The effects of tyranny will not be spread evenly among the masses.
It is not mandated—or wise, even—for a tyrannical government to be indiscriminate in its oppression. Tyranny cannot survive for long on universal oppression before descending into anarchy, so it is critical to the survival of tyranny—the tyrant, more specifically—that systems of hierarchy be installed to pacify those who may otherwise be driven to dissent.
Our nation wades these waters today.
By now, the story has grown old enough to become legend. The official declaration of presidential candidate Donald Trump last June has been reimagined in numerous ways, and a great many of them excuse the outright bigotry in his first statement to the public in favor of recollections more rosy. The world he’s since birthed makes this task not just herculean but literally impossible. Donald Trump’s presidency—hubristic, clumsy, and disinterested in the minutia as it is—may well crash and burn. If and when it does, however, it will not have done so before its figurehead took steps toward fulfilling his campaign promises of exclusion and ethnically-based social stratification.
Donald Trump will not “drain the swamp,” as he claimed. He will segregate it by clarifying its beneficiaries and banishing whoever remains.
Trump’s behaviors tell us the primary beneficiaries of his vision will be those among his racial kin. He has expressed his own personal bigotry and has empowered several who’ve garnered infamy for the oppression of, or apathy toward, ethnic minorities.
White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon formerly headed Breitbart, a site which he proudly boasted as a hub for the white nationalist “alt-right” movement. The site has routinely published racist conspiracy theories and provided a platform for writers endorsing ethnic cleansing.
Trump’s attorney general nominee, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions III, once claimed the Ku Klux Klan were “OK” and deemed civil rights organizations “un-American,” comments that were enough to quash his 1986 bid to become a district judge. Sessions has since supported deconstructing the Voting Rights Act during a period in which states and municipalities continue to pass voter registration and re-districting measures disempowering minority voters.
Standing upon this record, Senator Sessions is soon to be named the nation’s top lawyer.
Trump’s Treasury Secretary nominee, Steve Mnuchin, formed and invested in OneWest bank, which is now the defendant in a housing discrimination lawsuit.
And Trump’s HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, who will head the department responsible for tending to these claims of discrimination, has forebodingly declared himself unqualified for the job.
This litany is exhausting, but it is hardly exhaustive. In the current administration, this is the norm, and exceptions are yet to be seen.
For a significant many, corruption and cronyism which serves to reinforce racial hierarchy is, in fact, not corruption at all.
These selections and their intended damage to ethnic minorities will not occur contrary to the wishes of Trump voters. This is the damage they were promised, and it remains important to frame any analysis of the Trump presidency such that it always acknowledges the transaction taking place. It was not corruption or cronyism which animated the Trump electorate, but rather corruption and cronyism being leveraged to upset America’s ethnic caste. In Hillary Clinton, they feared this most.
One cannot look at Donald Trump and fail to see cronyism and elitism personified, in part because that is the character he has always professed himself to be. His claims of incomparable wealth and privilege, his haughty posturing, his self-aggrandizing boasts of political maneuvering and manipulation were all traits his voters celebrated in him but loathed in Hillary Clinton. But Trump ― unlike Clinton ― promised never to wield his tools toward the betterment of Black and brown people, and this is a promise he is positioning himself to keep.
To this point, there is a frustrating peculiarity to the belief among non-Trump voters that the current president’s supporters will grow weary of his ethical infractions and moral malevolence. The wait for this breaking point will be eternal.
Instead, what we find is that, for a significant many, corruption and cronyism which serves to reinforce racial hierarchy is, in fact, not corruption at all. It is the presumed natural order. And there is no concession Donald Trump’s devoted fellowship of majority-white American traditionalists will refuse to make, so long as the result of that concession is the maintenance of American racism.
This, in America, is the ecosystem: a host of mantras—“freedom,” “equality,” “unity”—serve as a cloak while the machinations beneath reveal a world more sinister, a society more finessed. That Donald Trump has been selected to head this society is no mistake and, in fact, a harbinger of the potential nadir to come. There will be no racial reconciliation. That wasn’t in the pact.
American idealism will be a tenet of the Trump era, and this idealism is not some sort of confine with a discernible border and clear, attainable values. It is an amoeba which contorts when it must to deny whom it must, and those who were not autonomous at America’s advent are not to be reimagined so today.