The Suburban Lifestyle Dream is an American Nightmare

This week, the Tweeter-in-chief sent a message to suburbanites to let them know he’s doing everything he can to protect them from poor people. Specifically, he said:

I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood…Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!

The stupidity boggles. Setting aside the fact that “Suburban Lifestyle Dream” sounds like a poorly conceived Stepford Barbie accessory, the notion that suburbs today are largely white, middle class neighborhoods is ludicrous. It’s outdated and offensive, just like Trump himself.

Trump believes the suburbs of America are the same as they were in the 1950s, when white people ran en masse to the ‘burbs to escape the more diverse cities. It was dubbed “white flight.” It was racist then; it is racist now. Today, suburban housing is more affordable than city housing in most states. People looking to buy or rent can often get a lot more for their money if they move just a few miles beyond the city limits. In many places, suburbia is affordable housing.

The legislation that Trump is gleefully rescinding was put in place to combat generations of deliberately racist housing policies in America. Many of these policies were championed and enforced by people like Fred Trump, the president’s famously racist father. Fred Trump believed it was his right to turn away tenants based on the color of their skin or based on their religion. Donald Trump believes people ought to have that right today. He is working to make it so.

photo of generic suburban neighborhood

Look, I’m not naive. I know there are still people who want to live in homogenous, segregated neighborhoods. These people are called racists. They’ve been emboldened by this president and his ghoulish sidekick Stephen Miller to crawl out of their hidey-holes and say aloud things they ought to be ashamed to whisper.

Some of them spread their hateful views with the aid of microphones and TV cameras. Tucker Carlson of Fox News lost his lead writer this month after the writer was outed as the voice behind some of the most racist and sexist ideas being put forth in an already shockingly racist and sexist online community. This man barely bothered to conceal his identity. Tucker Carlson feigned surprise, but he clearly knew exactly what this man thought and he agreed with every ugly word. These are Trump’s people—hate-filled, intolerant, and cowardly. He tweets for them.

If there’s any upside to the Trump era, it’s that the monsters have been exposed. Now we know for sure that some of our own family members, some of our longtime friends, some of our neighbors are among them. It’s like we’re living in a zombie apocalypse where anyone might be one of the walking dead. Except, in our case, the virus is not spread by biting, but by a tweeting fool who will do anything to stay in power, including sending out racist tweets as we mourn the passing of one of our most inspiring civil rights leaders. Even in death, John Lewis is a giant. Even in the Oval Office, Trump is the smallest of small men.

There is no such thing as a Suburban Lifestyle Dream. What we’re living is an American Nightmare. I’d like to wake up now.

Tiffany Quay Tyson
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Tiffany Quay Tyson