It’s been impossible to nail down this presidency, hasn’t it? It’s been a fierce and relentless binge from day one. A pint of Charlottesville. A pour (or was that two?) of Russian bounties and Ukraine calls. Who thought it would ever involve body shots off a porn star? The border wall that was always going to be on our tab.
It’s been an intoxicating blend—who could deny that? But it’s led to a drunkenness that is so disorienting that a blackout seems likely. Perhaps we binged so heavily that we’ll remember bits and pieces and never wholly recollect what actually happened the last five years.
Still, one memory stands out from this session of debauchery. Maybe it’s because it occurred so recently but I can see it. Touch it. Maybe it too will become fragmented in my mind because, after all, the drinking hasn’t ended yet now has it? A series of white men and women with Trump flags scaling the Capitol wall. They seem eerily in control. Empowered. Unopposed.
Who knows the reasons for the disjointed thoughts we have when we drink but there’s one I can’t escape amidst the haze: If they were black there would have been bullets in their heads.
Perhaps you’ve already come to terms with this, perhaps that sounds cliche, or perhaps that truth just slips into the fog of dozens of nausea-inducing drinks you have had over the last five years. But I implore you to read that sentence one more time:
If they were black there would have been bullets in their heads.
With that truth, the realities of the last five years suddenly come into focus. Our judgement has been clouded in this intoxicating mess, and we run the risk of allowing Trump to control much of what we remember. We’ve often regrettably chased Trump around and allowed him and his whiteness to dictate the conversation that “needs to be had”. He will always enjoy us debating the merits of his “perfect” call to Ukraine. Is defunding the police a harmful slogan? We regularly obliged him. But then again it’s tough to stay focused in a drunken rage, isn’t it?
Still, I am here to remind you that it’s the most important conversation to be had—that we should have had. It is the legacy of Trump’s ascent, his term, his downfall and our future. There are many conversations to be had but they are all, at their foundation, rooted in America’s painfully obvious realities of racism. Corruption and lies and insurrection and incompetence will all have their place, but the defining takeaway from this era is that skin color alone granted one group of people full and free access to terrorize the nation’s Capitol. Any other conversation henceforth is simply setting the stage for another bender down the road.