By Harry Colbert, Jr., Managing Editor
Well, here we are.
The question is where is here.
On the night of the election I, with about 30 others, attended a watch party to view the presidential results. Early on the mood was uneasy; festive, but uneasy. The television was on CNN, but the sound was muted as we opted to listen to the music of Prince, Luther Vandross and Michael Jackson. Looking back at the artists selection, it was apropos, as the night would end with all of us again in mourning over the death of an icon. This time it was America that died.
As more polls closed and more election results came trickling in the volume on the TV was raised and the music was paused. Things just got real. State after state, electoral vote upon electoral vote was falling for him. The improbable was becoming the unstoppable. We were a room of highly educated individuals, yet all of us were struggling with simple math and geography. Hard as we tried, we just couldn’t get the map to add up to 270 for Hillary Clinton. As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones having trouble with this supposedly simple equation.
I like more than half the U.S. – and much of the world around us – am struggling to understand, and more importantly, come to grips with what happened on Election Night 2016. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully understand. I’m hoping I can cope. As one who fancies himself as a wordsmith, in this moment I find myself struggling to adequately convey my level of disappointment, anger and quite frankly, disbelief. That man is our president-elect. Barring something crazy (as if anything could be crazier that what happened on Election Night) come January that man is in the White House. The fingers that had to be wrestled away from Twitter will have access to nuclear launch codes. But before I start running through all the doomsday scenarios that I’m sure many of you have already played out, let’s look at what we as a nation really did last Tuesday when we elected this temperamentally unhinged, likely racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, narcissist to the highest position in the land.
What happened was open season was once again declared on people of color.
On the day of the election in a heavily Hispanic suburb of Los Angeles, a shooter described as a “gun fanatic” opened fire killing a woman going to her polling place, critically injuring two others before being killed in a standoff with police. Just hours after the election there were reports of racial intimidation, the painting of swastikas in parks and on college campuses. In Louisiana a Muslim woman was brutally assaulted by two white men; one reportedly wearing Trump campaign gear. Right here in “liberal” Minnesota – home of Minnesota Nice – at Maple Grove High School; someone emboldened by the Trump victory painted the N word on a bathroom door with the hashtags #gobacktoafrica and #makeamericagreatagain painted close by.
This isn’t new territory for America, but for Gen Xers and Millennials this was an awakening. Welcome to the new Jim Crow. Brothers and sisters, keep your head on a swivel. Be mindful of your moves. While most of us already knew the rules of being Black in America, we were offered a not-so-subtle reminder – not that we really nee
At the watch party (funny calling it a party) as the apparent became the inevitable and recognizing the mood, the host turned down the television that had delivered the shocking blow and he cued up a song on the sound system. It was the perfect song. It reminded us of the persevering spirit within. The mood of the room went from mourning to triumphant resilience. The song is in many ways the new Black Anthem. The song’s hook said all we needed to hear. Thanks for reminding us Brother Kendrick Lemar.
No matter what, “we gon’ be alright.”