White Men Must Bear the Blame — and Shame — for Trump
Let me get this out of the way right off the top: White men in American have it better than everyone else. Anyone who tells you differently is uneducated, willfully ignorant, or flat out lying to you. But I write this as one white man in America who feels awful and incredibly conflicted.
White men elected Donald Trump. There’s no denying that. We now have a commander-in-chief enthusiastically endorsed by the KKK, and it’s support Trump didn’t reject. Personally, while I’m disturbed by the unthinkable sexism and bigotry espoused by the president-elect, I also have a complex feeling of guilt over the knowledge that all of that hate will never target me. Even as someone who did not vote for any of this, I feel like I owe some apologies. And as a citizen of this country, I feel like I need to differentiate myself from some of My Fellow Americans.
To American Muslims: I’m profoundly sorry. So many of you have brought so many great things to this country, from a religion based on peace to an incredible record of military service to several different types of cuisine of which I’ve grown particularly fond. You are mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and neighbors and business owners. Just like us. And yet today there’s a really good chance you woke up full of fear and uncertainty, both for your own personal safety and for your future in this country. You deserve better.
To the various minorities that ignorant Americans will presume are Muslim, even though they’re not: I’m sorry. It should be clear by now that tens of millions of people in this country have a real problem with ignorance.
To women everywhere: I can’t imagine watching someone who is so openly against women’s rights and so, and I can’t believe I’m actually writing this, pro-sexual assault. Taking someone like that and putting him in charge of the entire country is unthinkable to me, and I’ve never been the victim of any kind of crime against my own body. I imagine this is what it must feel like for women who have been assaulted by celebrities to get no justice while their attackers continue to prosper. Though in so many ways, it’s worse, given that this particular attacker is now in a position to change the rules about women’s health. I cannot imagine your pain today, and it hurts me knowing that my demographic of Americans is the cause of it.
To lawmakers everywhere: You did this. How long did you think you could go on robbing the poor to pay the rich while lying to our faces about it? Look, there were a few good options on how to address this problem, and this wasn’t one of them. But make no mistake, this is on you.
To the Democratic Party: You wanted Hillary. You wanted her so blindly that you admittedly sabotaged your own primary system to make sure she was the nominee. When she turned out to be clearly flawed and incredibly underwhelming, you had no backup plan. You earned this. Take a hard look in the mirror, because you have a much better shot of trying to figure out what happened inside your own heads than you do trying to figure out the American electorate. You’ve shown once again you’re totally out of touch with the people you’re supposed to serve.
To the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania: Katie McGinty? Really? Fuck you.
To the Democrats who didn’t stand up to President Obama on issues of drone strikes against American citizens and massive government surveillance: Never forget that you’re not handing power to one leader — you’re also handing it to everyone who follows. That would’ve been a good lesson to learn before we came to the horrifying realization of who the next man is.
To the Baby Boomers: Every generation wants to do better than the generation before. Thanks for setting such a low bar. Your parents survived the Depression and defeated Hitler. That gave an entire generation of you such severe daddy issues that you decided to hoard all of your wealth and screw everyone who isn’t you. You did this on purpose and methodically as a generation, and the culture you have created as a result has given us this. More than anyone else, this is your fault.
To evangelicals: It seems your hypocrisy knows no bounds. A disproportionate number of you vote overwhelmingly based on whatever a candidate says about abortion, even if it’s a pretty safe assumption it’s not how they actually feel. And by basing your entire voting platform on one issue, you end up supporting someone who is the furthest thing from Christianity. All the while, you drum up fear about sharia law while screaming from the hilltops that your own religious law is the only true law of the land. You don’t even get to attempt to claim the moral high ground ever again.
To anyone saying they’re happy about this because Washington will finally change: It’s not that I don’t hear you. I see your point. I just think it’s the ultimate sign of white privilege to be able to rejoice in the power grab of a racist, sexist, con artist because you know his bigotry will never target you.
To the Founders: Thank you for coming up with a system that guarantees one man can never bring everything down all by himself. That was your genius. Well, Rome’s genius. But I digress. Unfortunately, in all of your wisdom, you probably never considered a population so ignorant that they’d willfully turn over all three branches of government to the same maniac, especially when that maniac is the exact opposite of the philosopher king you envisioned. Sorry we’ve proven to be such poor stewards of your ideas.
Finally, to journalism: I’m sorry for what you just had to endure. And the worst part is that it’s only going to get harder from here. The abuse is going up, the pay is going down, and the resources to catch all of this insanity red-handed and call it out for what it is are just not there. And even if they were, it seems so many Americans don’t care. I have no idea what journalism looks like in a Trump America, but it’s not good, and that hurts me to my core. Just know that you’re the last surviving check in our system of checks and balances, and we need you now more than ever.
John Infanti spent a decade in broadcast news, during which he won an Emmy Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award for his work as a producer. A graduate of Syracuse University, he currently lives in South Jersey.