Schwab: Memory fails some when the other side is outraged

By Sid Schwab

Two words: Mitch McConnell. (TPM: tinyurl.com/mitchocrite)

Amazing, isn’t it, how politics engenders hypocrisy (or is it the other way around?) Consider the calls for armed revolution by Trumpites had he lost. Forecasting “rigging,” Trump predicted and all but encouraged riots. Does anyone doubt it would have happened? (Was it rigged? Dare we ask?) (The Pitt News: tinyurl.com/couldnt-vote)

Recall the last eight years, when effigies were hung and the internet was stinking with racist characterizations of our president, not to mention calls for assassination; or the Trumpists demanding imprisoning or shooting Hillary Clinton, some of whom did so, to uproarious cheers, from the stage of the Republican National Convention. (One of them, recently unhinged Lt. Gen. Flynn, will be Trump’s national security adviser.) But, boy, is there outrage over random calls for the same against Trump!

If it needs to be said, I’m no less dismayed at the current invocations of violence toward Trump than I’ve been about those against President Obama. I hate seeing peaceful protest devolve into destruction and looting. But I also hate, and fear even more, hearing the execrable Sheriff David Clarke, a rumored candidate for the Department of Homeland Security under Donald Trump, saying demonstrations should be quashed because there’s “no excuse” for protesting “the will of the people.” This he said when the protests were peaceful, and when the will of the people was heading toward (now surpassing) a million more votes for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump.

“Get over it, you lost,” say people who never got over Barack Hussein Obama. Because we’re Americans and the people have spoken, they demand without irony, we must come together for Trump in ways they never did for Obama. Yes, “Not my president” signs are annoying, just as they’ve been during the past eight years. And Californians’ calls for secession are as ridiculous as Texans’ a few years earlier. (I’d miss California, though, especially if movie prices went higher.)

Many have felt legitimate outrage as protest demonstrations turned violent. I abhor riots, too, whether by lefties or in cities whose team won for their fans some sort of self-worth-affirming game played with air-filled or solid objects of various shapes. But I’d like to hear demands from those same furious folk for an end to the ever-growing number of incidents of sickening hate against people of color, gays, women, Muslims, Jews, and others who wear headgear without bills. Until I do, it won’t be easy to “get over it.” (Yes, a Trump supporter was beaten. Equally inexcusable, and happily rare.)

I concede that Donald Trump will be my president. If I’m right, that portends disappointment not just for me, but for supporters who convinced themselves his mendacious and tyrannical inclinations weren’t a deal-breaker. He’s been back and forth already on his “Day One” promises. He’s “draining the swamp” by putting its dankest, including lobbyists and bankers, on his transition team and considering them for his cabinet. They’ve already warned us to think twice before criticizing him. (Have I mentioned gulags lately?) Denying the win won’t help. Vigilance might, assuming ordinary citizens will remain unafraid to speak out.

It’s unprecedented and understandably frustrating that the electoral vote winner has lost the popular vote by such a huge margin. But it’s the law. Ironically, the Electoral College was designed to prevent the election of an authoritarian but superficial, conspiracy-promoting demagogue like Donald Trump. Citizens would, the framers agreed, elect a handful of people specifically tasked with choosing a president. Those sober men, removed from “tumult and disorder,” “heats and ferments” would name “a man … in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” (Yale Law School: tinyurl.com/ec-founders) They had no idea. Back then Sean Hannity went town to town on horseback.

But here we are. Donald Trump is our president-elect. Contra mounting evidence, I hope he’ll be a far better one than the man he’s been throughout his life, and than the people he’s gathering close. If so, I’ll revise my opinion.

Till then, here’s a proposition for Trumpophiles: I stop riots, you stop abuse of racial, ethnic, sexual and religious minorities. And we agree to stand together if we see dictatorship arising. Because if Donald Trump really is the narcissistic, vengeful, autocrat he seems, preserving democracy will require bipartisan resistance.

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

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