Donald Trump’s America is intolerable and Joe Biden’s will be as such, but America does not belong to either of these men. Trump certainly embodies all of our worst, but by no means does Biden embody only our best. Presently, there is not enough good in this country to overcome the bad. America is the sum of all its parts and the only men ever electable are those who reflect the average of our total. Thus, in November we are left to choose between two insufferable candidates.
The problem we face as minorities in the American electorate is that no presidential candidate has to reflect us to be reflective of the country as a whole. Our only hope to influence any candidate, is to vote as a collective, an unfortunate reality that denies us of our individuality. However, Biden clumsily panders to us simply because he cannot win without us.
Nevertheless, it is extremely tempting to withhold our collective vote to prove to America that they need us even more than they realize. To show America that without us, this country is a nation that Trump profoundly reflects. America desperately needs Trump removed because the monstrous truth that he reveals is too much for them to bear. The dissonance between what America thinks it is and the truth that Trump reflects may very well cause this country to implode. Yet, the material wounds America would suffer cannot and will not compare to that of black Americans. We have resigned to the fact that regardless of who is elected we will suffer the same. Although we are fighting fervently for our equity, we cannot assert that this country is even proportionately ours. Therefore, our collective vote for Biden will be a benevolent act for the benefit of a country that does not belong to us.
Yet, we will show up in November, not to the extent that we showed up for Obama, but at least to the extent we did for Hillary Clinton. Not to save America, but because we cannot afford to forget that America at its worst is genocidal. We are under no illusion that the soul of America will be transformed nor that it will be ready to repent for its sins if Biden wins. “If [Biden] is elected, it will be by means of the black vote, and it will not be a vote for [Biden]. It will be a coldly calculated risk, a means of buying time. Perhaps, only black people realize this, but we are dying, here, out of all proportion to our numbers, and with no respect to age, dying in the streets, in the madhouse, in the tenement, on the roof, in jail and in the Army. This is not by chance, and it is not an act of God. It is a result of the action of the American institutions, all of which are racist: it is revelatory of the real and helpless impulse of most white Americans toward black people. Therefore, in a [few months], blacks will be using the vote to outwit the Final Solution. Yes. The Final Solution.”
*The italicized quotes are from an essay titled the “Notes form the House of Bondage” written by James Baldwin, published by The Nation Magazine regarding the 1980 Election between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.