Sitting On the Brink of 2016
2016! We are sitting on the brink of 2016. Twelve more months and the first American president of African descent will be history. His term will have expired, the hatred can cease and the debate over his legacy can begin in earnest.
Once President Obama is out of office will there be a black backlash? Will liberal and progressive white people go back to being white people? Surely liberal and progressive whites have not forgotten race matters prior to Obama? It is safe to say that the conservative and right wingers have a long memory of these kinds of things.Will the slight “kumbaya” effect engendered by the Obama presidency linger pass Lincoln’s birthday?
These questions and more are on my mind this New Year Eve. By this time tomorrow, we will be well on our way into the 2016 experience. By mid-January 2016, the countdown to the end of the Obama presidency will have commenced. No longer will there be a discussion of how little President Obama accomplished for black Americans from 2008-2016, the discussion will hinge on how much can he get done in 2016 that will specifically lift a few black boats.
The race to become the next American president will heat up as soon as 2016 arrives. Suddenly, the antics of Donald J. Trump will take on added meaning. Dismissing Trump as a joke will no longer cut it. Chances are actually good, that Trump will become the Republican nominee for the highest office on the planet.
After all, Trump has vowed to pour millions of dollars of his own cash into an advertising campaign beginning early 2016. He has essentially been given a free ride by the corporate media conglomerates, while others have had to spend a little “Citizen United” money to kept up the appearance of a viable campaign in the tailwinds of Trump’s thus far meteoric rise in the Republican pre-season.
If Trump becomes president, what becomes of black Americans? Will their lives matter less than they ever have? Although Trump has not attacked Black Americans as he has other non-white members of the “melting pot,” his followers may be emboldened enough by trump’s denigrating rhetoric hurled toward, Muslims, Mexicans, Asians and women, to ratchet up the racial animus that has been simmering under the surface since Barack Obama defeated John McCain back in 2008.
If not Trump, then who?
Hillary? She would be a first for the American presidency. The first woman to join the club. She can at least be counted upon to maintain the status quo in banking and financial regulations, and to give a big boost to white women, who have been the unspoken “White Negroes” of America’s social and political fabric and been treated much like Black Americans of both sexes.
If not Hillary, then perhaps Bernie?
Bernie Sanders would represent a first, too. The first Jewish person to become president. Who would ever have thought that was possible a few years ago? Bernie would level the playing field for all Americans in ways that none in either party could imagine or articulate. He would lower the income disparity between the bottom, where most Americans find themselves and the top one-tenth percent of the top one percent of the richest Americans. Perhaps, a Sanders presidency can not shrink the gap to a degree that it would be noticeable in four or eight years, but his presidency will begin that long arduous trek towards providing a good quality of life for more Americans than at any time in the history of the country.
There are so many questions and possibilities as we sit on the brink of 2016. The presidential election to come will position America for the twenties, which one hundred years ago was a roaring decade. The “roaring twenties” came on the heels of a decade which had committed its resources to fighting wars on foreign lands, much like the current decade.
Sitting on the brink of 2016, posing questions, plotting and planning; there is little or no time for shucking and jiving, skinning or grinning.
2016 awaits! May the good force of wisdom and sound judgment be with us all.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.