The Ancestors And Our Vote

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

The day we’ve all been waiting for, November 3rd, has come on gone. How are you feeling? Anxious, I bet. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s a collective state most Americans are in, including the spirits of the ancestors. With votes still being counted, it’s a sad realization despite the rhetoric of having far more in common than not, this election proved we’re not a united nation. We’re learning that more Black men voted for Trump this election cycle; jumping from 13% in 2016 to 18% in 2020. Also Black women, according to the NYT, doubled their support—from 4% to 8%—for a race agitator who referred to African countries as “shithole countries” and has consistently disrespected nearly every woman of color covering him. And, the number of white women who supported this foul-mouthed crotch grabbing president who doesn’t care about caging babies and separating families at our southern border jumped from 42% to 55%. Sadly, even the LGBTQ+ community increased their support for a president who stated multiple times that he doesn’t support gay marriages. The illusion of America is real. Our life predicted on screen is not.

This election outcome is another reminder that it is in our ancestors that we can discover ourselves and demonstrate their teachings of our social functions. And these last 4 years of the Trump administration have been a lesson in humility, hope and hate: a lesson on humility because trump reminded us of the fragility of our sacred human bonds and the tenacity of racism; a lesson of hope because these deeply troubling times under Trump’s so-called leadership suggests that to make America truly great will require a renewed commitment to the ideals of a blossoming nation yet to be fully satisfied and equally felt by all her people; and a lesson in hate because Trump reminded us that this nation remains deeply divided by it.

“I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”Lyndon B. Johnson

It’s unconscionable that our country, specifically the Republican Party, that proudly bombed ISIS in the name of democracy and to end their reign of terror across Iraq and Syria has adopted ISIS like tactics of loaded trucks with violent flag flying intimidation, blatant voter suppression and engaging in race fueled domestic terrorism. This nation is eating itself from the inside as the founding fathers warned could happen. It’s become a gang war; Red vs. Blue. That’s how much we have cheapened our country. We bomb developing country’s to adopt our ways and yet, we fight each other mirroring what we fight to stop in so-called hostile nations. These are ever changing times. And the 2020 election is a stark reminder of the rising tide of American racism fueled and emboldened by an unhinged madman at the helm of the most powerful nation in the world.

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” – Abraham Lincoln

Setting aside the devastating impact of Trump’s mishandling of COVID-19, money, power and race were the main actors in this election cycle. Money because the rich want to get richer at all cost, even by deteriorating a nation they claim to be patriots of. Make no mistake, they won’t stop sending jobs overseas for cheap labor and interference from human rights watchdogs. The elites make it abundantly clear; money over humanity and decency is their way forward in our democracy. And basic fairness has no practical value from their perch. It’s hard to accept billionaires fighting against paying Americans a living wage of $15 an hour but that’s the ugly truth of the matter. And yet, they’ve managed to convince even the poorest whites to adopt their position with lies and brainwashing tactics of government overreach and the unfulfilled promise of a trickle-down economy. If that’s not power, you don’t know what it is. South Carolinians refused to hold Lindsey Graham accountable with his own words. Maine voters are sending Susan Collins back to Washington despite setting women’s rights back several decades with her votes and shamefully supporting this boorish president who paid off the stripper he was cheating with while rubbing elbows with a powerful and bold pedophile. And Kentucky is a prime example of successfully convincing the neediest Americans to cast a vote against their own self interests. And unfortunately, the truth about Mitch McConnell’s track record has fallen on racist deaf ears amongst the poorest and least educated Americans, with Kentuckians voting for the 7th time to stunt their progress, throwing away an opportunity to rise from the depths of their poverty and educational access by reelected the sickly man who has only enriched himself and his family. Imagine the level of deep rooted racism that requires. 

 “The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.” – John Lewis

These words echo across our nation from beyond the boundaries where the ancestors roam. They left us the tools we need to improve the walk of life. Their wisdom is meant to guide us in forming a more perfect union. And yet, the fight for the soul of our nation in the era of Donald Trump has derailed us from the tracks of decency and humanity like the ill-fated Germans before WWII. That this election wasn’t a hands-down defeat for a madman likened to Hitler is personally demoralizing. I’m left feeling suspicious and even fearful of some of my white countrymen who make up 70% of voters, and who clearly harbor all that Trump represents; hate and intolerance of others in a country made rich by enslaved Africans; my ancestors.

When the election results are finally settled may this land, formed by the sweat, blood and tears of my enslaved ancestors, perform the Day of Death dance by ancient Africans, singing:

Natir ben be, O yi ye’e; O yi Man gon, O yi ye’e.

Here there are sores, May they go away; Across the river, May they go away.

Today, we find ourselves in an unholy place, not just because the Trump family represents America’s sore, but because they constitute all seven deadly sins, from gluttony, greed, wrath, lust, sloth, envy to pride. And a Biden win is how this ancient purification ceremony will symbolically wash away their stain on the White House and in due time, America.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.