As sick as I am of Donald Trump, I am no match for my mama — and based on recent observations, probably not for yours either.
Whenever my mom is about to say something that might be considered impolite, she prefaces her comments with “Lord forgive me.” I question whether God takes offense to criticism of someone that’s the seven deadly sins rolled up into a stupid man who acts as if he’s the omnipotent one, but I don’t tell her how to be a good Christian and she lets me be a heathen who elects to speak to God without an intermediary.
Where we differ on how to practice our faith, we align in tone whenever discussing the demon in the White House. That’s why more often than not, what follows “Lord forgive me” is something that recalls the Old Testament.
I love that my mom aims to be polite even if the person she’s talking about is spiritually something akin to a boil on the left ass cheek of Satan, but Black elders have earned the right to be especially venomous, given what his victory in the 2016 presidential election signified.
In an Undefeated article about Black voters’ reactions published soon after the election, Melvin Steals, a retired educator and school administrator living in western Pennsylvania, said of Trump’s victory, “Now we see what was hidden.” Steals, 70 at the time, went on to compare the outcome to the Great Redemption, the period after Reconstruction “when they wanted to eradicate all of the gains made by Blacks after the Civil War.”
“I’m working the voter protection hotlines and I’ve had some conversations with older voters that made me blush.”
“This is another opportunity to reassert their authority,” Steals added. “At the core there is something nefarious about it. It’s tied into White supremacy, that it’s their way or the highway.”
I remember the article well because Steals lived in a rural area that sounded a lot like the ones my dad and so many other members of my family were raised in. My folks were separately brought to Houston by their parents in search of more opportunity, but along the way they each experienced bigots like Donald Trump and those who make up his cult. They encountered them when they helped integrate Houston’s schools (well into the 1970s). They encountered them at their jobs. They encountered them in years past when trying to vote or simply just be. They encountered them while driving on any given street in Texas or Louisiana at any given time, only for a police officer to pull them over for dubious reasons.
Through my parents and grandparents, I learned a lot about White people and how racism actually functions in this country. How someone — even a clown like Donald Trump — could become president solely by stroking the fragile ego of the White electorate. That’s why when Trump asked Black voters “What have you got to lose?” four years ago, it didn’t require a great leap to consider the possibilities.
When a racist throwback promises to Make America Great Again — a campaign slogan previously popularized by other bigots like Ronald Reagan and Pat Buchanan — his intent shouldn’t be questioned.
In January, a Washington Post-Ipsos poll of Black people nationwide found that more than eight in 10 Black Americans say they believe Donald Trump is a racist and that he has made racism a bigger problem. Nine in 10 disapproved of his job performance at the start of the last year of his term. Moreover, 65% of Black respondents said it was a “bad time” to be a Black person in America — a view found to be “widely shared by clear majorities of Black adults across income, generational, and political lines.” By comparison, 77% of Black Americans polled said it was a “good time” to be a White person.
When the pandemic hit, all that was undoubtedly proven true.
The poll also found Black voters overwhelmingly committed to removing Trump for office, but I have heard no group more vocal about it than older Black voters like my mom.
I recently tweeted that “Hell hath no fury like the majority of Black people over the age of 60 talking about Donald Trump,” and soon after, got a lot more co-signers than the ones piling up in my text messages.
“If this is not my mother! I have to tell her to turn the news off!!!”
“I’m working the voter protection hotlines and I’ve had some conversations with older voters that made me blush (but also gave me a teeny tiny bit of hope!).”
“I have truly never heard my mother as engaged in and furious about national politics. I can barely get her off the phone once she gets going.”
“My mom is 75 and she has a rage I’ve never seen before.”
And one confession: “I guess I’m the mad mom in this group and I spend inordinately large amounts of time following Twitter while watching CNN. So, yeah, that asshole has got to go!”
Yes, ma’am. He does. For the good of the country, Black people who deserved more from this country, and Black people with family group chats being derailed by the news cycle.
Although I treasure every conservation I have with my mom, I’ve tried to find breaks from that man wherever I can. Sometimes, I have to say, “Oh, no, mama. Not that man. Not right now. I can’t.” Sometimes she has to say the same thing to me the next day. It’s just hard to ignore the President of the United States when he’s stoking a race war, ignoring a depression, and dancing to “YMCA” at a campaign rally he held despite most likely being contagious.
We do enjoy more pleasant conversations about Kamala Harris — mostly tied around her making Republicans squirm — but then Sweet Potato Saddam called her a “monster” and back to the fury it went.
She has far more reasons to be tired than I do. Imagine surviving Jim Crow and having to deal with White supremacy’s court jester in this stage of life. Knowing that your children and grandchildren not only have to contend with so many of the same problems you endured decades ago, but perhaps even worse realities should he be reelected. It must be so tiring to have to watch history repeat itself so often.
I’m not naive about America. I don’t think Donald Trump’s defeat alone will make my life remarkably better overnight. However, as tired as I am of racism and misogyny at its crudest and dumbest, I know that some of us have been tired for a lot longer. I hope it’s not only them voting at the levels necessary to remove Trump from power.