Why #Trump Voters Are All Being Painted with the Same “Racist” Brush

Trump voters and supporters with an online presence have seen an unprecedented withdrawal of ally, non-homophobic, non-racist and non-sexist cards.  The internet has also seen a surge in very us-and-them thinking about them.

Is this polarisation justified, or is it the left being the overactive, hypersensitive whine-fest everyone says it is?

I’m not American.  But when that country sneezes the rest of the world catches the ‘flu.  So I’d like to first cut through a lot of mitigating arguments that have been used to justify the choice Donald Trump voters made.

  • The Media Misrepresents Him

Nobody has had to twist, edit or interpret Donald Trump to paint him out as a bigot; on the contrary, it takes more PR gymnastics to paint him as a human rights’ champion.  “The media” can only accept so much of the responsibility for being there with rolling cameras whenever he opened his mouth.

  • He Has Indicated He Will Be Everyone’s President and Wants to “Heal The Breach”

But his definition of “everyone” remains exclusive until he “heals the breach” by owning up to how it was his divisive campaign rhetoric that exacerbated differences.

He would have to apologise unreservedly, by name, to each group he insulted — for if he could name and put target marks on them while he was campaigning, he ought to likewise name and re-humanize them now that he’s president-elect.

Failing this, all talk about being everyone’s president is just that — talk.

He would have to also apologise for using vulnerable groups as campaign fodder at risk to their lives.  For there has been a swell in hate crimes and threats in the last few days.  We know, from #Brexit as one of many examples, that leaders’ words provoke action.  Donald Trump has to take his share of the responsibility for that if he really means what he’s saying about being every American’s president.

By the same token, he cannot claim to be pro-LGBTI while appointing staff-members who are trying to pass laws that are known to be anti-LGBTI (or espouse them himself, as he has).  Holding rainbow flags and saying, “I love the gays!” is meaningless if his campaign promises are to undo the rights they have realised.

I know such an apology would leave him in an embarrassing spot, but is he really willing to live with the alternative (the reign of hate that’s already underway) just to save face?  This alone reveals the extent of his narcissism.

It also shows that that the things he says in the heat of the moment are bigger than his ability to take back.  That says the likelihood that he’ll surround himself with a government that successfully keeps a lid on his temperament is just as slim.

  • He Is Anti-Establishment

There’s a lot to be said about Trump’s importance as an anti-establishment candidate.  However, it would be damnably irresponsible to separate his rage against the machine from his vocalised disdain of every human who isn’t a straight white able-bodied male.

It would be as damnably irresponsible to ignore, from the shakiness of his shaky human rights’ framework (and his readiness to use nukes to solve problems), that his approach to resolving the issues he and other frustrated Americans have identified will most likely be as shaky, if not devastating.  Any idiot can diagnose a problem, but not any idiot should be called upon to perform brain surgery to fix it.

That American voters have chosen the deadly toxin that is Donald Trump as the antidote to the fatal elitism represented by Hillary Clinton points to a bigger problem, and it’s not just that Americans’ options sucked: it’s that in the broadest possible measure of what the United States now chooses to be, Hillary Clinton was the penultimate answer and Donald Trump was the only answer to her or the final answer itself.  If that does not scream “back to the drawing board,” nothing ever could.

He been accused, believably, of sexual assault — a proclivity he relished in with his “grab ‘em by the pussy” comment — and he’s threatened to sue those who came forward with allegations against him.  If he’s that willing to exert all that power in that context, then he’s likelier to use military power the same way.  All that stands before that is who he surrounds himself with.

If this was America’s only way of draining the Washington swamp, I’m left wondering whether its people shouldn’t have let the establishment reign a little longer.

  • He Hasn’t Got Enough Power to Actually Hurt Anyone

Legally, Donald Trump’s uglier campaign promises won’t pass overnight.  But bigots have already been emboldened; they’re echoing his campaign rhetoric and taking it to its white supremacist logical conclusion.  And he isn’t correcting them.

Why should he, though?  Where others would try to temper his words about Muslims (“He only means Radical Islamic Terrorists”) he said he would ban all Muslims.  He has deliberately pushed the envelope on hate.  Is it any wonder the haters feel they have a champion in him?

  • We Cannot Judge Him Before He Even Starts

Ah, but we can judge and condemn him out of his own mouth and stated intentions.  We can judge him on what he has not retracted.  That’s only fair.  In a world where politicians are almost expected to do worse than what they have promised, it is very rare for a politician to effectively say, upfront, “I am here to make the lives of those already othered miserable,” but it is shocking that a number of people think he does not really mean that.  Short of incontrovertible assurance from God himself that Donald Trump will not screw this up, the chances that the future is already reading about this moment in history books and asking, “Why did no one believe him?” is too high for you not to be getting sleepless nights.

And those are the only mitigating arguments I can think of to respond to.

Now, back to the original problem: why are Donald Trump supporters all being painted with the same racist brush?

Because, if you’ve been following the argument, any reasonable human being in their position should have foreseen that they’d be choosing the embodiment of everything we should be trying to evolve beyond as a global community.  I do not accept that they were passively ignorant: they have been actively ignoring.  He offers catharsis, but the price is astounding.

Trump’s promises to clean up the U.S government or stand with a class whose living conditions he’s never been immersed in are not only highly unlikely to materialise, they’re also inextricable from what is already being actualised — violence.

This is not, by the way, an argument against the legitimacy of his presidency.  We can agree that if he’s who the American system ultimately picks — if President-Elect becomes POTUS — it is what it is.

We can also agree, as have a lot of influential Democrats, that he ought to be supported to the extent that he really does act for all Americans.  If America really swears him into office, then he is President, end of story.

That is not what I am discussing.  What I am saying is that someone who would take the initiative to pick Donald Trump is actually everything the internet says he or she is.  If you press a clearly marked detonate button because you needed somewhere to rest your finger, you are not someone who needed a place to rest his or her finger: you are a bomber and mass-murderer.

The Internet will make you own that.  There is no other way to make people come face-to-face with what they give oxygen to.

“But why all the anger and name-calling?”

Well, how else are people supposed to respond to anyone who openly owns up to supporting someone who stands to make their lives and their loved-ones’ lives hell?  Offer tea and scones?

Siya Khumalo has gone from working on a book to having the book work on him. Please follow and retweet on @SKhumalo1987, thank you.

 

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Nothing Has Changed. Do Not Panic. Yet.

When Donald Trump first announced his presidential candidacy, I was among those who said he would win.

A lot of people — a lot of them being white progressive friends, some American — insisted this was alarmist.  They also insisted that Hillary Clinton was the more qualified candidate.  “I didn’t say Trump should win,” I explained.  “I said he will; whether he should won’t matter when he does.”

Which polls did we study to know this?  Not the pre-election polls.  Those are normally run by nice, respectable people talking to nice respectable people; “experts” with a bias towards people who think like themselves, believing those to be representative of the majority, extrapolating within psycho-social parameters they find believable.  But the human element is inescapable: that’s why the best predictor of human behaviour is human behaviour.  The best polls to study to determine a political outcome is the incidence of hate crimes.

***

Consider the bullied kid who insists the class bully doesn’t bully in isolation.  He has support; he’s popular with the jocks and athletes; he’s a formidable terror in the bullied kid’s existence.

Imagine classmates shrugging off the bullied kid’s story.  They say he’s exaggerating.  The bully is just a dumb loud-mouth nobody listens to.

The time to vote class captain comes.  As candidate, the bully says all the wrong things.  The average student imagines there’s no way someone like him would win.  But he does.  It is only then that everyone realises the pervasiveness of the bully’s kind of thinking.

Will things worsen for the bullied kid?  Yes.  But at least he will now be believed when he describes the subtler workings of the school’s power systems.

***

Let’s talk about rape culture, systemic racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and the nice, middle-class white progressives who make it all possible.

After slavery and segregation were lifted from black folks in the USA, there were no reparations (a fact the UN is now making sounds about).  Redress for injustice is a concrete way of quantitatively and qualitatively coming to terms with its wrongness in all its dimensions.  If the one (the quantitative or the qualitative) is prioritised ahead of the other, if reconciliatory ceremonies and gestures are put ahead of the actual work on the ground or vice-versa, it will lead to two things happening among those who had not previously been oppressed:

Those who hold on to bigoted attitudes will think they’re good people because they have not come to terms with the extent of their prejudice.  Those who don’t necessarily hold on to prejudice — that’s our nice, white progressives who constitute the bulk of voices on social and traditional media — will overestimate the efficacy of changing discriminatory laws, and underestimate the importance of shifting attitudes on the ground.  Really, the one should be tackled in tandem with and in proportion to the other.

The moment you take reparations and redress out of the equation, you create a disjointed world void of consequences.  This is the kind of world moderate, mellow progressives live in.  This is why it’s impossible to explain intersectionality and systemic oppression to them: their whole words are disjointed and de-systemised.  They can afford to put together idealistic, utopian pictures of what should happen, and think those are what will happen, because that’s what has happened in their worlds for them.  I’ve blogged about this before:

White privilege is the freedom to deny that constructs exist because once you have the resources and mobility to opt in and out of the group, its guilts and its prejudices, you have no reason to admit that constructs have been constructed, let alone that you have unduly benefited from them.  White privilege is the gift of not knowing about white privilege whilst benefiting from it.

And,

To have white privilege is to be given from birth the tools needed to move through the world without having to reckon with the power of constructs.

This is why #BlackLivesMatter exploded last year, and it’s why Donald Trump won this year.

This means the bullied kid, be he the Muslim, the transgender black woman or the Mexican immigrant, has been vindicated in his insistence that the issue is systemic and pervasive.

In the next few hours, we will hear unspeakably tragic stories of black churches being burnt, of gay-bashing incidences spiking the way they did just after #Brexit, and we will see a nauseating explosion of misogyny and hate online.

And all that will be is the full horror of the nightmarish monsters the oppressed have had to live with emboldened to come out into broad daylight.  Nothing would have actually changed.  Who you install as president, which laws you pass or repeal, says only so much about the work that’s actually been done on the ground in terms of confronting attitudes, unpacking privilege and making reparations.

Who really knows the guts of a system?  It is not those who know the broad economic ramifications of this or that decision: it’s those who’ve been squashed by that system’s underbelly.  They’ve had face-to-face exposure to what it’s really like, in real life.  Blessed are the poor, the meek and the oppressed: they know the world better than anyone else.

The United States of Amnesia did not “go backwards” in this election; it simply proved that those who looked at progressive laws alone as a measure of where the country was at, had failed to take into account the (now vindicated) fears of those who’d been left behind.

Siya Khumalo has gone from working on a book to having the book work on him. Please follow and retweet on @SKhumalo1987, thank you.

How the #StateCaptureReport May Help #ANC Win in 2019 (Or, Should We Have Let Sleeping Dogs Lie?)

A Madhouse ride can disorient you.  It can give the impression that you’re being turned up-side-down, spun into a vortex, or that you’re weightless — without moving your seat more than a few feet.  It achieves this effect by changing the background.

I wonder whether we aren’t being “captured” by a similar optical illusion by the Powers-That-Be.

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s 355-page report addressed (or undressed) the Gupta family’s control of the state.  When Jacob Zuma abruptly withdrew his interdictory appeal from the High Court yesterday, which opened the way for the report to be released, I sensed the ANC already knew how to spin the report’s findings (assuming they would not have tampered with it).  A paragraph on page 106 of the Report says:

“Mr [Fana] Hlongwane [possibly] has had access to one of my official documents relating to the investigation prior to any correspondence with my office.”  Now, he was an Arms’ Deal consultant (who may have been paid R150m for his hard work) and former advisor to Mandela cabinet Defence Minister, Joe Modise, just to give you an idea of the type of access he has.

My sense of the direction in which the ANC’s spin is going was further confirmed by the ANC Women’s League’s response to the Report:

“We hold a firm view that there is a need for a full investigation on state capture,” said Secretary General Meokgo Matuba’s statement.  “Any investigation which excludes white monopoly capital is an advancement of white supremacy and serves a racial political agenda that hinders the building of a non-racial society.”

This was planned.  Anyway, here are three reasons the race card never gets old.

It converges with and amplifies the party’s response to that other national crisis, the Fees Must Fall protests.

It helps the ANC survive the findings of the State Capture Report, and even let President Jacob Zuma finish his term, by changing the background against which the report’s findings are viewed.  One flick of the switch, and suddenly it is not just the ANC but everyone who is guilty of state capture.

Which leads to the third reason.  Those families that fall under the umbrella of “white monopoly capital” — often listed by EFF CIC Julius Malema by name — will not let the state expand its state capture investigation beyond the Gupta family, though it was they who arguably started and funded the campaign against corruption in the first place.  It is now a game of who blinks first.

The EFF will probably be reabsorbed into the ANC before the 2019 elections.  What the ANC does with Zuma in particular will not be as material to the EFF as what the ANC does about the State’s relationship with capital in general, for therein is Zuma’s corruption rooted.  This will open the way to nationalisation, the solution the EFF has called for all along as a deterrent to corruption (!), which was why Malema felt it necessary to list the Oppenheimers and Rothschilds in the same breath as the Zuptas.

Is nationalisation a real solution, though?  Silly question.  Politics isn’t about solutions; it’s about ideologies.  It isn’t about substance; it’s about shadows, the “the optics” that legitimise access to obscene power through token gestures and believable Madhouse ride illusions.

They’ll say the land issue can be resolved, albeit indirectly, once white monopoly capital is also under investigation.  The increasingly clear connection between apartheid policy and apartheid corruption will make it look irresponsible — corrupt, in fact — of the ANC not to vote with the EFF on the land issue in parliament.  The ANC will say its commitment to clean governance has left it no choice but to go down this path.  So intentionally or not, Thuli Madonsela’s recommendation for further investigation will prove as terrifying for the Zuptas as they would for a few white families here and abroad.

The DA, in its current form, would have no compelling alternative offer to make the black voting majority in 2019 — a fate for which the Blue Pill peddlers will have no one but themselves to blame.  It’s one thing for the DA to be happy living under the 30% ceiling; if, however, it purports to climb beyond that on the back of Zuma’s corruption, it will pull the rug out from under itself with the ANCWL’s help.  Again, the ANC need only modify the background against which Zupta state capture is being viewed to make it look like the continuation of something that’s always been there, now made scandalous by race alone.  Jacob Zuma’s only sin would have been turning the process in a direction nobody was familiar with — Indian families: the Vivian Reddys, Shabir Shaiks, and ultimately, the Guptas.

The State Capture Report will tip us, not away from Jacob Zuma, but towards the leftist policies his thievery was proxy for (for the connected many) in the absence of post-1994 reparations.  Reparations arguably would have lessened the temptation to corruption for ANC cadres.  As I’ve said before, the the DA’s mostly-white network of government officials, service providers and constituency yields better results on measurables like clean audits because its individuals never returned what they gained under — or after! — apartheid.  Many of its people’s temptation to corruption is lessened because that corruption was never rectified.  The normalization of white state capture allowed it to continue seamlessly before and after 1994, a fact that is inadvertently publicized when interference in that pipeline is met with loud cries from the white victimhood gallery.

Prior to 1994, the ANC was set to nationalise key businesses and use state power to effect post-apartheid redress.  Was there going to be redress without white people/business losing something in the process?  Was there ever going to be a non-corrupt reason the ANC would refrain from changing the status quo and bringing white money to book?  Given that the beneficiaries of apartheid were never forced to make reparations, and that the ANC did refrain from changing the status quo, it follows that the ANC was bribed corrupt from Day 1.  It also follows that DA-type investigations into ANC corruption will, in the end, undermine the perceived legitimacy of the network the DA itself works for and with — by exposing how and when it interfered with the ANC’s road to nationalisation.  That the DA came into existence long after 1994 does not mean it is not shooting itself in the foot.  There was nothing wrong with vocally standing for everything the DA claimed to stand for per se, but there was much wrong with their pretending to be innocent newcomers to the game.

The ANC has until now maintained both white supremacy and the corruption many black people turn to for relief from the economic exclusion that comes with white supremacy’s maintenance (two sides of the same coin, really), and the DA should have thought long and hard about what it was prepared to lose for the gratification of upsetting that balance.  It wasn’t going to gain anything beyond 30% of the votes because black people aren’t that dumb.

The ANC will present white monopoly capital as a sacrifice of atonement through the same investigative process whereby Zuma could be crucified — a pledge, if you will, to govern well on the black majority’s behalf after 2019.  This will be received in good faith by the EFF and its disgruntled black followers.  The ANC will do this to demonstrate its righteousness and right to rule, because in its forbearance it left the sins committed before 1994 unpunished.  It will also do this to show forth its justice at that opportune moment, so as to be just and the justifier of those its members who participated in corruption until now, to whom amnesty will be extended (Romans 3:25 — 26 paraphrased, because religion is politics and the ANC is its shrewd and omnisapient God).

It is fitting that the party’s “Hail Mary” will be nothing less spectacular than Christ and him crucified: Zuma, the racial lamb who bears the racist sin of the country put up on the cross where it is not he, but his accusers, whose naked shame is lifted up for the world to marvel at.  And on the third day he will rise again to rule and reign forevermore.

For the DA’s job description has been pinning South Africa’s troubles on the ANC in order to deflect attention from any narrative in which the ANC’s current wrongs were contained in, explained and produced by white supremacy.  It has been to offer the contrary explanation in which it is the ANC’s wrongs that worsen the legacy of apartheid (which is never used to expose the DA network’s advantage).  But when the ANC is the primary explanation for its own corruption, seen in isolation from what catalysed it, it will accidentally feed into a narrative in which black incompetence and corruption exist not alongside white criminality, but within black people as a comment on them as human beings.

This, the majority of black voters will not tolerate.  They would rather vicariously rule another million years in the hell South Africa has been than be pulled up to serve and worship in white heaven.  So they’ll vote ANC-EFF in 2019 and continue waiting for Jesus to return.

Thank you.

Siya Khumalo has gone from working on a book to having the book work on him.  Please follow and retweet on @SKhumalo1987, thank you.