All of a sudden these two images started spinning in my head. Exactly eight years ago, I was screaming and shouting, “He won. He won. Camille, Barack Obama is the President of the United States. Can you believe it?” I was talking to the only one person within earshot of my euphoria. My child, just one month shy of her eighth birthday, looks at me and asks, “Why wouldn’t he win?"
Without shattering her innocence and optimism, I let her know that the history of this nation is dark, so much so that the idea of a Black man as president was not only historical but unfathomable for many, even as I reconciled in my own mind how a child my daughter’s age born at the dawn of the 21st century truly believed that ANYTHING—even a Black U. S. President was possible. Really, the kid was looking at me like “Why wouldn’t he win?” And for that brief second I thought that maybe, just maybe children her age could possibly grow up to be the purveyors of something that looked remotely like the post-racial society folks were fallaciously declaring already existed.
Fast forward eight short years. In the wee hours of the morning on Nov. 9, 2016, an almost 16-year-old Camille charges into my room and paces for several minutes with her hands on her head, shaking it in disbelief and asking “What happened?” over and over again. Now I have to explain how a bigot wins the presidency. How does a nation that holds itself up as one of the freest and finest in the world sit back and allow hate, racism, misogyny, fear and frenzy to win? No really, how does that happen? And I don’t need an electoral map to provide the answer. I need someone to tell me what is wrong with the hearts and minds of people.
Eight years ago, a little Black girl not even eight years old couldn’t conceive of one single reason a Black man could not win the U.S. presidency. Today, she is struggling to understand one reason that White man, who if he himself is not actually a racist has no problem pandering to and aligning himself with the underbelly of America’s racist society to carve his path to the White House, won with ease. A generation of children that had every reason to believe that anything was possible just had the wind knocked out of them. Well, Trump was right about one thing—greatness is far, far away from America’s grasp.
And another thing . . . I never once even joked about leaving the country in the event of Trump win. To be sure, I ain’t going nowhere. And I will not have deal with Donald Trump or the band of evil idiots that elected him for four years. Nope, they will have to deal with me. Okay . . . Carry on . . .