What Fuels Trump and Allies: Fear of a Black and Brown Nation (and Prison)

Dear New Zealand: We need your help. We’ve got a squatter! I’ll tell you more about McDonald in a minute. But first, let me say that I miss you. I miss Canterbury, and Christchurch, and the Crusaders and the All Blacks. I want to give you an update on what’s been going on in the USA since I’ve been back.

I left New Zealand after 14 years of being a professor on the South Island at the University of Canterbury. I came back stateside for Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. I stayed. I expected the USA to be filled with glee and newfound forward momentum towards equality for all and peace and brotherhood and sisterhood. But times have been rocky and much worse than when I left the USA in 1996.

A Brief History of Recent American Presidents

Obama made it through two presidential terms in office — eight years — and saved our international reputation after our 2003 invasion of Iraq. African Americans were holding our collective breath that he didn’t get shot while campaigning or holding office, such was the vitriol for a Black man in that position. Mad props to the Secret Service.

We had earned the world’s emotions and heartfelt condolences after we were bombed on September 11, 2001. Then George W. Bush and crew struck in anger at Iraq in 2003, even though they were not the enemy. We destroyed their cities and their leader. Sorry about that. When you have a lot of guns like we do in America, sometimes the world looks like a shooting range.

We lost international cred. We were not doing well in 2008: Our economy collapsed. Obama was elected in November 2008 to help us heal.

He had a great family, engaged in thoughtful leadership, and not one person from his administration was thrown in jail. (Today, that’s saying something.) Then we had another election. And this time, a TV showman won.

Man-child in the Promise Land

The showman had failed at many business ventures, had cheated building contractors out of money, had robbed students of their money at a bogus “University,” and was involved in “professional” fake wrestling. (Donald Trump’s 13 Biggest Business Failures) He is widely considered a crook and more importantly, a con man. To top it off, he brags ceaselessly.

If there is anything I know for sure after my 44 years of close contact with White people, it’s that they hate people who brag. I just finished a book about how White people revere humility and hate bragging Black athletes.

The showman, McDonald, distorts the truth on a daily basis, discusses how rich he is, and brags about everything he touches. And many White people love this. I get it: When Black people do it, they are bragging. When White people do it, they are “showing confidence.” Just like USA Today reported that a Black man wading through water in New Orleans was “looting” and a white guy doing the same thing was “finding food.” (Black People “Loot” Food, White People “Find” Food.)

So this sociologist has had a tough time figuring out how die-hard Christians would elect a non-Christian; how people who revere humility in everything and everybody would elect someone who is a daily braggart; and how religious leaders and those in the heartland of America people revere the institution of marriage yet engage a man who has had five children from three different marriages. No space to discuss his infidelities and sexual harassment cases against him, but there is that bit, also. Why would White republicans (and many democrats) go against everything they report to value? (The 26 women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct)

Somehow the “family values” party and conservative voters went against their core values to elected someone who not only rates women “out loud” on a scale of 1–10, but is also crass enough to rate his daughter, too, and says he would date her if he wasn’t her father. Yes, he did tell Howard Stern that it was okay to call Ivanka a “Nice piece of ass.” On live radio. (Donald Trump Nearly Casually Remarks About Incest with Daughter Ivanka)

White Males Rule! Buying into the Con

One reason they elected him is because he is famous. Unlike New Zealand, we are fascinated with fame in America. It is the shiny, sparkly thing we can’t look away from and desperately want to touch. McDonald was sparkly.

In New Zealand, you look away from famous people in public. Your motto is to “treat them like everybody else.” Hard as that is to do, you do it well. And when someone gets too tall or arrogant, you treat them like the tall poppies they are and cut them down to the size of everyone else. I’ve been critical of that posture, but we need you right now. We elected him, but now he doesn’t want to leave.

Orange is the New White

“Because he loves the job so much?” You ask. No, that’s not it. He hates being president, what with the meetings and briefings and kissing Covid babies. But he loves the trappings of power. He loves the attention. He loves watching television. He loves the Twitters.

He can’t leave office now. He must stay within the protective coating of the White House. The White House is his only security. If he does do the right thing and stand down, he will eventually get arrested and go to prison. Likely, rich people’s jail, which I assume has a golf course, spa treatments, and happy hour.

Remember all the cheating and lying? The law has caught up with the “law and order” leader. And lawyers are taking numbers and lining up with lawsuits at the exit gate of the White House. Fight to retain office by any means necessary (screw democracy!) — or go to jail. Not really a choice, eh? (6 lawsuits Trump is going to have to deal with when he leaves office)

We have a rule in America: If you are rich, famous, or very pretty, you don’t really have to go to jail. But Martha Stewart went to jail. So, shit got real for rich White people. Because they put a rich, famous, White female in jail. Which means rich, famous, White men can’t be too far behind.

Why did we elect a person so outrageous, New Zealand? We held our noses and elected him because he was a White male. Nobody from any other demographic group, male or female, could have his poor record of behavior and still get elected. He is a legendary business crook, but we loved us some White male MacDonald.

By way of comparison, Barack Obama almost lost his first campaign not because of anything he did in his squeaky-clean life, but because of what he did not do — leave a church when a Black minister was railing against historical racism in America. THAT almost derailed his campaign. Why? (Jeremiah Wright Controvers)

Because Obama is a non-White male. Non-White males in America are second-class citizens. Nobody says it aloud, but we live it, nonetheless. The primary working theory is that White males should be given the benefit of the doubt. This comes across in statements like, “He didn’t mean it,” or “He was joking,” or “He’s a character,” or “He’s a straight shooter.” These are all ways of saying, “Cut him some slack, after all — he’s a White male, so he must be okay. He’s looking out for our best interests.”

White males are the most consistent at getting the benefit of the doubt — and passing on the benefit of the doubt to other White males. That’s how you remain in power: You give the secret handshake to people who look like you. You apologize for bad White male behavior, and they apologize for your bad White male behavior. Done something awful at your company as CEO? “Don’t worry White male, we have a multi-million-dollar severance package for you. Just as long as you hook me up after I’ve sexually harassed more women and get the boot, too! Handshake! High Five!” This is what we call in Black culture, “the hook up.” White men have been hooking each other up here for centuries.

It Takes A Village to Be Systematically Racist

But why all the Neo-Nazis, Proud Boys, Boogaloo Boys, and otherwise White supremacists bragging about McDonald as their savior and “handling” non-White people who “threaten” their beloved America? (How new boogaloo Bois violence shattered Trump’s pro police facade)

For a sociologist, this question is much easier to answer. I’ll include Christian terrorists along with the above groups. And by Christian terrorists, I mean the KKK. (The KKK is a Christian Organization)

Christian terror has been a part of the American fabric way before the KKK. Frederick Douglass noted that Christian slaveholders were the evilest, and that a Christian Master who was also a Minister was by far the worse. They knew the exact bible verses about beating disobedient slaves. (Douglass’ Narrative)

And you can’t be a member of the KKK unless you are a Christian. In the late 1990s, a New Zealand group had enough members for a chapter but were denied by the regional office in Australia because none of the members wanted to be Christians. My head almost exploded with the irony of “forgiving sins” right alongside sinning by “killing and terrorizing.”

This is not to knock Christianity, but rather a show of how Christianity can be exploited right in front of your face and can be used to keep people down. Didn’t you ever wonder why the KKK burns crosses? So be careful, Christians, when you yell “Muslim Terrorists!” even though the people doing the terror are exploiting their religion, also. Don’t throw stones. And if you do, thrown them first at members of your own religion who use their faith as a weapon of supremacy. (Hate In God’s Name)

Fear of a Black and Brown Nation

New Zealand, I’ve got a secret to tell you. Many of our American White males and females have lost their shit because they see their power diminishing in a numbers game they call “race.” This all started way back when demographers noted that in about 2050, White people would no longer be the “majority” race in American. (The US white majority will soon disappear forever)

Majority over the minority means something to White people in power. A loss of that Majority White mastery means God might have been wrong about America being the Great White Hope nation for the next 1,000 years. We won’t. We will be something else, and soon. This caused a national “stroke” for many White people. When you have a stroke, recovery can be slow.

Obama represented a heart-attack for America’s vision of a Recovery to Whiteness. This opened the door for anybody who was willing to tell the people what they wanted to hear: That White men were right and everybody else was wrong. MacDonald is just what the shock doctor ordered.

Here’s to regressing and making America like it was, again: Build a wall, keep Mexicans out, continue to grab women in the “pussy cat,” challenge anybody who wants to take down a confederate (or traitor) monument of a White guy on a horse, and degrade and demean countries that don’t have more White people than Black or Brown people. What did he call them? Yes. Shithole countries. (Trump referred to Haiti and African Nations as “shithole” countries)

And why not just call Black Lives Matter a racist organization? That should seal your fate, McDonald as — what did you call yourself during the debate? — the “least racism person in the room.” (Trump calls Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate” as he digs in on race) And, odd as it seems, New Zealand, many good, God-fearing people, don’t think McDonald is racist at all. With a wink and a nod, about 70 million White people voted for him. Minus some Black and Brown folks who either didn’t hear the insults or thought, “He isn’t talking about me!”

That’s the same thing my female students say when asked if they sing the lyrics to misogynistic rap songs. “Yes, because I know the song isn’t referring to me.” I retort, “Maybe not you specifically, but can you see how those lyrics might otherwise be harmful to someone?” We sing along, and vote, and look the other way. We look the other way for our own mental health.

Vote for Me and I’ll Set You Free

So, loaded with guns and ammo and privilege and bibles, they hoisted up old McDonald and not only gave him the benefit of the doubt, they even took away the doubt. We elected the man who would stop the trend toward Black and Brown and would make White Men Great Again. When MacDonald was campaigning in 2016, he said, “I could shoot a man . . . and not lose any votes.” He was speaking about the loyalty of his voters. (Trump: I could shoot someone and note lose any voters)

No doubt. Many White people love him unconditionally. On the condition that he remain President until the statute of limitations runs out on his lawsuits. Just one more term in office should do it.

So now we are in a pickle, New Zealand, and we need the wit of television’s John Campbell to help us out; we need Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to advise us on how to stop the Covid-19 from eating us alive. McDonald has become the #1 personal spreader of the virus in the USA as he bulldozed through every state demanding large crowds and shaming people who wore masks. I remember Dr. Fauci noting, around September, that when we were at 40,000 new Covid cases per day — and that before winter hits, we needed to get down to 10,000 cases per day. Then we could handle the flu and Covid-19 as they both attacked. But no.

The McDonald theory is “herd immunity,” which basically means, “Why help them — some animals need to die to protect the rich White males who have elite medical coverage.” It seems his idea was to spread the virus far and wide. This was a side effect of getting the economy rolling so that the stock market looked great so that he could get re-elected so he could stay out of jail. As of November 12, we are at 163,000 cases per day now. (Trump made fun of politicians wearing masks during a crowded rally where many didn’t wear masks) And still, people are being told not to wear masks. By our “leader,” who sits in his bedroom tweeting and not caring one iota for anyone who dies. It is all about him.

You Owe us One, New Zealand

Actually, you don’t. I just said that because we need you, New Zealand. We need the All Blacks to teach us about humility and passion and teamwork and how to shake hands when you’ve won or lost. We forgot how to live up to the most exalted phrase we have in American sports: Be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. This is the White mantra that has been trained into me by my socializers in school and on television. We need our mantra back, and we need it now. In the White House.

White people can’t figure out how to NOT give MacDonald the benefit of the doubt. Just like an unruly child who gets pampered by mom. This child is breaking things and needs a serious spanking. I know, New Zealanders can no longer whip or spank their kids, but I think this kid deserves to be taken out to the woodshed. (A Place Where it is Not Okay to Hit Children)

Oh, that’s right. He got spanked in the election. So, we ask you, New Zealand: What would you do in this situation? What do you do with a child who’s been very bad, who got the leather strap put to his backside, then ran to his room to hide and doesn’t want leave because he’d be acknowledging he’s the biggest one-term president loser in history (No previous challenger to an incumbent president has ever garnered 50% of the vote. That’s what they are telling me on CNN. Ass-whuppin).

The Adults have arrived: Joe and Kamala

Democrats won the election they only way they could — by using another old White guy to defeat MacDonald. But this one has experience and tact and is not rich and is a strong family and spiritual man. He’s a devout Catholic who can actually quote biblical scripture. I respect anyone from any major religion who is devout and who does not use their scriptures to do harm to others. Those people are awesome. I don’t respect people who think gassing peaceful protestors and bullying folks with sticks is a way to observe your Christianity. (Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gasses To Clear Way For Trump Photo-Op)

Joe Biden won our highest national honor as a civilian. If we were still part of the English Commonwealth, we would call him Sir Joe Biden. But we’re not, so he’s just Joe. And I think you’d like him, New Zealand, because he is everything you adore in men and women. I’m sure he even likes pavlova. (Pavlova (Cake))

In Western democracies, the general rule is when you lose an election, you concede defeat, thank your supporters, shake hands (pre-Covid-19) with the winner and wish them luck in holding our country together and forwarding the spirit of democracy and all that boilerplate stuff. You are not supposed to, as you say in New Zealand, “Spit the dummy.” But MacDonald is throwing all of his toys out of the pram, crying loudly, and when you put that “pacifier” (or dummy), in his mouth, he’s spitting it right out into your face. It’s funny the first ten times. But Joe and Kamala, adults, have arrived.

And Kamala Harris? We are both from Oakland, both part of the Divine Nine, and we both love wearing Converse All Stars. (Why Kamala Harris’ Converse Are Much More Than Just Sneakers) (Kamala Harris’ “family” in Dallas: The Divine Nine)

She’s all that and a bag of chips, and here’s hoping she becomes our first, well-overdue, female President. She’s obviously intelligent, a fighter, accessible, from around the way, and will check people left and right. I lived in New Zealand when two different female prime ministers led the nation, Jenny Shipley and Helen Clarke. When we get over our obsession with dicks, we can have a wonderful woman president in America, too.

A Cunning Plan and the Art of the Deal

Here’s the deal: We don’t have a plan. McDonald doesn’t want to go to jail. I understand that. But as my mother would say, “You should have thought about that before you acted like a jackass.” This is why we are in a prickly moment. He does not want to go quietly into the night, because he knows he would be playing midnight basketball in a prison near you. But he has everyone so scared of his negativity and meanness that they will do any and everything to escape his wrath. That is his secret weapon. Go negative, and people will want to please you. We all want to be liked. More than that, we don’t want to be thought of negatively.

We certainly don’t want to poke the beast. And if that beast is president, then all the more. We go along to get along. Even when we know it is wrong. (That was for you, Republican Senators and Cabinet members) (Mike Pompeo Promises “There Will Be a Smooth to a Second Trump Administration)

Here’s an idea: How about we agree to allow MacDonald free passage to New Zealand in late January, 2021. That way, he won’t have to go to jail — and he will leave us alone. There are many things his “stable genius” could achieve, still. Like coaching the All Blacks. Coaching rugby can’t be any harder than being “strongman of the free world.”

Just think: When the All Blacks lose a test match, it will never be the fault of the coach! McDonald will be the “smartest rugby coach — smarter than all your other coaches in history, combined!” He will belittle the kicker, yell at fans, fire coaches, then hire the “best coaches” (his friends). There will be the occasional hissy fit, but that will keep everybody on their toes. Daily. Gaslighting will happen on an hourly basis. (What is Gaslighting?)

Just nod and pretend he is telling the truth. Agree with him. Give him the benefit of the doubt. That’s what we do here in America. Our White people, mostly good people, don’t know what to do about the moping, stubborn, McDonald. I’m sure you will put him in his place. Cut down this tall poppy for us. Because we can’t seem to find our lost pair of scissors.

© 2020 by Dr. Vernon Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Andrews is an Oakland native and New Zealand citizen. His awesome new book is titled “Policing Black Athletes: Racial Disconnect in Sports” (NY: Peter Lang)

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