Not even a week after an election preceded by a vicious campaign in which both major parties fielded flawed candidates, unsettling events are being reported.
Here in Pennsylvania, two students paraded through school halls with a Trump lawn sign, threatening minorities. Several minority students report that they feel unsafe walking between classes. At least no one was hurt.
In Chicago, three men pulled a man who had voted for Trump out of his car and began to beat him. Rather than call for help or attempt to intervene, onlookers encouraged the three men to thrash a man who’s only crime against humanity was voting for the candidate he thought was best for the country.
In Mississippi, an African-American mother packed a suitcase for her 8-year-old son and ejected the sobbing child from her house. His crime? He voted for Trump in a school mock election. His only reason for voting for Trump was he recognized him from viewing television.
California is talking about seceding from the union. “Not my president” is the new state motto, echoed by sometimes violent protesters in major cities around the country, apparently unimpressed by Secretary Clinton’s gracious plea to “let him lead.”
My youngest daughter (who did not vote for Clinton or Trump) is being subjected to harangues in her college classes by teacher after teacher. While not aimed personally at her, the constant vitriol of self-righteousness and hatred wore her down until — in a music theory class for goodness sake — she began sobbing uncontrollably. Her roommate helped her out of the class so she could compose herself.
I am confident that if you are reading this blog, this is not who you want to be. When President George W. Bush was elected (twice), and when President Obama was elected (twice), there were many people who were unhappy with the choice. There were no riots. There were no threats against students, white or minorities. College classes continued as normal. No state threatened to secede from the union.
While any thinking man may have doubts about what Mr. Trump will do when he assumes the Presidency in February, wouldn’t it be better to pray than to rant? Wouldn’t it be better to do our best to come together rather than riot? Wouldn’t it be better to be merciful rather than judgemental?
Should you be worried?
At one level, no, you shouldn’t worry. I am old enough that I have lived through many elections. Sometimes the man I voted for was elected. At other times, it was his opponent. But the next day, I went to work, ate meals, read books to my children, watched television, and played scrabble with my wife unhindered and unaffected. I’m not saying that our elections make no difference or the laws we pass our inconsequential; I’m only suggesting that in a free country like ours, the effect of an election rarely reaches down to the common man. At least right away.
But what does touch us is the way we treat each other.
I am concerned that it suddenly appears to be acceptable to threaten minorities, beat people who voted, riot and lecture students about who they need to vote for. It’s as if a “green light” has been given for (at best) impolite or (at worst) violent behavior. If this continues, whether you are on the right, left, or middle, you should indeed be concerned.