Contrary to what most people think, almost every black person I know honestly believes in the noble ideals of America.
We think it is self-evident that all men are created equal. The history of Africans in America is nothing if not the desperate, fruitless pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. We want to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, too. But something keeps preventing that from happening.
That “something” is white people.
Not all white people.
While the apathetic, the nonplussed, the indifferent and fence-riding Caucasians might not necessarily hate black people, when push comes to shove, they will often choose to ignore racism for the sake of their own advancement. They already have the privilege of living in a nation that offers them liberty and justice for all. Even though they may believe in these ideals, they are unlikely to risk their place atop the mountaintop to help anyone else reach the summit.
And no one knows this better than a black Democrat.
The Democratic Party’s success depends solely on non-white voters. Most white voters (51 percent) identify as Republican while the vast majority of Asian American voters (65 percent), Hispanic voters (63 percent) and black voters (84 percent) identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, according to Pew Research.
But when white Democrats claim they want one nation with liberty and justice for all, black people know that when it comes time for the party to make a hard choice, the Democratic Party will choose power. It will choose to delay justice. It will choose political expediency.
It will choose whiteness.
The reluctance of Democratic Party leaders to impeach Donald Trump is indicative of this incontrovertible truth. Nancy Pelosi and the mostly white party leadership is resisting the growing chorus of black voters calling for impeachment. And let’s be clear, it is a black chorus. A recent CNN national poll (pdf) shows that 59 percent of non-whites favor impeaching Trump while only 31 percent of whites do.
Part of the reason for this is that—despite most Americans disapproving of the job he is doing as president—most white people are not substantively affected by Trump. Even if they disagree with his policies, their children aren’t being put in cages. They don’t have to deal with a Muslim travel ban. They aren’t being profiled as “black identity extremists.” No one asks for their citizenship papers. They are immune to the rise in hate crimes and right-wing violence.
The Democratic Party will fight for the equality of all unless it costs them a little white supremacy. Not only is the party willing to ignore Trump’s misdeeds in office, but the excuses for their hesitancy are rooted in the historical rhetoric of supposed allies ignoring racism unless it personally benefits them.
Tell me if you’ve heard these before:
Impeachment proceedings would fail in the Senate
On April 5, 2015, Los Angeles police officer Clifford Proctor shot 29-year-old Brendon Glenn in the head. The special commission investigated the incident, wrote up a report and gave it to LA County prosecutor Jackie Lacey, saying a “reasonable officer” would not have viewed Glenn as a threat. Witnesses agreed. The LAPD chief recommended charges. The city awarded Glenn’s family $4 million.
But Proctor never faced charges because Lacey did not think a jury would convict the police officer.
In an impeachment trial, the Senate essentially act as the jury. According to some political strategists, if House Democrats vote to impeach Trump, it would likely fail in the Senate because Republicans would never vote in favor of ousting Trump from office.
After a failed impeachment trial, Trump, being the person he is, would claim that he was exonerated, a claim that would be buttressed by his propagandists at Fox News (as if Trump would ever admit he was wrong). So, instead of fulfilling their constitutional duties, Pelosi and her cabal of soothsaying moderates have chosen to sidestep justice in favor of politics.
This is the kind of justice that black people have become accustomed to. Democrats won’t pursue justice because they assume the all-white, Republican jurors won’t convict him. This is the same reason why the killers of Alton Sterling, Emantic Bradford Jr., Korryn Gaines and Eric Garner never faced a jury in a criminal trial.
This is the definition of injustice.
Let the ongoing investigations continue
Almost five years after the whole world witnessed Eric Garner dying with a police officer’s arm around his throat, the NYPD is still investigating whether or not it was a chokehold. Footage of Sandra Bland’s 2015 arrest wasn’t released until a few weeks ago, because of an “ongoing investigation.” Emmett Till’s murder is still being investigated, over a half-century later.
Even when something is readily apparent, they will trot out the “ongoing investigations” excuse as the first line of defense. Robert Mueller wrote an entire report that more than 1,000 prosecutors say shows obstruction of justice, yet Nancy Pelosi wants to “investigate.”
White people really trust investigations.
Trump and his cohorts continue to defy congressional subpoenas and refuse to comply with investigators. Meanwhile, House Democrats resort to sending sternly worded letters as their solution to someone whose campaign may have undermined the very fabric of democracy.
Only a white man could get out of obstruction of justice charges by obstructing justice.
And only a group of spineless white people would seek answers in the same justice system that is being obstructed.
“White people won’t like it...”
Although Democrats might not say this explicitly, the idea that impeachment proceedings would be divisive is based on the fear that Trump’s base—pronounced “hoowyatt pee pole”—would start a Caucasian revolt that could divide America.
If the Democrats’ ultimate goal is to retain the House and take back the Senate, this ain’t the way to do it. Trump’s dwindling base is never ever going to vote for Democratic candidates and there is no proof that impeachment would turn off moderate voters.
Joy Reid explains it best:
But, like always, the Democratic Party’s white leadership is willing to turn its back on its black base to appeal to white moderates. They never worry about what black people won’t like because—for many black voters—supporting the Democratic Party is the result of choosing between the lesser of two evils.
Make the 2020 Election a referendum on Trump
This, of course, is the whitest excuse of all, for a number of reasons including:
- The unfounded assumption that white people won’t vote for Trump again. Remember four years ago when everyone assumed that Hillary Clinton would automatically become president? The people who voted for Trump in 2016 knew he was a lying, incompetent, racist narcissist. What has changed since then? He’s still the same person and why would anyone think that white people have come to their senses since then?
- The privileged assumption that every vote counts. We know that black people are disproportionately disenfranchised through voter ID laws, purges, gerrymandering and numerous other tricks. Leaving Trump’s fate up to voters ignores the fact that white votes count more.
- The false assumption that voting is secure. Lest we forget, the one undisputed conclusion in the Mueller report is that Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election. We know that they targeted all 50 states, successfully breached a few states’ election systems and were “in a position” to alter voter rolls in Florida. After four years of practice, why wouldn’t we assume they’ll do it again?
- The assumption that the Constitution doesn’t matter. While leaving it up to the American people to vote Trump out of office for his crimes seems like a reasonable compromise, it is actually unconstitutional. If one believes Trump is guilty of obstructing justice, colluding with a foreign government or being unfit for office, the Constitution provides only one option: Impeachment. It is impossible to know what every single voter wants, but there is only one thing every member of Congress has sworn to do:
I, ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
The white-run Democratic Party doesn’t want to impeach Trump just yet. They are perfectly fine with an outright racist keeping his seat as the most powerful man in the world for another year-and-a-half because they want to win an election.
And I understand.
I want Trump impeached, but as a black man, I understand that America has never been the land of the free or the home of brave. White America, powerful people and politicians, in general, have always found a way to skirt the law for political expedience, money and/or power. Black people are used to them clogging the path of liberty. We have become accustomed to white people obstructing justice but we still believe in the idea of an America that treats everyone the same and metes out justice equally.
We just haven’t seen it yet.
Perhaps my greatest wish is that there actually was a flag that represented an indivisible nation that offered liberty and justice for all. If that country ever comes into existence, trust me...
I’d pledge the fuck out of my allegiance.