Published on December 18th, 2020 | by Candace Simpson
Still the Master’s House: No Single Administration Is a Solution
It started with one honk.
On Saturday, November 7, I was on a walk in my neighborhood, and I heard it: one honk. Then pots and pans. Then dollar-vans blaring. Then buses beeping. And then dancing, cowbells, cheers, people hugging…
Eventually I put it together that “we won.” But underneath my mask (my KN95 mask, not a figurative one), I was conflicted. Torn. Thrown.
On one hand, it was a welcomed treat to see Black people gathering in the street and rejoicing. After all, for the better part of a year we’ve only really left our homes to protest the State. Every time we’ve gone out of the house, at least for a good number of us, it was out of duty and never out of joy. On some level, ignoring the why, it did bring me joy to see Black people outside. Because I hadn’t seen that in some time. I can admit that I’m desperate for fellowship. Starved for touch. Thirsty for how we love each other in person. I’m not proud about that; I’m angry that this nation has put me in such a hopeless position.
But on the other hand, I felt myself tearing up. My face got hot. I couldn’t relate to the joy happening in front of me. I was glad to hear that That Man would be leaving office (even though we all know that the current president doesn’t need an office to do more harm), but I knew better than to think he’s going quietly. In fact, he has thrown such an expensive tantrum that the 46th Administration asked me to “chip in” to the transition fund.
What’s worse, we know that the White House itself is a symbol and a seat of danger for so many colonized peoples across the world. I knew that Trump in the White House again would mean a certain bunch of dangerous outcomes. I also know, because every single warrior in my bloodline rises up to tell me this, that the White House has long been the source of dangerous outcomes.
So, I could not bring myself to get excited about the premise of a Black and South Asian woman in the White House when she is on video talking about threatening vulnerable children and laughing about it. I cannot bring myself to get excited about a woman putting her pronouns in her Twitter bio when she has also refused to honor the humanity of trans women placed in men’s prisons.
A good number of my friends know that I am moved by The Wiz, so on November 7, I was tagged in a number of “Brand New Day” videos. I did not feel moved, though. I felt angry. As my friend Erica Caines has said several times in the last month, “It’s tomorrow. You said you would rejoice today and that you would hold him accountable tomorrow. It’s tomorrow.”
I say this not to poke a hole in anyone’s fun-bubble. I want you to have fun, I want you to be happy. Joy and happiness are central to our movements. We have to have something to look forward to, something that propels us when we would rather just give in and go along.
But in the coming years, we will need to hold onto the hard lessons we’ve learned from this outgoing administration. We must remember that power should always be investigated. We should remember that power insulates people from consequences. We should remember all the things we said we cared about in the last four years. Trump not being in office is a very good thing, but he is more like the moon and less like the sun. He reflects something; he is not the beginning of it—nor the end.
Consider the tradition of outgoing presidents writing letters to incoming presidents. We often sentimentalize this tradition, but it’s evidence that presidents are part of a lineage. There are several mechanisms of holding on, conserving, and expanding power. As Dwayne David Paul writes, Trump “did not erect history’s largest prison system. Military expenditures were already our largest federal discretionary expense when he took office. These failings are his — and our — inheritance.”
So, what does that mean for us? Grim, huh? You may feel like there’s nothing you can do. But remember the words of our ancestors:
Keep your lamps trimmed and burning. The time is drawing nigh.
I know you’re tired. So am I. I know you’re desperate for reprieve. So am I. We can coordinate with each other, though. We can build collectives and sustainable communities. We can return to our deepest principles. Rather than cowering or surrendering to the inevitability of compromise, we can draw each other tighter and refuse to genuflect.
King Nebuchadnezzar will never get my bow, nor will he get my celebration. I reserve that for Us.
Candace Simpson is an educator, minister and writer. She believes that Heaven is a Revolution that can happen right here on Earth. She invites others into that philosophy at www.fishsandwichheaven.com