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Protect the Weak: An Open Letter to Black and Latino Men Voting for Trump

Issue 286

Trump’s outlaw persona and a desire for economic security are driving support for the former president among Black men, Nicholas Powers writes in this opinion piece.

Nicholas Powers Mar 25

Oh, Trump wasn’t that bad.” I saw my neighbor hold court on the stoop. “Had money in my pocket. Hell, half the time he told the truth!” He and two friends, all Black men, belly laughed. One said, “And the other half?” The Trump lover made an I-got-caught gesture with his palms, “Well…” 

They guffawed loudly. I walked and rubbed my temples. I heard this before. I have heard it on stoops and in barbershops and bars. I heard you laugh off the Trump years. I heard you openly talk of voting for Trump. When asked why, you say, “I’m broke under Biden. Trump made it rain.” 

It’s not about money. Trump was fun. He jokes about murder. He does not give a fuck about pronouns. He kinda said COVID-19 was a conspiracy. You kinda believe it was. He threatened to nuke North Korea. He’s an honest liar. So he’s bat-shit crazy, racist. Ok. Better than Democrats, Obama included, who talk like politically correct robots. 

Has anyone told you how important you are to the future? Has anyone said to you that we need you? We need you to protect the weak.

The media sniffed you out. The New York Times, MSNBC and The Washington Post run articles about you. What if you do vote for Trump? Or do not vote at all? Since the presidential election is decided by tens of thousands in swing states, you could be the kingmaker. You could decide the fate of the world. Please read that sentence again. 

You could decide the fate of the world. 

Has anyone told you that yet? You literally hold the lives of people you have not met in your hands. Your vote means the difference between the old and the poor getting ­Social ­Security and welfare or being cut off. Imagine a family sleeping in a car. Imagine an old woman going hungry to afford medicine. Your vote decides whether the United States builds more solar panels, electric cars and curbs CO2, or if global warming drowns cities and people flee with their lives in bags. Your vote decides if we can vote. Imagine Trump closing polling stations and requiring hard-to-get ID’s until voting is an impossible gauntlet. Imagine Republicans losing an election but refusing to give up power. Imagine seeing the military in the streets, guns in hand, enforcing the new order. 

Has anyone told you how important you are to the future? Has anyone said to you that we need you? We need you to protect the weak.  

The ‘Woking’ Class

We need you to protect the weak because no one else will. The Democrats lie. I know you know this. 

Democrats love, just love, the moral high ground. Ever listen to them? Jesus fucking Christ. They sell the greatest hits of social justice rhetoric like late-night Power Rock commercials, “This collection is not sold in stores.” Remember “re-imagining policing” during the George Floyd protests or “safe spaces” or just add whatever adjective to “equity” or “justice” and hocus pocus, a star is born!  

You are done with it. You see the game is rigged and they rigged it. Sure white liberals show up to protest racism but send their kids to private schools or cock-block school integration. Our kids are taught by overworked and underpaid staff. I see my son’s teachers palm their eyes and sigh. Many quit to find better pay. Yes, white liberals talk of Martin Luther King Jr. like the Second Coming of Christ but swiftly block attempts to build low-cost housing in their leafy suburbs. 

They are fucking hypocrites. They love the “woking” class not the working class. They love MSNBC Blacks and Latinos but not us, not the living breathing ones who make a dollar out of 15 cents. 

We need you to protect the weak and vulnerable. The ones left behind. I think you know them too. Maybe a brotha caught in a revolving door between the street and jail I know, I do. I give him dap walking back from the bodega. Late at night on the stoop, he showed me shiny scars under his shirt. He told me in a shaking voice, how he got shot by a crew. Suddenly, he leaves. I watch him walk into the night, lost in the dark. 

I know you. I know one reason you are voting for Trump is because you never, never want to be as vulnerable as that homeless, scarred brother. You never want to be dependent on others. You want control of your destiny. You want that money. 

You literally hold the lives of people you have not met in your hands.

Instead of protecting the weak, you are running as fast as you can to have power. Even if that means supporting a racist. Even if that means electing Trump. 

Bullies

We need your strength. We really do. I don’t think you hear that enough. I think, hermanos, you hear the opposite. 

Liberals love your trauma. They want your sob story. They love to make movies where you are slaves or ghetto kids who need a white teacher to believe in them. They love seeing you as a victim. 

That is why Trump is appealing. He is no one’s victim. He can do whatever the fuck he wants to whoever he wants, whenever he wants. Stiff his workers? Sure. Grab women by the pussy? Done. Sell bullshit to idiots? Easy money. 

Can I tell you a secret about Strong Men types? Whether it is Putin, Trump or Trujillo? Strong men are not strong. They are bullies. They attack the poor. They attack women and gays and workers. They will attack you too. 

Trump, the Republicans and the whole MAGA crew are bullies. Rich men in nice suits passing tax cuts for the wealthy and dismantling unions while scapegoating easy targets like trans people who are less than 1% of the population. 

Trump is selling you a lie. Please hermanos, take it from me. Ese hombre está lleno de mierda. I am a New Yorker. I see tourists getting sold fake goods all the time. I know a hustle when I see it. 

What fake goods is he selling now? That immigrants are your enemy. They’re not. They are families, scared and running from death. We have enough room. America is immense. Purple mountain majesties. Windswept valleys. We have the space. We have work that needs to get done. New roads, new buildings, new energy grids. We need immigrants. Welcome them. 

Protect the Weak

We need you. Please, we need you to do the right thing. I know being strong is fueled by a fear of being weak. Fear can blind us. Fear can make us hurt those who have less than we do. Fear can make us into bullies 

We need you to protect us. What you do in the voting booth matters. You have the lives of people in your hands. You can give life or death. 

I know. It is a lot to put on you. I am asking you to turn away from the fun choice. I am asking you to set aside qualms about LGBTQ people or immigration. I am asking you to take responsibility for the lives of people you never met. 

I am asking you to be a man. 

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