If anybody thought that the end of the election would signal the start of healing the rift among the people of the United States, they were wrong. I had no such illusions, but even I am surprised at the speed with which the divide among those who supported Trump and those who supported Clinton has widened. Today, three days post-election, tensions are heightened, protests, some violent, are taking place across the nation, and there have been many racial incidents.
Protests against the election results and against a Trump presidency have sprouted up across the nation, from New York to Oregon. Most so far have been fairly peaceful, with protesters carrying signs and chanting slogans such as “Not Our President”, “We Reject The President-Elect”, and “Nazi President”. However, protests in Portland, Oregon turned into a riot on Thursday night, when peaceful protesters were joined by an anarchist group. They proceeded to smash car windows, store windows, set fire to a dumpster, and damage cars at a car dealership. Police arrested at least 26 people. While I understand these protests, and almost have an urge to go join one myself, I also understand that this is destructive and not helpful. The only thing this accomplishes is to add fuel to the fire and further widen the divide among citizens. Trump, of course, added more fuel to the fire with two nonsensical remarks. Thursday night he tweeted: “professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” Then on Friday morning he again tweeted: “Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud! ” I would call on Trump to say nothing unless he can say something helpful. Giuliani, of course, also had to get his two cents in, referring to the protesters as “a bunch of spoiled cry-babies.”
Far more disturbing than the protests are the spate of racial incidents that arose in the three days since the election ended. Among the incidents:
- A swastika and the words “Seig Heil 2016” were spray painted on a storefront in South Philadelphia.
- A student in Albuquerque, New Mexico says a Trump supporter tried to pull off her hijab.
- A woman at San Jose State University had her hijab pulled so hard that it choked her.
- Rainbow flags were burned in Rochester, NY.
- At the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, students discovered the name of the President-elect written on the door to a prayer room for Muslims.
- A swastika and the words “MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN” were spray painted on a baseball dugout in Wellsville, NY.
- A black baby doll was also found with rope around its neck in an elevator on campus at Canisius College outside Buffalo, NY.
- A reporter for CBS North Carolina posted a photo of a wall in Durham, North Carolina where the words “BLACK LIVES DON’T MATTER AND NEITHER DOES [sic] YOUR VOTES” were spray painted.
- “#Go back to Africa” and “Make America great again,” someone wrote on a toilet paper dispenser at Maple Grove Senior High School. The bathroom door was also covered with graffiti, including “Whites only,” “White America” and “Trump.”
- Some students at Michigan’s Royal Oak Middle School started chanting in the cafeteria: “Build the wall! Build the wall!”
- Authorities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette discovered Wednesday morning that somebody chalked the words “Trump,” “Build wall” and “[Expletive deleted] your safe space” in front of the library.
- A student at Shasta High School in Redding, California, posted a video on Twitter of himself handing letters with the word “deportation” written across the top to half a dozen students.
And the list goes on. The Loyal White Knights of Pelham, N.C., a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) says on its website that it is planning a ‘victory parade’ to take place on December 3rd. “TRUMP = TRUMP’S RACE UNITED MY PEOPLE,” says the website’s front page.
Andrew Anglin of the Neo-Nazi website, Daily Stormer, writes, “Our Glorious Leader has ascended to God Emperor. Make no mistake about it: we did this. If it were not for us, it wouldn’t have been possible. … [T]he White race is back in the game. And if we’re playing, no one can beat us. The winning is not going to stop.”
Former KKK Grand Wizard, David Duke, who lost his senate bid, had this to say: “You parasites should literally be beyond thankful Donald J. Trump defeated your rigged system – he pulled off the most amazing victory in this nation’s history -> you should be celebrating, seriously. Unlike what it could’ve been, had he loss [sic] – Trump actually has some weird type of compassion for you filth and will more than likely allow some of you to still operate -> much like Putin does in Russia – but guess what? You arrogant, unthankful, degenerate pieces of shit no longer have absolute power – appreciate the influence Trump allows you to have in this great nation, try and be thankful for once -> because I can assure you, things could be A LOT worse.”
Mike Adams of Alt-Right, a white supremacist group, tweeted, “The evil, demonic, mass murdering Hillary Clinton has been defeated. This is VICTORY for all Americans, even the uninformed, ignorant morons who voted for Hillary.”
And so, it has already begun. Some called me an alarmist, said I was looking for trouble where there was none, when I predicted a surge of racism would wash over our nation in the event of a Trump ‘victory’. I believe this is only the tip of the iceberg and such incidents will increase in number and intensity. I strongly suspect we will see an increase in activity by the KKK and other racist groups, as well as membership increases in these groups. Trump, who is never silent about much, has not commented, to the best of my knowledge, on these incidents.
The effort to begin the healing process among our citizens will face many hurdles, but I believe that the rise of bigotry and racism will be the greatest barrier to progress. This is a sad commentary about what our nation has become. We are supposed to be better than this, folks. If the current trend continues, the U.S. will have taken 50-60 years of progress and thrown it out the window. As I have said on more than one occasion, the pen is mightier than the sword, or in this case, mightier than white sheets. Let us all unite and use the power of our collective pens to defeat this surge of ugly bigotry before it gains so much momentum that lives are lost. Condemning this behaviour may well need to be the first step along the pathway toward the healing of a nation.