So what did we learn?
We learned that the end is just like the beginning. We learned that the mind can convince itself of anything. We learned that Trumpism doesn’t care about Black life, but we knew that. We learned that there are some Black people who will gain the world (or just white gaze) and lose their soul. We learned that Trump has a daughter named Tiffany and that Don Jr. might have a cocaine problem. We also learned that the Trump administration will stop at nothing to praise the Trump administration.
Basically we learned nothing and everything, but mostly nothing. The Praise Trumpathon has finally ended, and the orange bag of Jell-o extract has accepted the nomination and made yet another speech whistling directly to the fears of white America, who are so afraid that one day those who have been subjected to the violence of redlining, police brutality, the hot glares of suspicion, inferior schooling, housing, banking, living, wages, emergency room care are going to say enough. The funniest part of this whole thing, this American way of life, is that as unarmed Black people die in the streets and protests against their killings continue, more white people are mad at the reaction and not the act. They aren’t mad that Jacob Blake was shot in the back in front of his children; they’re mad that we are.
It’s all fucked up and bass ackwards, which is the only way to describe the president hosting some 1,000 people on the South Lawn of the White House—potentially violating federal law—without masks, during a global pandemic, to hear his acceptance speech. Since the Republican National Convention began just a few days ago, America has lost 3,200 people to the coronavirus, yet the president must feed his ego. And maybe that’s what we learned, or what we’ve always known, is that the president, much like that insatiable plant in Little Shop of Horrors, can’t get enough blood on his hands to be satisfied.
In one of the longest convention acceptance speeches ever, the lies continued, as to be expected; the callousness and the ability to blatantly ignore an entire group of Americans was also front and center. The president continued his claim as the best president for Black people since Abraham Lincoln, while completely ignoring the shooting of Jacob Blake and the Black American uprising that happened after George Floyd was killed and continued in the wake of Blake’s shooting. Trump condemned the violence during protests while ignoring the reason for said protests, but that’s been a hallmark of this presidency; this convenient willingness to simply ignore what is right in front of you.
And one by one, they all came out to offer their words of flattery to King Joffrey Baratheon, hoping that their lives would be spared and, in turn, they earned themselves favor. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was there, as was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), Sen. Tom Cotton, (R-Ark.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Rep. Jeff Van Drew, (R-N.J.,) the bastard who switched parties last year; Ivanka Trump, the president’s favorite child; White House adviser Ja’Ron Smith; Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, he of the teeth of rotten pebbles; Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and Alice Johnson, who Kim Kardashian, two black women and Trump freed from prison.
I honestly felt the worst for Johnson. I don’t know if she is a Trump supporter; I don’t know if she believed any of her speech, but I know that out of all the people who spoke on this night, she didn’t choose to be there. She had to be there. The president has proven two things since taking office that are unarguable: the president is a liar and he is vindictive. He’s used his position to take people’s jobs, he’s used his powerful social media platform to bash those who don’t agree with his policy. It’s not lost on me that Johnson could very easily be tossed back in prison because the president is a petty man. So while Johnson tried to steer her speech toward God and her faith, she ultimately had to declare President Trump a savior as well, and in doing so, became one in a series of Black faces who’ve declared that Trump’s not bad because I’m Black and I like him.
Like the neckless Ja’Ron Smith.
A Howard University grad (sorry, Howard) who claimed, “And, in the wake of the murder of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and LeGend Taliferro—a moment of national racial consciousness—I have seen his true conscience. I just wish every American could see the deep empathy he showed to families whose loved ones were killed in senseless violence.”
Fuck, we wish we could see it, too. And that’s what we really learned in the end of this four-day long retelling of what we’ve all witnessed: the president, or at least his staff, know what’s right and they just don’t give a fuck until it’s election time. Think about it: Why drag this neckless nigga on stage to declare that the president has a heart if the White House isn’t aware that he’s heartless? This has all been propaganda at the highest level and these niggas (Smith, Carson, Herschel Walker, etc.) have been the “prop” part of it.
So maybe what we’ve learned is everything we’ve already known: that the white gaze is as powerful as heroin to those who long for it. The president is still a liar, Alice Johnson may or may not actually fuck with this president, and never under any circumstances trust a nigga with no neck even if he went to Howard.