This Isn’t Kafkaesque. It’s the Moment Americans Created.

It seems Kafka has come to America. It must be Kafka, for who else could craft such a spectacle of utter absurdity? A Kafkaesque nightmare! Who else would drape the backdrop of a stage in the red, white, and blue while dangling, gleefully, the words TRUMP and CLINTON, all caps and bold! And there, center-stage, rising from the stage is Trump and Clinton. Applause! Frantic Applause, please! We’ve never seen anything like this moment! No here. Not in the US. So he, Kafka, must have come! Because there is the one candidate who is blatantly racist and the other who is…well, racist. Less blatantly, yes, but all the more dangerously, racist. Who else but Kafka could script such double talk  but make it sound so perfectly normal, rational, unquestionable. And what is said could be laughable, except you can’t laugh because you have discovered that you are Joseph K in real time. And you will also have to make a decision, an important decision in real time, not just your survival, but the survival of this nation, the survival of this planet, Earth.

If only you’d wake up, the half of the spectacle that is Trump, the sexist, mega-egotistical billionaire would disappear. If only you’d wake up, the half of the spectacle that is Clinton, the war-hawk and millionaire would vanish. If you vote for the female candidate, you’d not have to endure recordings of the male candidate bragging groping the genitals of the women (because he just can’t help himself; he loves women so much). But the female candidate brags about her love for friends, corporate CEOs who are friends of hers and of Bills. And, no, your name is not on her list of friends. And if you one of those weirdos, freaks, wit the silly agenda of ending the “good” American practice of fracking, if you are needlessly obsessed about climate change and the survival of life as we know it on this planet, Clinton, that liberal candidate, has three words for you: “Get a life!”…And I have to tell you, you are awake! It’s not Kafka! This is not a long-running movie. It’s not a fiction, and you are awake! But it is not. You are, to use Trump’s words, “living in the real world,” fellow Americans.

This is not a Kafkaesque moment; it’s a moment America has made. This is a very American moment in history. Fear of racial difference! This fear of other human beings is American. It’s passed down generation after generation. Fear of others! No Kafka but white Americans imagining others as not human in the social and cultural narrative in which justifiable torture, kidnapping, and murder made it possible for white Americans to believe this land is their land, and therefore, it is still and will always be if we are to remain safe, remain Americans, the true Americans necessary to torture, to kidnap, and to murder Black and Brown, Asian and Muslim, anyone not American! A long history of lies and deception has brought us here to this stage, to this 2016 presidential election. Here we are again knowing we are not among the selected, the chosen, stamped and approved for full entrance, for citizenship. And to do what, if not participate in the history of torture, kidnapping, and murder. How can we not if there has never been anything but betrayal and erasure, erasure of the real crime and or memory of it! Erasure of our history from our own minds! From the collective minds of white America…

We are forced to listen again to a carefully-crafted script that demands we all sit up, and temporarily be good and American, those of you who are Other! Sit up, watch and listen! Listen and watch. It’s all for you, our show. We take in everyone, and we insist everyone should, MUST, participate, or how un-American can you be! Everyone must decide. And vote. Ultimately, vote!

Where to begin? Most Americans seem to be unaware that Islam came to the new colonies with the first enslaved African. That is, the first enslaved Africans in the US would have been Muslims! According to Sylviane A. Diouf (Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved In the Americas) “the civil wars and the jihad of nineteenth-century central Sudan, for instance, sent many Muslims sold by other Muslims to the Americas.” Captive Muslims in Catholic countries were “forcibly baptized” and converted to Christianity before they were sent to America. They were called ladinos. Senegambians, among the first ladinos, “were the first Africans sold to the New World.”

The first implantation of Islam was not superficial, writes Diouf. On the contrary, “it was deeply rooted and for that reason could withstand deportation. During slavery, on both sides of the Atlantic, Africans were devout Muslims, sincere believers, strict practitioners, and active agents in the development and shaping of their religious and cultural world,” despite forced conversion to Christianity. Many of these enslaved Muslims were literate, able to both read and write. The first slave revolts in the Americas were the result of rebellions among the Wolof and Fulani.

Islam in the form of enslaved Africans was part of the US landscape long before many ethnic European emigrants settled in the US. But listen to Donald Trump. Muslims are terrorists! He doesn’t need to say this; his rhetoric implies as much. It sends the message to Americans so inclined to view Muslims as terrorists that it is okay to think of extreme measures to safeguard the US and law-abiding American citizens from Muslims. During in his campaign for the presidency, he’s called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” In April of this year, Politico reported that conservative billionaire Charles Koch called the plan a “monstrous” idea, “reminiscent of Nazi Germany.” But how many Americans nodded in silence? In his first debate with Hilary Clinton, Trump, when asked about his plan to “ban” Muslims from entering the US, toned down the banning idea. Muslims are still in his cross hairs. He wants “extreme vetting” of them. As for Muslims already citizens of the US, Trump wants them “registered.” Registered!

Where would Trump begin?

How many times in this presidential campaign have we heard Trump boast that he will build a wall between the US and Mexico—and Mexico, he’s said, will pay for it! And you know why, America, good law-abiding American citizens, because Mexico sends us the criminals! “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Some!

 If you listened to the response of both Trump and Clinton when asked about race, you would think all Black Americans are criminal. Trumps wants Americans to know that he’s the “least racist person that you have ever met.” That’s right! Trump can’t disavow the KKK or denounce David Duke’s endorsement of his candidacy, but he’s not racist. And what of the shootings of Black Americans by the police? Not much there either. In fact, his response to the first debate’s moderator, Lester Holt, when asked about his plans to address race in America, Trump had this to say: “The problem in our poorest communities is not that there are too many police. The problem is that there are not enough police.”

Trump still believes that Trisha Meili was raped and brutalized in Central Park by the five young men (actually children at the time) arrested and convicted after all were coerced by the police to contribute false confessions to an already socially-created narrative of Black violence. They were five human beings but described by the media as a “wolf pack.” Animals, in other words, predators, larger than life creatures, preying on humans (whites) and particular women (again, white women). Recall police officer Darren Wilson’s description of the unarmed Micheal Brown he shot because he saw a “hulk” like creature. In the Central Park Five case, the actual attacker, Matias Reyes, confessed to the crime in 2002, and the convictions against five innocent young men were vacated. Among actual evidence presented in the Reyes case, DNA found at the scene matched Reyes’ DNA! From the office of District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau came this statement:

A comparison of the statements reveals troubling discrepancies…The accounts given by the five defendants differed from one another on the specific details of virtually every major aspect of the crime—who initiated the attack, who knocked the victim down, who undressed her, who  struck her, who held her, who raped her, what weapons were used in the course of the assault, and when in the sequence of events the attack took place…In many other respects the defendants’ statements were not corroborated by, consistent with, or explanatory of objective, independent evidence. And some of what they said was simply contrary to established fact.

Yet Trump sees predators, Black predators! Is Morgenthau a traitor! What an unpatriotic confession on the part of the criminal justice system, for Morgenthau’s statement is a confession, even if singular, revealing to the world how the criminal justice treats Black Americans. As a breach against the social narrative on Black America as the site of American violence, it exposes the true location of violence in this nation. He, Trump, objects!

Trump had been objecting to any confession of the truth long before the convictions of those five Black children. In fact, Trump campaigned to have the five young men executed, taking out a full-page ad in the Daily News in May 1989 that read: Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police! Victims, Trump told Larry King, had no rights. Criminals, on the other hand, have “unbelievable rights.”

And Trump is still objecting to the innocence of these men. He’s very select on what he wants Americans to remember. Americans are not to recall the criminal justice’s confession of law enforcement’s corruption, but recall, instead, the coerced confessions of the five children who were forced to supply the police their narrative of guilt just days after their arrests. Trump won’t let go. It’s a way of thinking about certain people that can’t be expunged over night. There’s no longer racist thinking in the US, thinking that would cloud our sight, our perspective, our vision. Racist thinking becomes natural, habitual. On October 12, 2016, just a few days ago, there’s Trump defending his position with a CNN reporter: “They admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous.”

They have to be guilty. Because they just have to be!

Trump only recently gave up his “birther” crusade.  If he has given it up that is. For the moment, Barack Obama was born in the US!

“We need law and order,” Trump tells America and many nod in agreement because they understand what “law and order” refers to and who it refers to in the US. He tells them that he has “investments” in Charlotte, and frankly, he’s concerned. Who’s going to come to the cities were his monstrosities tower over the good tourists and shoppers, if Blacks are committing crime? Trump provides America with an image: Blacks roaming the cities of America in search of people to kill! And what meaningful humanitarian and “innocent” endeavors take place in Trump’s Towers? Perhaps groping women is humanitarian for Trump. It’s similar to Stop and Frisk which, according to Trump, worked so well in New York during former Mayor Giuliani’s regime. Otherwise, Trumps been focused on the bottom line, profits, that is,—for his family and friends, of course.

And what does Hilary Clinton have to say when asked about race in the US? Seeing herself as a champion of Black Americans along with her husband, Bill, she smiles warmly. “Race remains a significant challenge in our country.” Then she tells us what many of us have know for decades: Race determines where people live, work, where their children attend public schools. It determines “how they’re treated in the criminal justice system. We’ve just seen those two tragic examples in both Tulsa and Charlotte.” Technically, the deaths of Keith Lamont Scott and Terence Crutcher are not “examples” of “race.” They are examples of a mindset that continues to maintain that whites are superior while Blacks are less than.

And only two victims of police violence, Hilary?

Clinton has spoken about the “gun epidemic” in Black communities without, at the same time, discussing the epidemic of guns in the US. And why are Americans so dead set on upholding the Second Amendment? Why is it so important for white Americans to have their guns? Do we really want to bring up this discussion? Do we want to talk about the arming of white southerners, militia men, to make sure enslaved Blacks didn’t get to far in their attempts to escape the plantations? Do we really want to address why vigilante George Zimmerman shot and killed the teenagers Trayvon Martin or why Theodore Waser found it necessary to shoot 19-year old Renisha McBride who was only seeking help after her car crashed on the road? Clinton, too, must keep Americans focused and within American-crafted narrative of violence. We are to turn our collective heads back to the Black communities because it’s there, Clinton says, that we must keep our focus, that is, our law enforcement. Control dissent and the response of decades of disenfranchisement. There in the Black community, we must “restore trust between communities and the police.” Let’s better train our police. Let’s provide them with the “best techniques.” For what, Hilary? Do you mean to further militarize the police force in this, the USA? “Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.” Period! That’s how I would deal with “race” in the USA!

For both Trump and Clinton, the police will solve our “race” problem. America needs only to militarize the police even more!

Not many years ago, the liberal candidate, Hilary Clinton, wasn’t smiling when she spoke of Black youths as “super predators”!

But isn’t it curious that when either the Republican or Democratic candidates is asked about “race” in the US, both zero-in on Black Americans. What happened to white Americans? Are Caucasians no longer a “race” as defined by white America? Where is there a discussion on the mind-set of white Americans when it comes to “race”? When it comes to its historical fear of the other? Can there be no discussion on white supremacy? Mention “race” and the white corporate media runs to present to America leading spokespeople from the Black community!

But, yes, this, too, is white supremacy in its finest hour!

Hilary Clinton doesn’t take up time scaring white America with beastly images of Black crime. A militarized police force will handle to troublesome ones. She’ll see to that! In the meantime, Clinton has some Black friends. Not just friends, but Black friends. Those Black friends love the idea of being Hilary and Bill’s friends! For the Clinton’s part, why alienate! If you are a professional of any kind, lawyer, policymaker, professor, Black or Brown, you are welcome! If you are someone who loves Wall Street as much as she does (and Bill does too!) then you are welcome to join her on the road to the White House. Because it’s all about a democratic, freedom loving world, isn’t it? (Affirm!). This is very much about American. Freedom! (Applaud!).We need law and order and more trained police for those other Americans! And prisons! Always love for the prison industry! (Applaud! Frantically, please!).

US corporations love America so much, they close shop in America and outsource American jobs. They love America so much, they amass highly-paid legal experts to track down tax loopholes. Those bullets entering and destroying the bodies of unarmed Blacks, school children, and abused wives, girlfriends, and even gang members is produced and sold by American ammunition manufacturers. While both Trump and Clinton are war hawks with conquerors worldview, corporations, either either one, will continue to bid to drop drones on Muslim women and children. I need not remind anyone about Big Pharma’s contribution to America’s health care industry, among the worst in the world.

Clinton loves JP Morgan and Co, Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Microsoft, and Harvard and Stanford Universities too. And so many more. It’s a regular love fest! Family and friends everywhere! And I don’t think your name is on Clinton’s list of friends. No FOB are you!

Let’s not leave out the fossil fuel industry. Clinton has received “more than $6.9 million from the fossil fuel industry,” according to Greenpeace USA. But she takes climate change seriously, too?

As Naomi Klein writes in The Nation,  the problem with Clinton is not just her “corporate cash,” but her “corporate worldview,” April 6, 2016. “While Clinton is great at warring with Republicans, taking on powerful corporations goes against her entire worldview, against everything she’s built, and everything she stands for.” She has a “deeply pro-corporate ideology.” It’s so natural for her, Klein explains. Hilary Clinton can’t understand why all the hoopla about her corporate interests! And Klein, do you know, it will happen again! You don’t or can’t say, but so many Black professionals, believers, too, “deeply pro-corporate,” are lining up behind Hilary Clinton. They will be there for her to help manage enslaved, inmates, disadvantaged, uneducated, poor—those back on the plantations, those urban territories where the uniformed control the streets, the schools, and the prisons. It is happening again! Whether white or Black, we have yet to leave the plantation!

Who is taking note of how a deeply racist ideology has given rise to Clinton’s pro-corporate ideology? This is a deeply American strategy: Behind Clinton’s appeal to all Americans, particularly Black, Brown, and working class, to focus their attention on Wall Street where the wealthy thrive, is America’s partnership with the criminal! So when Klein writes that it is central to Clinton’s belief “at the center of it all is the belief “that change comes not by confronting the wealthy, but by partnering with them,” you should see America, the US Empire, government and corporations, Clinton and her friends, pushing forward in its wars against Drugs and Terrorism. And you should know what that means: It’s all good! “In the Clinton World it’s always win-win win: The governments look effective, the corporations look righteous, and the celebrities look serious. Oh, and another win too: The Clintons grow ever more powerful.” Klein has it right!

Sounds like Trump and Inc! Sounds like America and Inc.

You think Clinton isn’t selecting what bits and pieces of history she wants Americans to remember? She doesn’t want Americans to recall how the Clinton Foundation got rich in Haiti after the earthquake. Ask her how many still living in those disgraceful temporary shelters since 2005? Wikileaks released a series of emails from a Clinton senior aid to Clinton, serving then as Secretary of State. In those emails from John Podesta (Clinton’s campaign chair), it seems that friends of Bill (FOBs) received “special attention.” In other words, these were the donors or corporations chosen to come to the rescue of those poor, helpless Haitians in their time of need. Of course, what’s criminal about the mismanagement of millions of dollars in Haiti? What’s criminal when its all about profits, the bottom line, family, and friends getting richer and richer while the poor go on suffering and dying? Isn’t this the modus operandi of US corporations?

We’re going to make a great America even greater “by having the wealthy pay their share and close corporate loopholes.” Her friends on Wall Street are not worried: the corporate world understands the necessity of habitual lying. We are thankful to Wikileaks for the news. Leaked documents and, apparently, leaked emails tell us the truth while the Corporate media can only tell us lies.

So from Wikileaks, again, there is Hilary Clinton loving Wal-Mart! Yes, loving the “aggressive union busting” (The Intercept) champion of corporate America!  And Wal-Mart loves Hilary, too. According to The Intercept, the emails between the Clinton camp, reveals “a continued warm relationship between Clinton and the massive retailer.” You see, and this, too, isn’t Kafka’s doing…it seems Hilary Clinton believes Wal-Mart fosters “community”! Yes, that is what Hilary Clinton calls the relationship between Wal-Mart and community! “So this spirit of community that I think is absolutely essential to the maintenance of our democracy, our freedom, our strength, is alive and well across North America, particularly among young people” (The, October 12, 2016). Clinton received $353, 400 from the Walton family. What a “community” of the corrupt and criminal!

There’s more! According to The Intercept, in 2013, behind closed doors, Clinton apologized to Goldman Sachs for the Dodd-Frank reform bill. And more! There’s Clinton giving a 2014 thank you-speech to her friends at Deutsche Bank. Clinton thanked her friends at Deutsche Bank for the work the bank did in New York City. What work, you ask? Well, Deutsche Bank provided new Yorkers with  “affordable housing.” And we know affordable housing is in New York City! Since Clinton is now running for president, let’s not ask her about that honorable mention Deutsche received from the New York State Senate report in January. Well, maybe not so honorable, for, it turns out, the bank’s failure to maintain foreclosed properties in the city’s neighborhoods has cost those same “communities millions in unpaid fines.” And the Justice Department wants to have a talk with these friends of Clinton at Deutsche for defrauding “investors with low-quality mortgage securities” which contributed to the housing meltdown. But she thanked them! Why, do you think?

No, this double-talking Clinton would be difficult for Kafka to have fantasized. Behind closed doors, Clinton is…Clinton. There in those private sessions, Clinton tells friends that she will cut corporate tax rates if the friends and their corporations would “invest a percentage in an infrastructure bank” (The Intercept). Friends, help me, and I’ll help you. As we have been doing for so long, in so many ventures! Don’t be so baffled! Maybe the “super predators” Hilary Clinton was referring to in public was actually those corporate friends she was meeting in private. Maybe these corporate friends are actually the “super predators” she really loves.

Donald Trump’s America is a wilderness in need of a god—Him. Hilary Clinton’s America is a garden filled with many gods—corporate gods.

Kafkaesque? You’d wish!

How are we here, at this moment, asked to take one of these two candidates for president seriously? Go to the polls and vote for which one? Which is the lesser of the two evils?

I refuse!

Dr. Lenore Daniels

Dr. Daniels holds a PhD in Modern American Literature, with a specialty in Cultural Theory (race, gender, class narratives) from Loyola University, Chicago. Her publications include scholarly articles for The Canadian Women’s Studies Journal, The Griot, and Americana. She has served as a writer for several community newsletters and co-editor for Chicago Alliance for Neighbourhood Safety Newsletter. Currently, she writes a commentary for The Journal, Platteville, Wisconsin and the Black Commentator.

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