First, I wanted to write about how the glass ceiling had been shattered. But it hasn’t been. Then I wanted to write about how the Democrats lost the election by being complacent and by failing to address the perception of so many people that Hillary is just another establishment politician who will use them but not hear them. I would have pointed out that it does not matter whether or not the perception is accurate, because people do not act on what is true. People act on what they believe to be true. But all that can wait. Anything I have to say that is true now will still be true next week or next month or next year.
There is something much more important to address. Remember how Trump egged on the more violent and extreme of his followers at his rallies? Well, they have unleashed themselves. If I may mix my metaphors, the barn door is open and the deplorables are beginning to stampede. Reports of vandalism and personal attacks are not scattered. They are becoming increasingly widespread. It is happening all over the country, from California to New York.
An example that I find particularly chilling: last night someone spray-painted “Black lives don’t matter” on a wall in Durham, NC. I and many others have long understood that “All Lives Matter” is usually code for “Only White Lives Matter”, but now the code is made explicit. The only code that remains is the use of “Black” to mean “All people of color, All People in the LGBTQ Community, All Muslims, and All Immigrants”. This graffiti is a way of announcing that “We are coming for you.”
As of this writing, I have not heard anything from Trump himself or his staff about trying to restrain these people. Does he know what he has unleashed? Does he care? Does he even condone what is starting to happen in his name?
There are also spontaneous demonstrations of anger and disgust at the reality that Trump is President-Elect. I have not yet read of any instance of these demonstrations being violent, but imagine what might happen if large groups of Trumpites started confronting them. And imagine what would happen if the police who responded were actually infiltrated Klansmen or even just sympathized with the Trumpites. It would make Standing Rock look like a bit of unpleasantness.
I think that the potential for very serious violence erupting is greater now than it has been at least since the riots of the 1960s. I pray that it can be averted, but the longer Trump remains silent the more volatile the situation will become. The violence may not break out immediately. It may take months or even a few years. But the potential is certainly there. It took more than 5 years for the Nazi regime to build from taking power to Krystallnacht. Things move faster now than they did in the 1930s. We will have to see what happens next.
It could be that things will settle back down again. It could be that Trump will be able to control the mobs he has empowered. It could be. But I am not sanguine. I am afraid, and I shudder for my people.