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

By       Message Dr. Lenore Daniels     Permalink
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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.

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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...

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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!

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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:

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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."

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Activist, writer, American Modern Literature, Cultural Theory, PhD.


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