anticipation with which America waits for a Black person to fall or the comparison of costs between Black and white lies in America or who is allowed to be lied about in America.

I know it’s not likely to happen any time soon, but maybe someday. For now, seriously, I’d be satisfied if Virginia could get its shit together for just a few weeks.


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So…you say you don’t see color? Explain.

What do you mean you “don’t see color”?

Do you mean you literally only see things in varying shades of gray? Does your world look literally colorless? When you watch “The Wizard of Oz,” does Oz look no different than Kansas to you?

Is that what you mean when you say that you “don’t see color”?

Or do you believe that seeing a person’s color is equivalent to judging someone’s character? Do you believe that not being white is bad?

Is that what you mean?

Or do you mean you don’t see any difference in how we look? Do you think everyone just looks white? Do you think everyone looks Black? Which is the default?

Or do you mean it even more abstractly? Can you not see my history? Can you not see all that people who look like me have done? Can you not see the joy of American music in all its forms? Can you not see the contributions to art and literature and dance, not to mention sports? Can you not see the beauty created by people who look like me? Can you not see how unrecognizable the world would be without us?

Or do you mean that you can’t see how differently we are viewed by our institutions? Can you not see how personal belief in those institutions leads to personal belief in treating us differently?

Or do you mean that you’re unwilling to see the hatred people who look like you have for people who look like me? Can you not see the systems that give you permission to do and say things that the rest of us cannot?

Or do you mean that your public ignoring of the inherent systemic value in race makes things better?

Or do you believe that racism is a simple thing that exists wholly within a person’s heart?

Is that what you mean?

Or do you believe that not acknowledging racism will make it go away? Do you truly believe that one’s ability to see is the root of the problem?

Is that what you mean when you say that you “don’t see color”?

Or do you just want absolution?

What do you mean you “don’t see color”?


If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Want more BGIM? Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.

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