It’s Official! Trump Is The Next POTUS and I Don’t Particularly Care

***Note: I began writing this piece the day of the Electoral College’s final vote, hence the first paragraph. More interesting things to write about came up so I’m just now finishing it.***

National Public Radio (NPR) and several other news outlets just confirmed that the Electoral College has cast its votes for Donald Trump to be the next POTUS. The process of counting the Electoral College votes is usually presided over by the sitting VPOTUS, in this case, Joe Biden. There are a couple of ways that lawmakers can object to their state’s choice but according to an informational write-up by the New York Times before this final vote took place, that hasn’t happened often in this country’s history and per the NPR article, it’s safe to say that it’s not going to happen this time around either.

Now that that’s out of the way, I have to repeat what I’ve been saying all year on my FB page: I am totally unafraid of a Trump presidency. I’ve read and watched people lose it and express all kinds of fear about a Trump presidency. Most of the white people I’ve heard outside of the internet talk about the diplomatic repercussions of a Trump presidency. Most of the people of color I’ve heard express concern talk about the prospective loss of various social programs. People have mentally constructed a future America that looks something like the Hunger Games at best and The Purge at its scariest.

While I intellectually understand those concerns, I don’t share them.

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Let me preface this by saying that I am someone who has had a lifelong battle with panic and anxiety. I know what it’s like to be afraid of everything and nothing all at once and not even be able to articulate what exactly everything and nothing may be. I understand the fear of uncertainty. I understand having to operate in a space where you are unsure if everything will work out the way you need it to. Yet, throughout the campaign cycle, election night, and today (Inauguration Day), nothing in me has said that I should fear Trump being the 45th POTUS.

From your average internet commenter to tenured politicians, Trump has been repeatedly called a “bully.” I don’t have much experience with bullies but what I do know is that they feed off of fear. The few bullies I’ve encountered were nothing without the power that comes from their targets being afraid of them. Knowing that they can cause terror in people’s minds only emboldens them to continue their treachery. Frankly, I believe that Trump never would have made as far as he did without the panic apparatuses running at full speed 24/7 to take every Tweet and use every statement he’s made over the last two decades to further excite an already fretful electorate. I saw him as the class clown out of the GOP nominees and if the media collective had done a better job of ignoring his foolishness, he may have faded into obscurity. Of course, I never underestimate the racism that fuels this society. Calling Blacks lazy and Muslims terrorists will always appeal to a certain pathetic segment of society.

Nevertheless, despite the shitshow that was the confirmation hearings of Betsy DeVos (candidate for Secretary of Education) and Dr. Ben Carson (candidate for HUD Secretary), and the fact that Donald Trump seemingly has an unholy bromance with his partner in narcissism, Vladimir Putin, I still feel confident that we will be just fine over the next four years.

I haven’t deluded myself into believing that Trump has somehow punked us and will keep every policy that our beloved 44th POTUS enacted for our benefit. I don’t believe that the GOP-led House and Senate will suddenly see the 8-year error of their ways and suddenly start to operate with the bulk of the American constituency in mind.  I’ve simply decided to trust that no matter how much of a trainwreck the new administration may end up being, I will always be secure. Our parents, grandparents, and beyond survived much worse than an unfit leader and a merciless law-making body. Surely we can too.

With that in mind, stay focused. Take care of your business. Make wise decisions and if you don’t know what to do, get good advice from someone who does. Try to be as prepared as possible for what these next four years may throw your way. Be your own rudder and do not leave yourself defenseless. Do not exchange fear for folly. If you choose to fight, to be a revolutionary, remember that you and yours are the most important beneficiaries of your work. Take time to live life and even enjoy it when you can.

Grow The F*ck Up: It Doesn’t Get Any Easier

The last few weeks have been a doozy. First, someone in Kim Burrell’s congregation taped a snippet of a sermon of hers where she talked about homosexuality being a sin and repercussions for homosexuals. She had appearances on television, ceremonies and a radio show canceled after the outrage machine kicked into high gear.

Not much longer after that, Vivica Fox gave an interview in which she noted that her new show that revolves around male strippers (haven’t seen it) was not created with the gay community in mind and that her dancers don’t dance for gay men (or something like that). As a result, her business partner disavowed her. Similar to the Kim Burrell situation, the outrage machine, in its last mile of the outrage marathon, caught its 2nd wind and churned full speed ahead once more.

Betwixt and between those two events, my timeline (and inbox) was graced with posts that were a blast from the past for me. They took me on a journey from 1st grade through 7th grade and back again.

You may think I’m going to spend this blog talking about homosexuality/homophobia, the church or both. I’m not. You may think that I’m going to spend this blog analyzing the merit (or lack thereof) of each screenshot. Not really.

I could make several arguments, but I don’t think I need to. Anybody old enough to develop commentary on what a religious person said to their congregation already knows that before they withdrew support from Kim Burrell, she likely already believed exactly what she said. Those of us who managed to make it out of middle school alive knows that everybody isn’t invited to the party and every product or service sold has a target market and thus shouldn’t be surprised when a person says they created their business for a certain demographic (why you’ll likely never see a white person using Sta-Sof-Fro).

But, I’m not going to go there (maybe I just did). This blog is about our uncanny knack for being outraged first and thinking last. This blog is about the way we think our problems are a statement on everybody else but us so that we can maintain some kind of moral high ground that we don’t actually deserve.

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The first screenshot is the by-product of a previous discussion about bisexual men who are not honest about it, also known as “being on the DL” (down low). The person who posted this is not a FB friend of mine but is friends with several of my friends. As shown, this person asserts that being on the DL is a result of homophobia.

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When I read this, it didn’t make me think about homophobia or the fear that people who are on the DL might face in their everyday life. All I could think about was how immature of a stance it is. To think that an adult would excuse lying and (usually) wasting the time of someone they claim to have enough affection for to enter into a relationship with is unnerving. Being honest is the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter if the truth isn’t something you’re particularly thrilled to tell, you tell it because it’s right. If conditions have to be perfect for you to be honest with someone you claim to love (and in some cases, have married and made children with), you lack integrity. Point blank.

With that said, there are a couple of adult questions for people who find themselves in this dilemma. First, would you rather be known for being bisexual or being a liar who wastes people’s time and mentally, emotionally and/or physically puts them in harm’s way? Secondly, why would you expect anybody to embrace “you” when “you” won’t be forthcoming about who “you” are?

The next two screenshots are self-explanatory.

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Apparently, if someone prefers not to date you because of your sexual past (or present), they are –phobic. I really don’t know where to begin here so I’ll just cut to the chase. Nobody has to like you. People are allowed to find you unattractive for any number of reasons. Calling them a “–phobe” or an “–ist” is not going to make them suddenly like you. Your options are 1) start lying about your life like in the first screenshot and thus become a shitty person by default or 2) accept that you aren’t their type for whatever reason and move the hell on with your life. For those who are unsure, the second choice would be the adult choice.

The fourth, fifth, and sixth screenshots highlight a common occurrence these days.

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I’m going to skip over the fact that the person never answered the question of who should pay for the “nice things” and then later says the “nice things” come from the dollar store. I’m not going to touch the fallacious thinking that just because someone works they should be able to afford what their heart desires. I’m not going to address the fact that there’s a clear misunderstanding of what capitalism is.

What I am going to address is this trend where someone posts a mini-monologue about something that pisses them off (that probably shouldn’t) and when someone deigns to respond, the poster decides to steer the conversation away from any fecund discourse in order to restart their mini-monologue. If you thought of yourself as enough of an authority to opine, you should think yourself big enough to either respond to feedback on your opinion – even if it’s that you have no idea or were not clear in your initial assessment. Dancing around like Floyd Mayweather when someone dares to pick up and inspect what you put down is jejune. If words suddenly fail you, just take a page out of NeNe Leakes’ book:

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The seventh screenshot is more hilarious than anything but had me SMDH anyhow. I sat and read it twice and said, “did this person just try to turn couponing into a social ill?”

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I think the funniest part of this diatribe is that this person first seems to temporarily absolve middle and upper-class people of classism by saying their energy is worth something and then tells them they are indeed poverty-shaming by participating in clipping coupons and “life hacks.”

The thing is, everything isn’t a ploy from the elite to start the class war that will annihilate us all. If you don’t have time to coupon, the answer is simple: don’t do it. I tried to coupon for about three weeks but since I don’t need bulk Depends or 3 tubs of cream cheese for the price of 2, I decided to stop wasting my time.

You catch that?

I DECIDED to stop doing something that I found did not serve me. There was no need to conjure up theories about how corporate America wants me to lose bladder control or eat lots of bagels. I guess I’m just grown like that.

Before I get to the last and best of the fuckery, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how this person is against couponing for 20 cans of peaches but admits to having no problem with hacks for cheap cosmetics and couture. If you’re going to take down the system, your eyebrows must be on fleek while you do so, no? I’d luuuuurve to read a debate between this person and the dollar store poverty warrior from the previous section.

Now, for the grand finale…*drumroll*…the person who wants friends to report a closed group that is labeled as being for “cis” people only.

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The person who posted this appears to be mid-30s but this post took me directly back to 1st grade. This is like me being mad about not being invited to a party, thrown by people I don’t know.

While I’m well aware that people have all kinds of personal issues and insecurities, what takes this over the top is that this person didn’t just express their individual agita. This person rallied their own little group, most of whom probably didn’t know about the group’s existence either, to try to get this closed (because it can’t be reiterated enough) group shut down. This person probably doesn’t even know what is said or done in this closed group, yet they felt the need to create a new movement around their ire over this closed group.

I’m Black and a woman. If I needed the attention (EUREKA!), I could spend the better part of the day rallying people to get all types of groups and websites shut down. But, I’m also an adult. Why would I waste that much time on people who don’t even know I exist?

I know we live in times that are unusual to us. I know that we are in a time where we are having to re-face the things that don’t work for us as a society that Boomers may have thought they dealt with efficiently decades ago. I also know, without a doubt, that some of our personal and collective loads would lighten if we would simply grow the fuck up.

Tribalism: The Cream In Your Coffee

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted a link to an article alleging that Gabrielle Union excluded Dwayne Wade’ s “break baby” from the family Christmas card. I asked my friends’ opinions on the issue and boy did I get it. For two days, my friends debated back and forth about a wife’s duties to her husband’s “outside” children. Many thought that since she knew about the “break baby” before their nuptials, she should have fully embraced the child in their family undertakings. Some felt that she had no obligation to the “break baby” and that Dwayne Wade was the only adult in that household who had any obligation to the child. If the report about the Wade/Union clan is true, I surmise that in Gabrielle Union’s mind, the “break baby” is not a part of her tribe and she feels no obligation to invite him into it.

The discussion was interesting, as I’d been thinking in the weeks beforehand about tribalism. I believe that everybody, whether it’s PC these days to admit or not, is a tribalist at heart. Before I go on, tribalism is defined as “the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group” (Google). I should note that definition was marked as the “derogatory” use of the word.

But why though?

In the Black community, tribalism is observed but only demonized when middle-class, educated Blacks practice it.  Often referred to as “skinfolk,” there’s an expectation that Black people should stick together, sometimes at unfeasible costs. We’re admonished not to judge that young man who has a rap sheet as long as my arm and even make excuses for his behavior; poverty, racism, capitalism, etc… You’re Assistant Satan if you dare suggest that that young lady with 3 children and a bun in the oven who is the cover for a nationwide story on the end of government benefits make different choices and stop self-burdening. I do not have enough fingers on which to count the times that I’ve sat in conversations that suggested that middle and upper-class Blacks are charged with the conditions in “the hood” or had a finger shaken at them for their lack of association with its residents.

These days, those people are diagnosed with a severe case of with “internalized racism.” I disagree and choose to believe that most of the time, it’s just plain old tribalism. That old saying, “birds of a feather flock together,” and your parents’ teachings that you should watch who you hang with have merit even in adulthood. I posit that the stakes are higher in adulthood, as you’re not just risking a demerit should you find yourself in the wrong company. On that note, I don’t think we can afford to shrug off that person who graduated college and moved out of the hood the next day with no intentions of returning as merely a self-hating coon.

I am and have always been a tribalist, and unabashedly so. To my knowledge, I have no friends who think everybody wants to hear what music they are playing in their car. 99% of my friends have attained an education equal to or greater than a bachelor’s degree. For most of my friends, trap music is an occasional guilty pleasure and not a part of their regular diet. Most of my friends live in safe neighborhoods and come from families similar to my own. My friends largely have the same value system as I.

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Did I do that on purpose? Yes and no. Any of us that has taken a base level psychology or sociology course learned that people are attracted, both romantically and socially, to people who are most like themselves. I’ve never purposely set out to exclude people whose lives are dissimilar to my own, but it always works out that way and I believe I’m the better for it. While society tends to swear off –isms of all kinds, I’ve seen myriad situations where tribalism swooped in and saved the day. Tribalism can help build and/or preserve formidable family legacies. Tribalism can help shape careers. Tribalism can help circumvent many an unfortunate situation or can help a person survive one.

With all of the obstacles that Black people face, you may wonder how I can take this stance. Easy. I don’t believe that the only way that we can unify is to occupy each other’s space. No matter the “level” of tribe one belongs to, they still have their own issues that they have to sort through; and even with common problems like racism, each tribe decides the method of combat that they deem the most advantageous. As we work through our problems on a micro level, it seems inevitable that things should eventually change on a macro level.

I have no animosity towards anybody that’s not a part of my tribe. I wish them no undeserved affliction. In fact, I hope that they can find their own tribe of people who are as beneficial to them as they are to the tribe. But, I believe it’s time to stop trying to get Black people to strap other Black people on each other’s back. It’s definitely time to stop demonizing Blacks who opt-out of the various facets of the Black experience.