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  • Writer's pictureMwatabu S Okantah

Invented Reality: Trump/DeSantis/Republican Insanities

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

“Racists will always call you a racist when you identify

their racism. To love yourself now is a form of racism.

We are the only people who are criticized for loving

ourselves, and white people think when you love yourself

you hate them. No, when I love myself they become

irrelevant to me.”

--Dr. John Henrik Clarke

How many more lives will Donald A. Trump ruin before his enthralled “deaf, dumb and blind” base finally realizes that he and his insidious Republican sycophants have never really cared for or about them? From the Taj Mahal Casino Atlantic City debacle/the Central Park 5/Charlottesville/MAGA President Donald Trump/the failed January 6th insurrection to Anti-Disney/Anti-LGBTQ+/Anti-African American History/Anti-Wokism/the self-proclaimed Guardian of the Narrative Ron DeSantis, the political descendants of the people Richard Nixon once dubbed, “the silent majority,” are determined to invent their own reality. They will call it, “historical truth,” and move to impose their warped vision on the larger society in the name of their distorted “American values.”

The real point at issue remains, “Why are so many Americans so willing to believe in big lies?” The actual “false narrative” began when the Founding Fathers established the original Big Lie. Returning to Dr. Clarke, he adds, “Europeans not only colonized most of the world, but they also colonized information about the world.” That Europeans—including a fledgling United States—engaged in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade for more than three centuries is no false narrative. That certain members of African royalty were complicit in collaborating with the Europeans is no false narrative. That several American Presidents—most notably George Washington and Thomas Jefferson—were slave owners is no false narrative.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a graduate of Yale and Harvard Universities. One wonders if he learned what he believes are the fundamentals of African American history at those institutions, even though both are home to prestigious African American Studies Departments. The University of Florida and Florida State University have African American Studies Programs. Florida International University has an African American and Diaspora Studies Program. The state of Florida is also home to five HBCUs—including Florida A & M and Bethune-Cookman.

DeSantis espouses an already debunked Eurocentric perspective. American literary critic Leslie A. Fiedler wrote, “… but the Negro arrived [in the U. S.] without a past, out of nowhere; that is to say, out of a world he is afraid to remember [and], perhaps could not even formulate to himself in the language he has been forced to learn. Before America, there is for him simply nothing.” (1953) Hugh Trevor-Roper, Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford University wrote, “Undergraduates, seduced as always, by the changing breath of journalistic fashion, demand that they should be taught African history. Perhaps in the future there will be some African history to teach. But at present there is none: there is only the history of Europeans in Africa. The rest is darkness.…. And darkness is not a subject of history.” (1963) Distinguished scholars have always provided the rationale to support and to justify the tenets of white supremacy.

If Africa had no culture, why are so many European museums filled with priceless African artifacts? If enslaved Africans were “savages” with no skills, they would have been of no practical use to American plantation owners. Europeans had no agricultural traditions in growing cotton or rice or sugar cane. They could not teach skills to enslaved Africans those Africans had already mastered. Yoruba artisans, for example, were already working with metals—iron and bronze. They did not need Europeans to “teach” them how to become blacksmiths. Hausa people were already master horsemen. Ashanti and Mandinka peoples were already mining gold, which convinced Europeans to refer to West Africa as the “Gold Coast.” In other words, African people were kidnapped and targeted for slavery precisely because of the skills they possessed.

DeSantis is clueless when it comes to the documented history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in relation to the development of the American political economy. That the English built the male slave dungeons at Cape Coast beneath their Anglican Church or that the Portuguese converted the Confessional and Sanctuary into a slave auction site at their Catholic Church in Elmina is no false narrative. That America’s English Founding Fathers reduced enslaved Africans to chattel and codified them as three fifths of a human being in the original Constitution is no false narrative. The DeSantis insanity is really about who will define and control the “accepted” American story. It is about rolling back the real hard-fought-for-progress that African Americans, women and other marginalized groups have achieved over the last six or seven decades.

DeSantis and his conservative right cohorts speak of protecting the American narrative, but it is evident they have not read Benjamin Franklin’s Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind (1751) or Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (1785). They do not want middle and high school students exposed to the wisdom of enslaved African Americans. Harriet Tubman maintained, “I’ve heard ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ read, and I tell you Mrs. Stowe’s pen hasn’t begun to paint what slavery is as I have seen it at the far South. I’ve seen de real thing, and I don’t want to see it on no stage or in no theater.” Frederick Douglass argued, “Men talk of the Negro problem. There is no Negro problem. The problem is whether the American people have honesty enough, loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough to live up to their Constitution.”

Donald A. Trump is the self-anointed champion of “We, the People” and leader of a MAGA Movement that is more cult than movement. Shamelessly anti-Democratic, wannabe dictator, Ron DeSantis is determined to out-Trump Trump. Extremist Republicans have embraced becoming the new face of fascism in the United States. Election deniers. Rumor mongers. It can be argued that many Americans do not really understand or comprehend how their democracy is designed to work. It is revealing that a country which claims to be, “One Nation Under God,” routinely devolves into factions railing against “outside interests” and/or “outside agitators” whenever their fellow citizens speak out against injustice no matter the state. Americans who genuinely celebrate their own “revolutionary” Founding Fathers, hypocritically label any views they disagree with as "radical left" and "anti-American." They forget George Washington would have been executed for treason had he been captured by the British.

The lunatics are running the asylum. They have no shame. They have no decency. They know we know. They do not care. Real life truth in United States is harsh. America’s Big Lies are on trial and the world is watching.

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