By Martha Quillen
Surprise! The November 8 election delivered a shocker, not just to Democrats, but probably even to Donald Trump himself. From the beginning of the 2016 season, Trump was the candidate whom reporters noticed. Even when Hillary Clinton was deemed the presumptive winner, Trump was the media star. Pundits and pollsters kept saying Trump’s chances were almost nil, but Trump won.
Afterward protesters marched in the streets. Then some citizens urged Electoral College participants to overturn his victory, and I was astounded. What would happen if they actually succeeded? Riots? Shootings? Pandemonium?
The answer is obvious, because subverting and repressing other people’s rights, opinions and votes is nothing new. Districts are gerrymandered. Polling places get shut down. Complainants are shunned, booed and heckled at public meetings. Drifters, minorities and street people are harassed because they look different. And America’s poor, homeless and unemployed frequently get disparaged by national and local governments and citizens alike.
Violence is common in our society. So I suspect our first priority today should not be to attack our opponents or ignore their concerns. We’ve been doing that for decades, and it has clearly made things worse.
Our current level of distrust is alarming. This season, I’ve heard perfectly sane citizens say there’s undeniable proof that the Clintons killed Vince Foster and that Foster wasn’t their only victim. I’ve heard all about how Hillary Clinton planned to put gun owners in concentration camps, and how Trump was going to round up and torture immigrants and Muslims. And I’ve heard about how both Clinton and Trump planned to plunder the public monies.
And since the election? I’ve heard tales about Chicano kids who have been so traumatized by Trump’s victory that schools have sent them home to assure them that their parents hadn’t already been deported. I’ve likewise heard stories about Islamic children who can’t be lured out of their homes.