The United States comprises roughly 92 million straight white males. Give or take. Out of a population of just over 300 million, it’s a sizable chunk. Not all of them voted for Donald Trump, of course, but this was the audience to whom he played when he objectified and assaulted women, categorized all black Americans as ghetto-dwellers, maligned the LGBTQ community by choosing Mike Pence as a running mate, and stoked everyone’s fears by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and Islamic citizens terrorists. It didn’t hurt his cause when he pandered to white supremacists and Klansmen, but that was just window dressing.
I’m one of the 92 million. I’m not proud or embarrassed, and as I’ve said before, Trump’s presidency will affect me the least—unless he tweets the nuclear codes and someone in his family decides to see if they work. But his election leaves well over 200 million Americans for whom this country became a less friendly place on November 8, 2016. That’s a lot of people to feel marginalized, and already we’re seeing the blowback.
The recent NAACP sit-in at the office of Trump’s appointee as US attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, is just the beginning. The protesters arrived earlier Tuesday determined to stay until Sessions is no longer the nominee or they were arrested. When the latter occurred, among those taken was NAACP President Cornell W. Brooks who issued the following statement: “In the midst of rampant voter suppression, this nominee has failed to acknowledge the reality of voter suppression while pretending to believe in the myth of voter fraud.”
Thirty years ago charges of racism kept Sessions from a federal district court appointment. He denied those allegations, but now in 2017, his continued denial of voter suppression portends even more difficulty for minorities who wish to exercise their right and responsibility to vote. And former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick—who in 1985 worked on the defense team that represented three black civil rights leaders targeted by Sen. Jeff Sessions in the notorious voter fraud case in Alabama—has urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject the appointment. Patrick concluded a scathing letter by saying “Mr. Sessions is the wrong person to place in charge of our justice system.”
Those of us with less to lose need to support protests like this. There will be more, and we can’t let curt and dismissive tweets from the minority President-elect obscure the fact that these protests do not constitute bad sportsmanship by poor-loser Democrats, but signify the rejection of ill-conceived, often ignorant, and sometimes just vindictive choices by an undisciplined child who has somehow gotten hold of this country.