The change felt instantaneous as I stood at 17th and K Street on a rainy January 19, 2017. I watched with sadness as the hope of America’s racial progression, the Obama administration, departed Washington, DC. As that hope left DC, the Trumplutocracy descended on our city. That day, the DC sky filled with ominous clouds of spiritual decay that seemed to affix themselves permanently.
a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.
They brought with them—the clouds and the administration—the dystopian gloom recognizable as a repressive regimes ascends to power.
Ignorance and miserable hatred overwhelmed a capital city where some of the country’s most educated elite live. It felt like the suffocating spiritual squalor it is.
But that’s not a new experience to DC or even America, especially African Americans. It’s an experience consistent with America’s racist identity where whites always fight for supremacy.
That forces people of color to live in a seemingly permanent state of dystopia no matter how far we rise educationally, politically and economically. Trump’s recently calling Barack Obama a criminal and attempting to gut his legacy reinforces that white supremacist identity and its objectives.
Worse, Trump’s administration represents a devolution in America politics and society. It’s comprised mostly of older, wealthy, white, and male plutocrats. These are the genetic and psychological descendants of the white oligarchs who created the white supremacist construct in this country in the first place. They intend to uphold that system at any cost to the rest of America.
The primarily white supremacist, greedy, and corporatist cabal also represents some of the least experienced officials in American government history. It’s proven itself to be a barely presidential administration and a quite dangerous one.
This scourge is what replaced Obama’s younger, hipper, more diverse, smart, classy, and professional team.
Swamp Monsters Invade
Trump brought with him the swamp he claimed he’d drain and has been pulling putrid gangrenous bodies from it to staff his administration since. They’ve infested the city with some of the humankind’s most vile moral afflictions, representing America’s worst failings.
In a relative few days after the inauguration, Trump’s people changed the character of a city that had finally come into its own under Obama. Like a city suddenly choked by a life-threatening anaphylaxis, DC no longer feels like the vibrant, creative, psychically safe city I returned to two years ago.
I came back to the area, where I’d previously lived in the Maryland suburbs, to restore my life after nearly a decade of distress, mostly a byproduct of living in America’s still deeply racist Deep South. For me, there was an inescapable spiritual barrenness that seemed to pervade the atmosphere there.
Though I knew the environment there was a clear reflection of America’s racial character, returning to DC meant feeling less oppressed than staying in the Deep South. With the arrival of the Trumplutocracy, that spiritual desolation now overshadows the city I’ve come to love.
Like it is for most city residents, DC is my home, and the Trumplutocracy represents an ongoing, citywide home invasion. Unlike the Obama administration, Trump’s oligarch’s, ruling from the National Capital Service Area, has transformed the city back into its fiefdom.
Unfortunately, since the Constitution gave Congress control over the city as a federal district, that’s easy to accomplish. DC is still a territory of the US, like Guam or Puerto Rico. Congress controls DC’s budget, appoints DC’s judges and frequently vetos what most DC residents support. We are taxed with no voting representation.
But, what makes the Trumplutocracy different from most recent administrations is it’s full of overt racists complete with an antebellum America racist ideology. It threatens to turn DC back into one massive plantation with Trump as the Massa and his swamp monsters marauding its grounds like overseers.
Not Just An Extension of the US Government
The Trumplutocracy isn’t alone in its perspective of DC. Many people outside of “the Nation’s Capital” see the city the way they do. The seat of US federal government, it was chartered in 1790 primarily for that purpose. The city’s design came to be with the drama for which it’s known.
Though he gets little credit for it at times, African American astronomer and surveyor, Benjamin Banneker, designed it’s streets and layout from memory after the original designer, Frenchman Pierre L’Enfant, stormed off the job. From the beginning, DC’s storied history has been dramatic with much of that occurring in both its city and the federal government.
But, as I did before moving to the city proper, most imagine that the entire 63 square mile city, with a population larger than Wyoming and Vermont, is subsumed by federal government activities transpiring in the National Capital Service Area of the city. But, that’s a tiny part of the city’s business, and despite having the quadrants where its 120 neighborhoods thrive center around the US Capitol, DC as a city has grown well beyond its original purpose.
It’s a true city that has a dynamic history with family narratives that go well beyond its celebrities. It has a history of activism going back long before the famous marches whose leaders that get credit for DC’s activism. In 1800, when Congress made DC a city, its residents began fighting for both equity and equality with the rest of America.
DC once had the moniker “Chocolate City” because its African American population dominated the city at 70 percent by 1975. But, by then, it was a gritty urban enclave like most cities dominated by African Americans. DC was abandoned by investors and white residents. Powerful whites who remained dominated both city and federal government and used economic oppression to marginalize blacks, enacting policies that supported systemic racism.
When African-American mayor, Anthony William came to power in 1999, he pushed DC development aggressively, attracting white investors, their money, and their power. The city’s growth accelerated under the Bush and Obama administrations, inevitably bringing gentrification.
Today, some call DC Latte City since the population dropped from 61 percent black when Williams took power to around 50 percent now. It’s rapidly nearly 50 percent white today by some counts. Thus, the ever-evolving neighborhoods here have the same urban challenges of rapidly gentrifying capital cities in other states. That includes increasing progressive racism as well as persistent segregation by class and race that sustain pockets of poverty.
Though many DC residents are “Washington lifers” who work in and around government, not all residents are. Besides students of all ages and the college faculty who teach them, many residents here work in private industry not associated with the federal government. Large numbers are consultants or small business owners.
But, we don’t just work here. This city is home for us. It’s where we live, raise families, worship, create, play, and connect with friends in our unique neighborhoods. It’s where we do life.
It also voted 90% Democrat in the presidential election so Trump and his cartel of Washington outsiders, mostly from Wall Street it seems, are an unwelcome presence. The disaffection with GOP under Obama and even previous Republican administrations that felt more tolerable before is now insufferable for most Washingtonians.
Our Experience Echoes Across America
Washingtonians aren’t as disconnected with the rest of America as many think. We’re aware that Americans in other parts of the country experience the same foreboding enveloping their communities as we have with the arrival of the #Trumplutocracy. Many Americans woke up in shock the day after the presidential election feeling gut-punched, a sensation that persists among many, especially white progressives.
It appeared to most that racism and bigotry beat back the purported progressivism that got America’s first black president elected, threatening to turn the White House back into the Cracker Crib. The “People’s House” would once again be dominated by “crackers,” those white overseers who cracked whips on enslaved African American bodies from local plantations who toiled on White House grounds building this edifice to white slavers.
For the first time, many Americans felt the overwhelming sense of oppression they believed wasn’t still present in America. Most of those who cast votes on election day voted for forward progression in US history and politics they felt Hillary Clinton represented. Instead, they got what less than half the country voted for—historical and political regression they were shocked to learn so many of their fellow whites wanted.
While this was becoming a new America for many (mostly white) Americans, it was the overt manifestation of the racist inferno people of color knew still raged just below the surface of America. Many African-Americans here in DC who’ve experienced the city’s rapid transition to “latte-ness,” making it harder to be black here, understand how they felt.
This seething racism that’s a constant undercurrent in the lives of people of color had been waiting eight years to erupt and consume the country in its hateful flames. Most progressive white people had denied that racism persisted, though we told them repeatedly it was true.
Trump’s campaign and election only violently ripped open festering wounds barely held closed for 50 years, a situation that Trump takes no responsibility for facilitating.
Black Dystopia is White Racist Utopia
Quiet as it’s kept, many African Americans knew there would be a powerful whitelash against black Americans after Obama was officially out of office. Regardless of who took the White House, many of us believed that to be true and saw it coming as early as 2012 when Obama was re-elected. We saw Trump, who’d always hated Obama, as more overtly racist than Clinton, who helped enact policies under her husband that destroyed black lives.
So, few of us missed the symbolism inherent in the #Trumplutocracy’s descent on Washington, DC. This is the Nation’s Capitol, the national seat of federal authority. Trumpism now controls all three branches of federal government. The racist right is elated by this.
In the months since he’d won the election, his rapturous supporters have gleefully worshiped Trumpism, the revolting beast representing greed, hedonism, bigotry, and hatred. Supporters of the new regime, many who call themselves “Christians,” continue to dance euphorically around their golden orange calf. Trump is their Glorious Leader God Emperor, their symbol for white supremacy’s rise back to power in the 21st century.
It wasn’t just Trump who won, whiteness won. As this election’s victors, it’s the chance for whiteness to recoup its perceived losses and bring white authority back after eight years of Obama.
In fact, white nationalists want revenge against people of color, primarily blacks, whom they believe caused their decline in power and the loss America’s exceptionalism. They are nostalgic for the past where they’re could oppress blacks without consequence. They’re willing to inflict misery on blacks to regain the joy of uncontested brutal white power.
Under the leadership of Trump’s dangerous racist surrogates like Steve Bannon and Steven King, they’re launching a campaign to restore America to the years when violent oppression was our dystopian reality. Fearful of their rapid decline in population and power, white nationalists relish the return of America to its racist heyday. They’re elated to see white supremacy re-enshrined in Washington, DC and bringing post-Reconstruction racial suppression back. The enshrining of Trumplutocrats represents racial nirvana to whites.
As they did by criminalizing blackness during African enslavement, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and well into the 1960s, they’re willing to continue inflicting ongoing physical pain and death on blacks to get that power back. Already, Trump’s policies reflect that by enhancing state authority to brutalize black and brown bodies, even to death.
His immediate implementation of policies that hurt African Americans proves the white racist’s Utopian ideal of America requires restoration of America’s dystopian racist identity.
Could Blacks Face Another Red Summer?
Trump’s election gives white nationalists hope that with a renewed chance to Make America White Again by making white dominance national policy again. They’re exhorting all “pure” whites to rise and take “their country” back. The white power movement’s goal is to make blacks, and other people of color will pay for eight years of Obama even if it means turning back the clock 98 years to 1919.
Blacks were returning from World War I, after nearly 370,000 of them, mostly drafted from the South, united with whites to defend America against a common enemy. They wanted the rights and respect they legitimately believed fighting in a US War earned them. But blacks also had been making strides throughout the 1910s fighting the hypocrisy that racism in America reflected.
They successfully dismantling institutional prejudices through court victories and protests; cultural, social and educational achievements; and, the growth of the NAACP to 90,000 members by 1919. Blacks felt more empowered, and the term “New Negro” started being bandied about in “polite” conversation, even showing up in newspapers, that era’s social media.
Like many whites have gotten weary of blacks’ new sense of liberation and their demands for increased rights and respect since Obama, they got tired of it then. To suppress blacks and restore their absolute control over black bodies, whites escalated violence against them. The bloodshed went on from April to October 1919.
But, blacks fought back, including by shooting at white people who attacked them, and race riots predominated the news that summer. Whites explosive brutality rose bringing with it lynchings and torching of black communities, sending blacks fleeing. False accusations of black crimes, including against white women, led to hundreds of deaths, mostly of blacks. White police and military quelled the violence, restoring peace and suppressing blacks.
Some historians and scholars see parallels between 1919 and 2017, especially with the rise of white supremacy to national power in response to black empowerment.
New Weapons Enforce Old Racist Ideology
Historically, white racist movements to disenfranchise black Americans have meant virulent white barbarism against blacks. Their savagery worsens with every white repression campaign against African Americans.
That’s a frightening thought considering the difference in weaponry in 2017 from 1919. Today, America’s predominantly white militarized law enforcement has access to drones, acoustic, chemical and electronic weapons, and other tools of advanced warfare that don’t require direct combat.
These weapons, similar to those used in foreign war theaters, can attack hundreds of targets at once and injure or kill them. In recent years, law enforcement showed their willingness to deploy these weapons to quell dissent. Most recently, they used them at Standing Rock.
Moreover, as they do under the Targeted Killing of Americans program, it’s possible for unseen American military personnel and private military contractors to conduct government-sponsored actions remotely against fellow Americans. All that’s necessary is for the people launching the campaigns to use government authority to label blacks enemy combatants during racial conflicts as they have in the past.
Under the Trumplutocracy, this weaponry is now controlled by emboldened white supremacists governing openly from the National Capital Service Area. With their dehumanizing view of people of color, especially African Americans, they won’t hesitate to use it for any racial suppression operations they’re planning to execute.
Hopelessness Is Not the Solution
Everyone who knows me well knows I’m a strong woman of true Christian faith and a woman of hope. You may not share my faith beliefs; yours may be entirely different, like many of my close friends is. I respect that. This is still America no matter what Trump is doing.
I’m not going to preach (because I’m not called to that). But I am going to speak from my faith perspective here.
No matter what it looks like, we aren’t totally powerless. We don’t have to make this mere man with feet of cracked orange clay the demigod his supporters are. He is not a god. He sure is not my God.
He is not all powerful. God is all powerful.
He is not in complete control. Good Heavens! That man isn’t even in control of himself!
Despite how it appears, God is still God. He’s in control even if He is permitting this man and his cronies to think they are…for now
So, like good Americans, we must resist. Whether we do so through prayer or protest, we must resist. As a strong women of faith, I intend to do both–war in prayer and war on this blog, on social media and wherever else it makes sense.
But, what I will not do is cede my power to the Machiavellian, unGodly, dynastic Trumplutocrats that have descended on this city and on our country. It is still our country, all of ours.
Let’s work together take our country back.
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(c) 2017. Dahna M. Chandler for New Fourth Estate Media, LLC. No partial or full republishing of this post is allowed without written permission.