After election, protests and a spike in hate crimes
Tens of thousands of people across the U.S. continued to take part in daily protests—some of them violent—against the election of Donald Trump this week. In New York City, as many as 25,000 protesters converged on Trump Tower, bearing signs reading “Not my president” and “Show the world what the popular vote looks like”—referring to Hillary Clinton’s lead of about 1 million votes, by the latest count. At least 350 people were arrested in Portland, Ore., Oakland, and other cities as some demonstrations turned violent, with protesters smashing vehicles and throwing burning projectiles. President-elect Trump at first attacked the “very unfair” demonstrations, but backtracked amid criticism he was undermining the constitutional right to protest. “Love the fact that small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country,” Trump later tweeted.
The divisive election also prompted a surge in racist and anti-Muslim incidents reportedly carried out by pro-Trump supporters. The Southern Poverty Law Center logged more than 300 hate crime complaints around the country following the election, and said the spike was worse than after 9/11. Nazi and racist graffiti was scrawled on buildings in Philadelphia and other cities, and a Maryland church was vandalized with the words “Trump Nation Whites Only.” In an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Trump said he was “saddened” to hear reports that his supporters were harassing minorities. “If it helps,” Trump said, “I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’”
What the editorials said
“Blocked streets, spray-painted cars, broken windows,” said the New Hampshire Union Leader. “This is what we were told to expect from angry Donald Trump supporters when Hillary Clinton won the White House”—yet here we are, watching the Left “having trouble accepting the results of a free and fair election that didn’t go its way.” The hypocrisy is astounding, said the New York Post, as are the hysterical predictions that Trump’s presidency will lead to “Armageddon” and a racist “whitelash” against minorities. “Reality check: Trump scored slightly less of the white vote than Mitt Romney— and higher proportions of blacks and Latinos.” Half of the Portland protesters didn’t even bother to vote, according to one survey.
But Trump’s victory “has already had tangible and terrifying outcomes” for minorities, said The Boston Globe. Muslim drivers have reportedly been accosted, and black students taunted by white Trump supporters. “Did anybody think electing him would mean otherwise?” Trump ran a 17-month campaign rooted in Islamophobia and racist rhetoric—and “it’s going quickly from words to actions.”
What the columnists said
While violence is obviously wrong, anti-Trump protesters have every right to take to the streets, said Jonathan Chait in New York magazine. The U.S. has never voted for a man “so openly contemptuous of democratic norms”—who has threatened to jail opponents, enact mass deportations, and gleefully punish the press. Some liberals think protesters should give Trump a chance, said Steven Thrasher in TheGuardian.com. But we must not let this misogynist, xenophobic bully “become the new normal.”
Does the Left even want peace? asked Noah Rothman in Commentary Magazine.com. Many reports of racist incidents have already been debunked—unlike the “real and confirmed” violence of anti-Trump protesters. In Chicago, one man was dragged from his car and beaten while onlookers shouted, “He voted Trump.” Trump isn’t the Left’s main target, though, said Kevin Williamson in NationalReview.com. Look at the protesters’ signs—“AmeriKKKa,” “America Was Never Great”—and you’ll realize their real rage is directed at America itself. They think the U.S. is “wicked, depraved, filled to the gills with hatred and bigotry.” And all because their candidate lost.
It’s hard to see how the country unites at this point, said Charles Blow in The New York Times. The electoral map shows “a handful of blueberries sprinkled on an endless spread of red sauce.” Rural whites and urban populations now peer at one another and see “people who don’t look like them”—racially, culturally, or politically. “We are living in two diverging Americas at odds and at battle.”
It wasn’t all bad
▪Davy Moakes first proposed to Helen Andre in 1951, but it took 65 years for them to finally get hitched. Davy, now 86, and Helen, 82, fell in love while attending art college in their native England as teens, but Helen’s parents didn’t approve of their daughter marrying a bohemian. Both went on to marry others, but in the past few years their respective spouses died, and the two reconnected. “Even after all this time, it still feels the same,” said Helen. “It’s just how it was.” After exchanging vows this month, the pair headed to Cyprus for an overdue honeymoon.
▪A stranded Bruce Springsteen was facing a long walk home on Veterans Day when a group of vets came to his rescue. The 67-year-old rocker had been riding his motorcycle near his hometown of Freehold, N.J., last week when the bike broke down. Luckily, members of a local veterans organization were riding by, and offered the Boss a lift to a nearby bar, where Springsteen bought the bikers a round of beers. “We shot the breeze for a half hour, 45 minutes till his ride showed up,” said American Legion member Dan Barkalow, who added, “Bikers gotta stick together.”
▪A Texas police officer went above and beyond the call of duty when he encountered a heartbroken little boy while responding to a burglary call. Thieves had ransacked the home of 9-year-old Aidan Balderas, taking the boy’s beloved Xbox console and games, along with the family’s TV. Seeing the boy in tears, Officer Brandon Smith, a three-year veteran of the Seguin police department, immediately headed home, grabbed his own PlayStation 3, and gave it to Aidan. He also bought Aidan a new copy of his favorite game, Minecraft. “He was a really good man to do that for me,” said Aidan.