CHARLENEM, Brian Muhammad, J.A. Salaam -Final Call Staffers-
‘Ugly days ahead,’ regardless of winner of 2016 presidential election
America is on the brink of destruction if the vitriol between candidates in the November national election continues.
Political analysts warn the tug of war between Donald Trump, the Republican Party candidate, and Hillary Clinton the Democratic Party standard bearer, is pointing to a critical crossroad for the United States, like times leading up to the Civil War.
“I feel like we’re in this moment that is comparable perhaps in some ways rhetorically to 1859, 1860, and even though I think that, I hope that cooler heads will prevail,” said Tim Wise, anti-racism activist and author.
“I wouldn’t put all my money on that, and I certainly think we need to be ready for some pretty ugly days ahead, regardless of what happens on Nov. 8,” Mr. Wise told The Final Call.
Divided politics, divided country
The hostile political climate is shaping up to similar tensions in the 1800s rooted in national division along ideological lines. The Civil War is a central event in American history fought primarily over the question of slavery.
Today the country is divided against itself at another critical juncture, which Dr. Wilmer Leon, host of “Inside the Issues” heard on Sirius-XM Radio, agrees is like a new civil war.
“The fear amongst predominately high school educated, White males is that the White privilege that they were told they were entitled to is no longer a privilege,” said Dr. Leon. “These are the White people that the real White people left behind,” he said.
Dr. Leon sees the animosity as a carryover of barefaced racism and proverbial shock of the hour over the 2008 election of President Barack Obama.
In the closing days of Mr. Obama’s presidency with the rough and tumble campaign to replace him, concerns from the White demographic are prominent in political discourse, but included in the national conversation are voices of Whites that have been called the fringe element on the right. The racial dynamic of having a Black president the last eight years has pushed these voices to the front.
Those voices include segments of White America, which now comprise the Trump machine, and who have figured out that they are unlikely of winning elections, at least at the national level by normal democratic means, said Mr. Wise. Except for a few Whites, most people aren’t into the “alt-right,” he said.
His fear has always been that segment would look around and say what many are saying right now: “If Hillary Clinton wins, it’s time for revolution. It’s time for armed struggle. It’s time for assassination.”
Mr. Trump stated during the Oct. 19 presidential debate that he would keep America in suspense when asked whether he would accept the outcome of the 2016 election. The next day he said he’d accept the outcome if he wins.
His remarks came days after he told supporters Ms. Clinton wants to destroy their Second Amendment right, the right to bear arms, and that it “would be very dangerous” if her bodyguards’ guns were taken away.
Mr. Wise hopes it’s all talk, and doesn’t believe it’s most of Mr. Trump’s supporters. But even if it’s 10 percent, that means about 40 million votes, 10 percent who are “locked, loaded, and dangerous,” he said.
They are committed to the notion that somehow their country is being stolen by people of color, by Muslims, by liberals, by feminists, by gays and lesbians, the cabal of global bankers or whatever it is that Mr. Trump is saying, Mr. Wise added. He is also Caucasian.
Racial animus and armed revolution?
Income stagnation and census projects Whites will be an American minority by 2047, which has given rise to scapegoating Blacks and Latinos.
Many Whites believe under President Obama, resources were wasted on “lazy, shiftless” minorities, Dr. Leon said. Their disdain manifested in an increase of gun sales, hate groups and extrajudicial police killings of Blacks, he said.
Experts say White anti-government “patriot” groups reached an unprecedented 1,360 organizations in 2012, and hard core hate groups have risen to more than 1,000.
Dr. Leon stated, “It’s a class issue driven by race.” Whites would choose war between themselves or against the government before being the underdog, he predicted. Whites feel victimized, marginalized and in a state of decline after centuries of rule and enjoying a privileged position.
Some analysts also surmise that some Whites are in a precarious situation, fighting for their place in a changing America. Their struggle is returning to a time when White supremacy ruled unchallenged. Their discontent is grown more malicious and extreme.
Boiled down into one phrase, the history of America is the history of rich, White men telling working class and lower middle class poor White people that their problems are Brown folks, Mr. Wise said.
“I think in general terms, White people are not treated fairly,” said Henry Wolff, assistant editor of the online “American Renaissance Magazine” dedicated to White nationalism. “White men especially are the kind of one group that you are allowed to disparage,” he told The Final Call.
Mr. Wolff advocates “race realism” and lifting the subject of “White identity” among White people. He argues Whites are resistant to talking openly and honestly about the issue.
Mr. Trump resonates with White nationalists and extremists and is regarded as a last hope.
There is apprehension about how far Mr. Trump and his supporters would go to gain power if defeated. Trailing and upsetting the Republican establishment, with no indicators show him conceding anything, Mr. Trump has already created a kind of political crisis.
A choice between two evils
The Republican Party surely will squash Mr. Trump once he loses the election, predicted Yoele Haile, political director of the Afrikan Black Coalition, a collective of Black Student Unions throughout California.
“At some point, I believe they’re going to employ their law and order tactic against their own and put him down, because what he’s doing so far is detrimental to their agenda, because he is exposing all the things they say and do in private,” Mr. Haile told The Final Call.
As Blacks are concerned, this is a White affair, and the more they fight and weaken each other, the stronger the chance Blacks have at dealing with Whites Mr. Haile said.
Both candidate’s lack of popularity have increased attention and support for third political parties in the race for presidency, such as the Green Party, which Mr. Haile said he wished would focus on local rather than presidential elections. The latter is so rigged, it’s almost impossible to do anything, he stated.
“In places like California where I think there is an opportunity to go the grassroots level and take over the school boards, city councils, and county supervisor positions, and some district state assembly seats, I think if the Green Party’s serious, that’s where it needs to turn its attention to,” Mr. Haile said.
On the presidential level, the best they could hope for is an alternative discussion, but not material impact on people’s lives, he argued.
Millennials, considered a driving force in these elections, know Mr. Trump is a fascist, and Ms. Clinton’s a war monger, he said. She’s maybe an inch better than Mr. Trump, but it’s no change to the system, he said.
The Afrikan Black Collective is focusing on ballot measures it believes will have immediate impact, such as the death penalty, sentencing, and parole eligibility.
“In terms of the national presidential elections, it’s just a lost cause for us,” said Mr. Haile.
“Here we are now at the time of one of the most fateful elections in the history of America,” said the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan during his Oct. 16 keynote speech for the 21st anniversary of the Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement in Atlanta.
“In this political season, we have two people: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump calls Hillary ‘Crooked Hillary,’ and then from the other side, he is called ‘Lying Trump,’ ” Min. Farrakhan said.
The Muslim leader spoke to the divisive presidential campaign and upheaval as the American people are asked to choose between “liars” and the lesser of two evils. However, the Black, Brown, Red and many poor Whites are in the middle, and their conditions remain the same, regardless of which party that wins elections, he said.
Minister Farrakhan advocates the position of his teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation of Islam, who called for separation and advised to “vote for Allah (God) to be your ruler and come follow me.”
“If I have to vote for Satan or Lucifer, I don’t have much of a choice there. I would rather vote for Christ,” Minister Farrakhan said.
It is going to be rough, regardless of who wins, said Opio Sokoni, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based activist and professor.
Mr. Trump is employing tactics used by some international strong men, where he’s setting things up since he’s figured he won’t win the election, he said.
Alleging the election is rigged, getting people riled up, threatening violence, are all things which ultimately tear smaller countries apart, Dr. Sokoni pointed out.
“He’s doing that, but because the elections here are a bit decentralized, it’s kind of hard to do some major rigging of elections,” Dr. Sokoni stated.
“It’s all interesting stuff, but when you have somebody like a Donald Trump, it’s interesting because he’s basically breaking his party up. It could make his party better, greater, or even worse,” said the Florida-based analyst.
America can find peace, but a concerted effort on all parts is required, said Helen Butler, executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, and convener of the Georgia Black Women’s Roundtable and Board of Elections.
That would require a state-by-state, community by community strategy, she said.
“The thing is, a lot of people are talking about dead people. Dead people are not voting,” Ms. Butler said. The voters rolls are purged, and there’s no way for many dead people to be on the rolls, unless somebody died 90 days before the elections and would still be on the list, she explained.
Use paper ballots, not provisional ballots or machines, to allay the fears of those concerned about fraud, she suggested.
Distrust in failed politics
The current racial climate in America is no different than it has always been, said Bob Law, legendary radio broadcaster, and national political activist.
Mr. Trump is uncovering more of the animus, he told The Final Call. “People are saying the country is polarized, but not with racism, but that’s not true. It’s the racism that’s making it polarized,” Mr. Law said. Black or White, elected officials have failed to serve the people, he said.
“Blacks in office is just symbolism, because they don’t offer policy change and empowerment for Blacks. Many of our people don’t participate in the political process, because they have not ever got anything from it, and, they have little trust in politicians because they have performed poorly to the people who needed them the most,” continued Mr. Law.
It’s time for Blacks to step back into the forefront of struggle, he said. “We might not see justice in our life time, but we are willing to continue to fight for it?” Mr. Law asked.