A zero day vulnerability is the discovery of a weakness within a system that can be utilized by outside forces, should they know how to properly execute their actions. It is a tragic irony that connects this hacking term to today’s Inaugural events.
Many forces, from Vladimir Putin and the Russian government, to an aristocratic clique, to a group of treacherous and psychotic politicos, to cowardly, opportunistic politicians, to Trump himself joined forces to make this day happen. They “shocked” political pundits by refusing to adhere to basic standards of human decency while successfully running a presidential campaign. Some people in this country were equally shocked:
“How could this happen? All of the polls said that she was going to win.”
“Who could ever vote for Donald Trump? I mean seriously, he’s the worst.”
“That scandal should’ve ended his election chances once and for all.”
“Sarah Jessica Parker endorsed Hillary and slammed Trump. Didn’t that matter?”
There were a great many takes on the many factors involved in Trump’s victory. Some blamed the electoral college for denying Hillary her place in the White House. Others blame the FBI’s actions with two weeks to go before Election Day. These are excuses from operatives and a candidate looking for someone to scape goat for a poorly run campaign. Racism, sexism and xenophobia gave us Trump.
They are the exploits which made this zero day possible, national weaknesses that we’ve known about since colonialism came to this continent. It is disingenuous to be shocked at the racism emitted by Trump, as if no other Americans feel this way. It is hard to fully account for the physical, emotional, economic and political violence inflicted upon our communities of color by private citizens, private businesses, people within state-sponsored institutions or other representative organizations due to the depth and breadth of the problem. This violence is easily overlooked by white Americans because rarely, if ever, does it affect their day-to-day lives. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not just referring to white Americans who supported Trump, progressives have the same problem. In the DC area, where I work and live, I see “liberal” people wearing a disgusting, racist depiction of an outdated and awful football team mascot with pride. These same people talk about terrorism in religious terms, which is not only exacerbating the problem, but within the U.S., is an entirely inaccurate description of our most active terrorists. These folks were the people most shocked and horrified by Trump’s victory.
Is it really all that shocking that, as a nation, we endorsed racism and elected Trump without thinking that his actions in office could adversely affect all of us? That white people overlooked the fact that it could crash our nation’s system for caucasians and have it function the way it was designed to do for people of color?
It’s not shocking. And what’s also not surprising is that making headway in this area of our national consciousness is profoundly important. Neglecting our discriminatory tendencies individually and institutionally is unconscionable and untenable for a healthy society in the Era of Trump or at any other time.
We need to be united. And no, I’m not talking about Bernie Bros and Hillbots singing kumbaya over brunch in Brooklyn. I’m talking about united in efforts to seek knowledge and push ourselves and our communities for needed growth. Politically, I’m talking about the fact that supporting the Iraq War, using racist terminology to allude to young black men and taking money from documented human rights abusers is bad. I’m talking about the fact that supporting pro-gun measures that enable violence is bad. There needs to be accountability for those positions and we are the ones who can and should provide it, and not at times of convenience for our leaders, because true equality should not wait when it has been delayed this long.
I’m talking about action not words when it comes standing up to racial and other injustices, no matter where they exist, no matter who espouses them, no matter how you may feel about that particular person’s personality in a non-violent, persistent way. It is as important for the institutions, organizations and people you support as much as the institutions, organizations and people you oppose.
Can that happen successfully? I believe with all of my heart that it can and as crazy as this may sound, I believe Trump represents an excellent opportunity to engage with Americans who have been wittingly or unwittingly ignoring these issues because the racism of Trump and his ilk has no subtlety. I’ll be at the Women’s March on Washington tomorrow to see if we can get off to a good start. And in the meantime, please check out and consider making a donation in money or time to Black Lives Matter, who have been unofficially and officially, with different names in different eras, doing this work for hundreds of years.
(Full Disclosure: Despite my reservations about his record on guns and despite personally witnessing Bernie taking a very dismissive, condescending tone with Black Lives Matter activists at NetRoots 2015 in Phoenix, Ariz., I voted for him in the 2016 Washington, D.C. primary. His stances on many other issues, from health care, to foreign policy, to income inequality are quite admirable and he came around to release a very progressive platform on racial justice. Although I was not happy doing it, I voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 General Election after moving to Maryland. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for someone who didn’t stand a realistic chance of defeating Trump’s platform of racism, climate change denial and establishing a culture of next-level corruption.)