President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland.
Photo: Chris McGrath (Getty Images)

Wow! Did you see the season finale of America yesterday? Totally didn’t see that coming. I know there was this whole buildup when that crazy President Trump got elected in 2016, and the storyline kinda got bogged down last season with the whole “find his tax returns” thing, but what a cliff-hanger! I mean who could’ve predicted that Vladimir Putin was behind Trump’s election the whole time? And then Trump just admits it to the world, on some “I’m Iron Man” ish? Can’t wait for next season, if you know, the show actually gets renewed.

Which we all know it will.

If Trump’s America were actually a television show, I’m not sure how long it would actually last because the audience would stop believing the storylines. I mean come on, the guy (seemingly) lusts after his daughter, cheats on his wife, can’t get it up and still gets elected president? At least Frank Underwood was smart.

Advertisement

All the black characters keep getting written off the show or are sniveling Uncle Ruckus-types. The rest of the cast are a bunch of mustache-twirling racists and wife beaters—it’s almost as though once HBO cast Confederate aside, they decided to just integrate the show into the White House and save production costs. Yet, despite the long list of horrible things that Trump and his minions have done since getting into the White House in 2016, Monday’s press conference after the “summit” with Vladimir Putin is supposedly the last straw for so many people.

Black people have seen this show before. There was that short-lived series of Republican “disgust” after the Access Hollywood tape. The line in the sand after Charlottesville, Va.; the same after “shithole countries.” Within a few weeks, everyone is back to their jobs. However, this time black folks should actually stay tuned in. Monday’s show has some long-term implications and you don’t want to binge watch what America’s got planned after the Trump and Putin summit.

White liberals and conservatives can debate back and forth on just how bad the Trump-Putin alliance is or just what is the proper tone of deference that needs to be had in complaining about Monday’s events, black and brown folks should know better. Yes, Trump’s supplication to Putin is a danger to American sovereignty and likely causes irreparable damage to NATO allies. However, there is an even more immediate impact at home.

Advertisement

Putin is revered by white nationalist, nativist and white supremacist movements around the world. What happened on Monday isn’t just the public acknowledgement of collusion between the two national leaders, it’s the solidification of a new, white nationalist pact that trickles down from the White House to Republicans in Congress to the National Rifle Association and various other groups whose entire goal is the elimination or the subjugation of black people.

Just in case you were wondering if this was some type of hyperbole, here’s one of the few people on the planet who was happy about Trump and Putin’s performance on Monday: Former KKK Grand Wizard and Republican David Duke was thrilled with the meeting and couldn’t find enough anti-Semetic slurs to express his joy. On a night when everyone, from sniveling House Speaker Paul Ryan to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, found ways to disagree with Donald Trump, Duke was popping bottles.

Advertisement

So what does all of this mean for black folks in America?

It’s easy to fall back on the tried and true, “Well, they never cared about us anyway” rhetoric, but Monday was a bit more serious than that. Until now, Trump’s courting of white nationalist leaders across Europe was through surrogates like Steve Bannon or with men and women who sought but had no actual power, like Marine Le Pen in France or Nigel Farage in England. He did not have a global ally in his white-nationalist goals. Now he does.

Advertisement

There is a formal and personal alliance with the global head of white nationalism and black folks in America should prepare accordingly. While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has weaponized the Justice Department to go after African-American activists at home (i.e. black identity extremists), we should be careful abroad as well. Pro-white nationalist forces in Europe are emboldened by this meeting and black folks traveling abroad should consider Monday a sea change.

We counter these inevitable changes by becoming more aggressive in supporting our institutions and businesses, from HBCUs to black-owned telecom and insurance companies, and by volunteering at black-owned or run organizations and churches and remaining steadfast in holding the nonblack politicians who represent us accountable in local elections all the way up to Congress.

We need to remain informed about what is happening at the national level, the changes in gun laws, citizenship laws and travel procedures so that we don’t get caught up in whatever Trump might plan next. Perhaps most importantly, remembering that, as bad as this all is, our people have seen worse and have been on the receiving end of worse and, more often than not, came out of these kinds of dark times for the better.

Advertisement

Mind you, this only happens if we get involved now. The next season of America will have some pretty dark times. I heard a rumor that there was going to be a guest appearance by a previous president and some of the main characters might go to jail. Nobody knows just how bad the situation might get, but we do know that if we play our cards right and see this plot for where it’s going, maybe the black people end up making it to the finale.