On election day, what kind of person will you be?

(Or: On Nov. 6th, White Supremacy or Nah?)

Source unknown.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War

What happened in Pittsburgh was a wake up call only for those who have enjoyed the luxury of equivocation. Today’s headlines pronounce that Trump has emboldened the white supremacists that were behind the pipe bombs, the killing of Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones in Kentucky, and the massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue. But this isn’t Trump’s America. This is our America. It’s the America that we’ve fed and nursed from our bosom engorged with amnesiac confidence. Some of us know that white supremacy is real, they just somehow think that as long as it remains in the shadows of the internet or interspersed between lamentations around the dinner table that it is somehow less dangerous. Others of us have been so deluded that they believe that if Trump went away, all we’ll need is a bit of healing to get over these dark ages. Then there are still others for whom every exercise of white supremacy seems to replace an ounce of hope with an ounce each of cynicism and anger. I am finding myself easily among the latter group and have friends in each of the others.

“The war between the ideal and the real, between what’s right and what’s convenient, between the larger good and personal interest is the contest that unfolds in the soul of every American.” John Meacham, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels

How we show up in our individual communities certainly matters, but that isn’t the territory for this battle. Our greatest opportunity to win this battle is next Tuesday, November 6th. Even I squirm at the simplistic notion of voting as an end to white supremacy. We all know that the numbers of Ds and Rs in and of itself is not an indicator of white supremacy’s advancement. What we do know, however, is that white supremacy has found a comfortable home in electoral politics and in the seats occupied by the current President of the United States and Republican members of Congress and Senate. (This should not, however, be confused with amnesty for Democratic members of Congress and Senate who knowingly support systems of supremacy.) It is incumbent on each of us to believe fiercely in the mechanics of Democracy in the same way that white supremacists have — with unshakeable confidence that they will be held accountable. Elected officials (mostly Republican) are afraid to denounce and disavow white supremacy and the actions of white supremacists for fear of losing a base of supporters that help keep them elected. Meanwhile, many of us — who are likely to vote Democrat — are hesitant to vote due to skepticism that elected officials will act on their behalf. In these cases, the marginalized become agents of our own demise and ideological purists simultaneously trade in their credibility for a withdrawal on white supremacy.

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Candace Bacchus Hollingsworth

Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and Former Mayor of Hyattsville, MD. Memphis Made & Raised. Ellis + Zora’s Mama. Black, not POC.