Hey Hey! So just to let you know, this post is not about pressing my political views on anyone just observations, k? Sorry about missing last week, I had a national church conference to attend…had a great time, btw!
My President is Black
So my first time voting was in 2008. I was a freshman at Liberty University, the world’s largest Christian school. Liberty is a very conservative school and they are clear about their views. I love my alma mater J I can remember being an 18-year-old freshmen standing there in the school’s arena awaiting the results of the election in November of 2008. This life changing election that would put our first black President in office; I will never forget that day for the rest of my life. It was late in the evening and myself along with a remnant of other African American students patiently waited to see if our vote would make a difference. Then it happened, California turned blue making Barack Obama our President. The black students screamed, cheered, and hugged each other. For the first time in our lives we felt like we could do anything. Why you ask? Because growing up your mom gives you the speech of “Jalen, you can be whatever you want when you grow up; a firefighter, an astronaut, a policeman, or a teacher”. But what Obama did in November of 2008 was add, “Jalen, you can even be the president”. Before that day, we told our children “you can go to the moon, but don’t you dare think of being the leader of the free world”. What really put the icing on the cake was that my grandfather, a man who stood with Martin Luther King’s teachings, was able to witness what King essentially died for.
The next day the campus was so gloomy. Students who had been on campus for a couple of years shared that the last time the campus was that sad was when the news that our school’s founder, Jerry Falwell, Sr. passed away. We all went to convocation that Wednesday morning. Sidenote: Convocation is held on Liberty’s campus every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for approximately an hour. It is a time that we as a campus come together to hear campus announcements, worship together, and the last 30 minutes is spent listening to a speaker. Some speakers are preachers, some actors, some artists, authors, etc. (This is the same convocation that Donald Trump would attend 8 years later and say Two Corinthians lol.) Ok, so we get to convocation on November 5, 2008 and no one mentions the election. No one says anything about our newly elected official. The arena that once echoed screams of excitement the night before is silent even though it is filled with thousands of people.
As I go to my classes, after convo is dismissed, I hear some of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever heard. “Did you hear those niggers screaming for that man? I should have pulled out my rifle and killed them all”. I will keep the other comments to myself. I remember calling my mom with tears in my eyes asking her to pick me up. I feared for my life.
Can I tell you my biggest fear? I was afraid that they would assassinate my president. I was afraid that America wasn’t ready for a black President and someone would try to take him out.
I watched my high school classmates post pictures at their HBCU’s of parties, shooting fire crackers, and jamming and singing along to “My President is Black”. My experience? The opposite. I felt out of place and that is exactly what I felt yesterday.
Making America Great Again
So some of you saw I went to Trump's Rally yesterday. Here are my observations:
Because I know people with connections we didn't have to wait in line and we sat on the 2nd row. We got there around 4:30 and he was not scheduled to speak until 7. As we pulled up, there were confederate flags, "Clinton for Prison 16" shirts being sold, and of course shirts that spoke to making America great again. My partner and I walked into the stadium and a news anchor glowed at the sight of our brown faces. He interviewed us. I'm going to be honest, I think he was disappointed that we were articulate. We are both under 30, casually dressed, but to their dismay, college educated with the ability to put a sentence together free of "yo" and "ya kno what I'm sayin?". He asked my partner what he would have to hear tonight in order to vote for Trump (he gave an answer...it was so loud I could not even hear him even though I was right there). He interviewed me, asked was I excited, and why I came. My answer in so many words was I’m really just here out of curiosity (I said it a little more eloquent than that).
We sat on the second row while patiently awaiting for the man of the hour. The crowd was filled with Trump’s supporters. Every once in a while the crowd would chant “U.S.A, U.S.A”…or my favorite “Lock Her Up” (speaking of Clinton). The crowd was instructed that if someone was there who was protesting that they need to start to chant "Trump" and wave their signs to get security’s attention. Of course, it was inevitable, some Anti-Trump folks made their way to…you guessed it! OUR SECTION! Bruhhhhhh, I was nervous. Let me tell you! In that stadium that filled 16,000 people it was only about 14 black people (no exaggeration). These 14 black people excluded the African Americans who were there to fulfill their jobs as security, police, and working the concession stand. The 14 black people included myself, my partner, his friend, 2 people who spoke in favor of Trump, and the other 9 people who were there…I'm guessing some for support and some who were like me, just curious. I was afraid that the supporters would see those signs held up in our section and automatically think it was us protesting without seeking clarification first.
The people jumped in the protesters' faces, blocked their faces with signs, screamed at them, and one of them even touched the lady. Not I….NOT I (I digress lol).
This African American Pastor gets up and shouts about his support of Trump. His style put me in the mindset of a wrestler who is calling out his next opponent. He goes on to start the chant “All Lives Matter, All Lives Matter”…I won’t give my opinion on that either *woo-sah*.
After waiting for what seemed to be an eternity... Music that sounded like it should be at a Monday Night Raw WWE match started blaring through the loud speakers. Trump takes the stage and the crowd goes wild. He spends most of his time taking jabs at Clinton, talking about all the people he knows, and of course “building that wall” (another chant the crowd enjoyed). Everything he said was followed by cheers and met with enthusiasm as if we were a part of a charismatic church service. “Yes!” “Amen” they shouted. Trump showed his support of Blue Lives (and rightfully so), continued by saying how hard it is to be a policemen these days. My thoughts? Try being a black person these days. After sitting in that arena for four hours, we just couldn’t take it anymore.
We walked out to a sea of protesters chanting, “Black Lives Matter”, “Love Trumps Hate”, “Trump Sucks”…on the other side “Lock Her Up” and “Trump that B****.We saw fights and confederate flags, heard screaming, and threats. My partner grabbed my hand and pulled me through the crowd. For the first time I felt like it was November 5, 2008 again.
I will say this in closing, MAKE SURE YOU VOTE! Make an educated opinion on both candidates and then cast your vote. Your voice matters! Yesterday was very interesting lol. Feel free to ask questions or shoot an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use Subject: Make America Great. Oh, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. PRESIDENT!