Violence Speaks Louder Than Words
To the uninformed casual reader perusing the November 9th edition of the New York Times, it may have appeared that some kind of terrifying apocalyptic disaster had struck the country. One after another columnists lamented the tragedy that had befallen America overnight: Absorbing the Impossible, Homeless in America, Our unknown country, and so on. Hard times lie ahead, they caution, and there must be resistance. Without it, a dark future is certain for those who have worked so hard for progress and change. This was also the attitude of many liberal democrats who were stunned with Hillary Clinton’s crushing loss, expecting a victory they were preparing to celebrate before the night even started.
Wasn’t it a few short weeks ago that there was mounting concern the results of the election would not be accepted? Wasn’t it evil Republicans, as Charles Blow writes, that were far more likely not to accept the outcome of an election? All that talk of illegitimate results “...means that a potential Hillary Clinton administration could commence under a cloud and against a chill wind....Revolutionary acts come at a cost.” How unfortunate that such disrespect would be afforded to an incoming commander in chief, whose position was secured in a fair and balanced election. We should all be rallying around the new president, not casting doubts about the legitimacy of their victory.
Unless, of course, the other guy wins.
What has unfolded across America’s cities in the aftermath of the election is at once troubling and almost too good to be true. Many Hillary Clinton supporters have spent 2016 living, as Glenn Greenwald so beautifully described, inside “the self-affirming, vehemently pro-Clinton elite echo chamber.” They have convinced themselves of the moral high ground they occupy over Trump’s supporters, or indeed anyone who dare mentions a breath of doubt that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified angel to ever become president.
They had a fearful vision of America post-election day where Trump supporters marched through the streets, burning flags and waving signs reading “Not my fucking president”. A vision of America where thousands of demonstrators voiced their rejection of the President-elect. Protests in front of the white house, blockage of major roadways, calls for blood, and other deplorable acts by Trump's mob of sore losers.
I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining the painfully obvious irony of the situation that protestors now find themselves in. Even Hillary Clinton has said “we owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.” Why is Trump not entitled to the charity and good faith that his supporters were expected to show Clinton following her victory? These protestors are no better and no different than Trump’s supporters they were so terrified would respond the same way, and over whom they so nobly held the moral high ground, until now.
Then there was this gem from David Faris, who says that Democrats should "take a page out of the GOP playbook and obstruct everything." Republicans have stolen "the colossally important swing seat on the Supreme Court by obliterating precedent and refusing to hold hearings for Merrick Garland." They have reduced governing into "a long series of hostage crises." So now that these monsters are in power, it's about time Democrats...do the exact same thing?
I can't even make this up. Faris essentially advocates that Congressional Democrats take the same obstructionist tactics that drove them so insane trying to govern over the last eight years. Their message, according to him, should be, "You will give us Merick Garland or you may go die in a fire." That's the spirit! What a fantastic way to bury the Democratic party.
Peaceful protest is a healthy expression of society, and there will likely be plenty of reasons to do so over the next four years, as there have been in the past. If progressives, activists, and journalists alike wish to be taken seriously, they must take care not to become what they are protesting. So far, it can hardly be said that things are trending in the right direction.