If Donald Trump had his way, you might not be reading these words and I might not be writing them. Unless I and the other 40 percent of Americans who are not white accept the ludicrous notion that we are less deserving of our Constitutional rights than the white supremacist Proud Boys who Trump told to “stand back and stand by” during Tuesday’s presidential debate, then hell hath no fury like an American racist scorned. Intimidation, fear, violence, chaos—we all better get ready, the so-called leader of the free world has warned.
What Trump and his followers don’t seem to understand is that most minorities in the United States have been living with all that anyway since the day they were born. Americans like me who were born only a few years after the 1964 Voting Rights Act remember what it was like to be the first to desegregate schools and Trump’s precious suburbs. Most of us graduated from high school. Many of us went on to college or served in the military, or did both. We’ve worked, started our own families and, unlike Trump apparently, we’ve paid our taxes. We’re not afraid.
But with the elections only a month away, everything is apparently up for grabs now, and “this is not going to end well,” according to the current occupant of the White House. At Tuesday’s debate, Trump openly called for voter intimidation, as he urged his supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully,” and cast doubt on even the counting of ballots. Time and again over the past four years—for example, when he told four Democratic congresswomen, all minorities, to “go back” to the countries they came from—Trump has publicly embraced the idea that Black and brown people who challenge the status quo have no place in “our country.”