Concerns About Violence November 8 And Beyond

Few who know me would consider me to be an alarmist, but I’ll readily admit that for quite some time, I’ve been mildly concerned about the possibilities of voter intimidation and post-election violence in the event of a Trump loss. In reading a few things this morning, those concerns have become elevated.

First, we have some of Mr. Trump’s Tweets from today:

We also have this Boston Globe article: Trump says the election is rigged — and his supporters are furious

The entire article is worth reading, but this particular section is especially notable:

And if Trump doesn’t win, some are even openly talking about violent rebellion and assassination, as fantastical and unhinged as that may seem.

“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor, said of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take. . . . I would do whatever I can for my country.”

Finally, as a black man living in a heavily-white voting precinct in a contested state, the rhetoric espoused in this portion of the same article gives me a moment of pause as well:

Trump has recently started encouraging his mostly white supporters to sign up online to be “election observers” to stop “Crooked Hillary from rigging this election.” He’s urging them to act as posses of poll watchers in “other” communities to ensure that things are “on the up and up.”

“Watch your polling booths,” he warned.

His supporters are heeding the call.

“Trump said to watch you precincts. I’m going to go, for sure,” said Steve Webb, a 61-year-old carpenter from Fairfield, Ohio.

“I’ll look for . . . well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American,” he said. “I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”

Adding it all up, we have a significant portion of his base* of support that is angry and distrusts “the system,” an opponent in Hillary Clinton who is deeply disliked by the overwhelming majority of Trump supporters, and a candidate fueling the fires with talks of a rigged election. That, my friends, could be a toxic combination.

Let’s pray. Hard.

(And if you know of specific voter intimidation, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report.)

–Ben
*–I want to be clear that when I speak of Mr. Trump’s “support base,” I am not talking about everyone who is planning to vote for him. I am very aware that there are significant numbers out there who did not vote for him in primaries, disapprove of his tactics, don’t like his demeanor, and even think some of his policies are untenable, but will still vote for him primarily because of their perception of the importance of electing conservatism over liberalism with regard to Supreme Court appointments. I’m not concerned one iota about that group.

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4 thoughts on “Concerns About Violence November 8 And Beyond

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  1. Frankly I am concerned of post election violence when either candidate wins. I am 63 yrs old. I love my country, its history and while not perfect we have had amazing and positive influence in the world. I am a missionary in Guatemala and many Guatemalans follow the issues more closely than my friends in the USA. They are very concerned about the future. They see the corruption and are starting to compare with great disappointment our government with theirs. In my life we are involved in the most divisive election I can remember.
    In Christ
    Dennis

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you on that, Dennis. It could happen either way, but only one candidate has been actively fueling the embers of mistrust of the system. As of the time I am making this comment, he has already Tweeted three more times this morning about the election being rigged or fixed, and there was an additional one yesterday after the three I posted. This is truly dangerous rhetoric.

      Like

  2. I have experienced these same concerns, accompanied with twinges of fear, shock, and a sense of incredulousness. I want to ask – how did we get here? But I think I have at least some of the answers to that question. Walking the line of acknowledging the very real possibilities for violence and unrest, while working hard to not give my attention to fear, thereby fueling the same fire that causes the angst in the first place, is a big challenge. Yes, let us pray. For me, these days, that means hold a space of love and compassion for all of us. And trusting that our Creator has this unseemly way of bringing Order out of Chaos. Hard as that might be, some days. What will I do, I wonder, if I should witness pressure toward my diverse American neighbors? Thank you for your article – it is both validating and thought-provoking…

    Liked by 1 person

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