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President Donald Trump lost re-election. I’m not surprised. One can only mistreat or bully people for so long before they react. Trump won’t concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden. I’m not surprised what mega-MAGA egocentric maniacs do. It’s all about them. 

President Trump, I respect you for shaking things up, but not at the expense of the country. What has surprised me is how most of the Republican party is blindly following Trump in his cries of voter fraud or voter rigging. 

They are consciously picking one man over country. I’m a Black man from the “hood” where we really don’t do politics like that. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. If I was able to vote as a felon I would be an independent. But growing up, I have never seen American leadership allow one person to undermine everything we are supposed to stand for such as democracy. To hell with partisanship, we are talking about our foundation. 

I used to laugh when Trump said he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. Now I think the dude can really shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not get prosecuted unlike the many of us languishing in American prisons for our entire youth. 

Add to that President. Trump calling the coronavirus a hoax. Now Americans around the country are dropping like flies — hospitals and morgues are overpacked. But half the country believes it’s a hoax. 

I’m in San Quentin State Prison where 28 people died from the virus. Three of them I knew personally. I contracted coronavirus myself and lost my sense of smell. What is wrong with these people? We are damn near close to a civil war over wearing facemasks. Free people can’t shelter in place for more than a couple of months with Netflix, a spouse, their kids, and a big backyard? 

Trump tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” “LIBERATE VIRGINIA!” “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” and his supporters are out in the streets with their guns. 

Think about if you have to stay in solitary confinement for 20 years with no Netflix, no spouse and no kids, and a small cage as a yard. Your cell is the size of a bathroom. Let’s “LIBERATE the SHU!” (Security Housing Unit).

I got to thinking why all this divisiveness is happening. Then I got it! In street terms, these people are gangbanging. The Demo-Crips and the Re-Bloodicans as rapper Kenrick Lamar would say. I’m from Los Angeles, so I know what that looks like. The political parties are even wearing the same colors (red and blue) go figure! 

People can call it nationalism, but it’s gangbanging. 

They are running around the streets with guns, fighting and claiming their set affiliation. This is Trump! Fool what you want to do? This is Biden over here. What do you want to do? 

See, I know what happens. No matter what they do they can’t do no wrong in your eyes. They can shoot, threaten, or kill people. In all that craziness, you will still support them and they will support you. Just check out the GoFundMe accounts that have been set up for killers such as Dylann Roof, Derek Chauvin and Kyle Rittenhouse by some of our patriotic American Christians. We’re talking about millions of dollars to defend them for killing innocent people. “Law and Order” for who? 

In the book “The Social Animal,” the author Elliot Aronson wrote about groupthink and how dissenting opinions in a group’s inner circle are discouraged in decision-making and action can be altered by pressure to conform. That is what is happening in the Trump Administration where anyone who dissents gets fired. 

Herman Goering, one of Adolf Hitler’s top aides, said at his trial before being sentenced to death, “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders… All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” 

Sound familiar? Black Lives Matter, ANTIFA and the so-called radical left are now the enemies. The U.S. is starting to feel like Belarus or any other foreign country whose dictator refuses to leave office. President Trump will most likely leave the White House, but the damage has been done. 

President-elect Biden will try to unite the country to forge a gang truce or a peace treaty among the American people. This will be no easy task — gangbanging (political separatism) and racism has been around for thousands of years. Cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago have been struggling with their gang problem for more than half a century. 

If there is no compromising or sacrificing for the common good of the country, we are in for more turbulent times. What prison has taught me is that if you don’t put yourself in the shoes of the people you have harmed, you will never gain empathy for your fellow human being. 

It’s sad to say that after all this gangbanging, be it in politics or on the street, there will be more lost lives, families destroyed, people in jail, and distrust. Don’t you miss the days where we were all just Americans, banging the Red, White and Blue? Well, it may be time to sprinkle a little Black in there, because Black Lives Matter, too. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Marcus "Wali" Henderson

Marcus "Wali" Henderson is an editorial associate for the Prison Journalism Project and the editor-in-chief of San Quentin News. Marcus has said he never thought he would find more to his life than just doing time. The day he arrived at San Quentin State Prison, his old cellmate asked him to help cover a baseball game in which the prisoners were playing a team from outside. When the cellmate told Marcus to interview these people, his mouth dried up, and he realized he hadn't talked with anybody besides prisoners and guards for more than 15 years. That was his introduction as a reporter.