As the nation anxiously awaits results in the ongoing presidential election, a prominent scholar's words offer a timely reminder about the nation's moral makeup, racist history, and why it's too simplistic to place the blame for all this squarely on Donald Trump.
Eddie Glaude, currently a professor and chair of African American Studies at Princeton University, expressed that sobering sentiment in an interview on MSNBC's Deadline: White House back in August of 2019, just days after a right-wing terrorist targeted the Latinx community and killed 23 people in a Walmart in El Paso, TX. Amid an incredibly close presidential race, a clip from Glaude's interview is being shared again on social media because of its tragic and enduring relevance.
"America is not unique in its sins, as a country. We're not unique in our evils, to be honest with you," Glaude said. "I think where we may be singular is in our refusal to acknowledge them, and the legends and myths we tell about our inherent goodness to hide and cover and conceal, so that we can maintain a kind of willful ignorance that protects our innocence." He added, "There are communities that have had to bear the brunt of America — white Americans — confronting the danger of their innocence. And it happens every generation."
"This is us . . . He's a manifestation of the ugliness that's in us."
Glaude went on to say the incumbent president is a symptom of white supremacy in the nation, as opposed to the source. "What we know is, the country has been playing politics for a long time on this hatred. We know this. So, it's easy for us to place it all on Donald Trump's shoulders," Glaude said. Referencing the El Paso shooting — as well as the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 and the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 — Glaude said, "It's easy for us to place Pittsburgh on his shoulders. It's easy for me to place Charlottesville on his shoulders. It's easy for us to place El Paso on his shoulders. This is us, and if we're gonna get past this, we can't blame it on him. He's a manifestation of the ugliness that's in us."
Glaude's words echo a similar sentiment shared by Van Jones on the evening of Nov. 3. The CNN commentator framed a potential Biden win as a "political victory," but not a "moral victory" due to the closeness of the race. "We wanted to see a repudiation of this direction for the country, and the fact that it's this close, it hurts," Jones said. "It just hurts."
Even as Joe Biden breaks the record for the most votes ever cast for a presidential candidate, exit polling shows Donald Trump has maintained his base of white voters, still amassing over 68 million votes at press time.