The Great White Fantasy Of Donald Trump
White America’s hopes and dreams are riding on this president. They’re going to lose.
My, my, my, how the Russian chickens do come home to roost on Donald Trump. He began his presidency with a failed fascist takeover, as the protests and federal court rulings put a stop to his very unconstitutional “Muslim ban.” As time went on, his administration corroded from the inside out. Leaks (read: a goddamn flood) have sprung, rogue Twitter accounts have flourished, and sources galore continue to confide about chaos in the White House — all of which adds up to a very loud cry for help. Not to mention the intelligence community’s slow release of report after damning report detailing Trump’s collusion with Russia, #Flynnghazi, the downfall of Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder, and the slow, excruciating, and inevitable failure known as Kellyanne Conway.
But wait! There’s so much more.
Trump, who can hear that crocodile ticking, held a hot mess of a press conference, where he again stood up and lied to millions of American citizens. He crowed about his 306 electoral votes (LIES, he got 304), claiming it was one of the greatest wins in U.S. history (LIES). He claimed that the White house runs like a “well-oiled machine” (LI-I-IES!) and continued his clumsy acrobatics over any questions about Russia. Most peculiarly, he verbally badgered a Black reporter for asking him if he’d include the Congressional Black Caucus in any of his plans to uplift the “urban community.” Then over the weekend, he put on a rally down in Florida, fitting maybe a thousand fans or so into an airplane hangar, where — in front a row of Black folks holding up signs that read BLACKSFORTRUMP2020.COM — he continued on like the charlatan he is. Blah-blah-blah-FAKE NEWS-blah-blah-blah-ME BEST PRESIDENT EVER!-blah-blah, all this with his face somehow oranger and that tiny right hand making the “OK” sign as it bounced to the beat of his voice. Trump may be closer to a nervous breakdown than impeachment.
Either way, it’s time to say goodbye to this administration and hello to a soul-searching mirror, because in the end, it should have never gotten this far. White America must contend with its own racist grief as we watch the collapse of the Great White Fantasy.
White America must contend with its own racist grief as we watch the collapse of the Great White Fantasy.
When Black American boxer Jack Johnson throttled Canadian Tommy Burns and became World Heavyweight Champion in 1908, white folks, to put it mildly, lost their goddamned minds. It was bad enough that Johnson had developed a taste for flashy cars, expensive clothes, and white women, but now with this win, white folks were so afraid that their black counterparts would take Johnson’s hold on the title as a claim to equality (as the “liberal” New York Times warned) that they forced ex-heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries out of retirement to challenge Johnson.
The fight between Johnson and Jeffries wasn’t just about who would be World Heavyweight Champion. At that time, this title was held in the highest regard and said to be earned by only those superior or even god-like in their discipline and athleticism. For such symbolism to fall into the hands of an inferior race, during an era where the Civil War and failed Reconstruction was not history, but an actual lived experience — it seemed to many that Johnson could have marked the beginning of the end for the U.S.A. Jeffries was bolstered by the media as the Great White Hope, the original chosen one whom the prophecy foretold could Make America Great Again.
Trump was more than the Great White Hope; he became symbolic of the Great White Fantasy, the pinnacle of the American Dream.
Now, 106 years later, here we are: A black man retires from one of the most coveted, most powerful titles in America, and here comes Donald Trump, swooping down from the heavens to Make America Great Again! Only this time, Trump was more than the Great White Hope; he became symbolic of the Great White Fantasy, the pinnacle of the American Dream. The grandson of white immigrants, and supposedly self-made, despite being born into his parent’s wealth. A billionaire (which in the eyes of many automatically makes one intelligent and refined), living in a house of gold located midtown New York. He paraded around, showing off his skinny Slovenian model wife, his almost-maybe-blonde children, and all this bravado. This ball-swinging, fuck-your-feelings shtick where he loudly and repeatedly refused to make space for anyone’s worldview but his own. He basked in his ignorance of race, gender, orientation — of anything that diverged from what he already knew — and used his daughter’s love as a constant shield against criticism. I am not racist, I have [insert-protected-class-here] people in my family!
Trump represented everything that White America yearned for: a restoration of their freedom, a time where “Blacks and Jews” knew their place and you could grab a woman by the pussy and she’d either give you the damn pussy or shrug it off because boys will boys and you’re a hot-blooded American with needs! Trump played to the ego of White America. When he said, “Make America Great Again!” they heard, “this is still your country, and you are still entitled to all its benefits. Not them, but you and only you!” White America lapped it up like mother’s milk.
Perhaps the irony of it all is that no one represented the American Dream more than the Obamas. Both of them are self-made, smart, and charismatic, disgustingly in love with each other and their two perfect children. Both politically moderate, purveyors of ideals — active kids, health care for all — that should appeal across bipartisan lines. But, as much as Obama was the American Dream, he was far from the Great White Fantasy. He is the antithesis of it, the Jack Johnson of it all, and perhaps that in itself disqualifies him in the eyes of White America from ever touching the American Dream. That’s how we all know the deep dirty secret that white folks hate to admit: The “land of opportunity” doesn’t exist, and was never really meant to exist. For Black and Brown people this is the land of fraud. The supposed land of equality yokes our communities into a modern-day feudal system. This is the land of rape and genocide, abuse and murder, and when white folks ask Black and Brown communities to stand for the pledge of allegiance or wave a flag, they are asking us to celebrate our own mangled existence. Imagine having to constantly lather praise and love on your abuser, your rapist, the murderer of your brothers and sisters.
As much as Obama was the American Dream, he was far from the Great White Fantasy. He is the antithesis of it.
Jeffries came blazing into the ring riding the wave of being the Great White Hope, and he did more than lose; he got throttled. He went down several times and eventually threw in the towel during a bout billed as the “Fight of the Century,” shattering White America’s desperate grasp for symbolic superiority. Sure, they found new ways to oppress, new ways to piece the fantasy back together, but there was no going back to the pre-Civil War era. Jeffries’ legacy will be Trump’s. Being the Great White Fantasy was enough to hail Trump as a champion, but not enough to actually make him one. They all know it. There is no going back to the ‘40s, not without one hell of a fight. And Trump was not bred to fight like hell for the right to breathe. He has no concept of it.
Trump stood for every white-immigrant “bootstraps” anecdote ever used to slap down Black anger or fear. He stood for every “you’re racist for talking about race” and “that’s in the past” rebuttal to every Asian, Latinx, and Native concern. His ascension was supposed to solidify white hold on the U.S.A., but it’s only served to weaken it. His move into power deeply divided the U.S.A., and a house divided against itself will never stand.
Trump has been stripped bare and we can see him for what he really is: a pathetic man, entitled, immature, greedy, fragile, a relic who hears that crocodile clock tick-tick-ticking. A mediocre man allowed to make mistakes and be given a first, second, third, fourth, fifth chance to take a breather and try again, instead of landing on the street or in prison. He has accidentally torn down the myth of the sacred white man, whether White America knows it or not. And as women and people of color stand up, front and center to take him down, I can’t help but think: We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams.