Rage against Obama
If I were going to single out a triggering event that fueled the rise Trump and Trumpism, it would be the election of President Obama’s in 2008. For right wing extremists — leaders and followers — the reality of a Black man with reforming ambitions occupying the White House for 4, and perhaps, 8 years constituted at once a ominous break in their ascendancy, which they thought was well underway, and an existential threat to their values and way of life. It provoked a sense of panic, anger, and, above all. counterrevolutionary determination on their part to right this terrible wrong and injustice.
Their slogan,”Take America Back,” succinctly captured the racist and revanchist essence and aim of this retrograde movement. And 8 years later out of this anti-democratic, thoroughly reactionary political whirlwind came President Trump and Trumpism. I know analogies can easily be stretched beyond their limit, but some echoes of the counterrevolution that ushered in Jim Crow in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction ring in my ears when I think about the present moment.
But let’s hope, and their is good reason for hope, that we will fare better in turning back this right wing, racist counter-revolution than the brave, largely African American resisters did more than a century ago. Their appeals for unity to their white allies in the North fell on deaf ears, thereby allowing a long night, if not all at once, then in time to settle not only over the South and the African American people first of all, but also the democratic development of the country as a whole.