On the day after the this year’s already bitter and divisive Presidential election, a photo on Facebook posted the day after the election showing a pickup truck displaying a “I Hate Muslims” bumper sticker and flying Trump campaign flags drew more than 300,000 views and 24 hours of angry pro and con posts, many of them obscene.
So Joe Gavish, owner of a gemstone firm in Brooksville, Fla., took it down.
“I felt like it was just spreading anger,” Gavish told The Washington Post. “I hope this country is heading in a good direction. I’m not sure right now.
Three days since businessman Donald Trump won the presidency, it is clear that the animosity wrought by a historically divisive election did not simply die in its wake, but may have intensified.
U.S. cities have been convulsed by anti-Trump protests. Swastikas, racial slurs and personal threats have appeared on public buildings and dorm room doors. And online, the vicious word-slinging between supporters of the two candidates has escalated to include videotaped accounts of personal confrontation and retribution.
It appears much anger still rests in both sides of the contentious election, including supporters of Donald Trump, who won the election by collecting enough Electoral College votes and those who backed Hillary Clinton, who collected the most votes.
“You can’t fix months of really divisive rhetoric with a couple of calls for unity, Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told the Post. “We can’t forget that a fringe element of our society was emboldened over a period of months, and it’s going to take words to create an atmosphere where people feel truly united.”
President Barack Obama called for reconciliation twice, the day after the nasty election and again at a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. He met with President-Elect Donald Trump on Thursday and both complimented each other and talked about working together.
Then Trump went on Twitter in the late hours and attacked protestors who are on the streets across the nation. Their chant: “Not my president.”
Trump campaign aides added attacks to those who protest.
A third night of protests continued Friday night.
On Veterans Day Friday, I visited the Veterans Cemetery at Dublin to pay respects to those who served and to remember a friend who fought in Vietnam and died three years ago. He rests in a crypt there, cremated after cancer attributed to Agent Orange destroyed his body and finally his life.
A man standing near me praised the election of Trump, saying it was time to “clean out the wetbacks and take back our nation.” I walked away without saying anything. It was hard to keep my anger under control.
So much anger, so much hate, so much division in such a divided nation.
At Wake Forest, freshmen celebrated Trump’s victory by using slurs, including the vile “n-word.” The university condemned the melee and suspended two of the students.
Students at the University of Pennsylvania found their names and photos had been added to a racist Group Me account that advocated daily lynchings.
“I just can’t stop crying,” posted a law student there. “I feel sick to my stomach. I don’t feel safe.”
Two male Babson College students drove a pickup truck through the campus of all-female Wellesley College after the election, flying a Trump flag and shouting sexist and coarse obscenities at the women.
Someone spray painted “Trump” on the door of a room reserved for Muslim prayer at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering.
At a public school in Newtown, Pa., swastikas and anti-gay slurs appeared on bathroom walls and a Latina student found a note stuffed into her backpack, warning her to “get your ass back to Mexico.” Middle school students in Royal Oak, Mich, chanted “Build the wall” during lunchtime, echoing a campaign cry of the Trump campaign.
Trump supporters of Facebook decry the national protests against their candidate but seldom mention the slurs and protests coming from their own side.
American Enterprise Institute Michael Barone says he cannot remember a Presidential election in American history that was followed by so much partisan anger.
As someone who has written about politics for more than 50 years and served 12 of those years as a political operative, I must agree with Barone.
This was a vile election that has brought American nastiness out of the shadows and allowed it to become mainstream.
It probably will get worse.