To all the people that just read the headline and squealed about “TYRANNY!”: You’re a goddamn idiot.
To everyone else: The months following Hillary Clinton winning the 2016 election have the potential to be bloody and violent.
For the last year, Donald Trump has built a base of angry, desperate racists yearning for a Great White Hope to put people of color and those who don’t worship “the right way” in their place. When Trump loses, they’re going to riot. But unlike the riots in Ferguson and Milwaukee, they will not just attack businesses, they will attack people, as well. Specifically, black people, Latinos, Muslims, anyone easily identifiable as “not white.” Given the untethered hatred whipped up during this campaign, is it any leap of the imagination to think they’ll gladly burn out a store owned by a Jew and then beat the owner to death?
The larger problem, aside from people being the victims of hate crimes, is that America has an astonishing amount of tolerance for this kind of thing. We may find individual acts of violence to be horrific, but we turn a blind eye to the clear pattern of domestic terrorism. The government and media are loathe to use the “T word” if the perpetrator is a white Christian.
For example, Dylann Roof walked into a black church and murdered 9 black people with the specific intent of kicking off a race war. He wanted to strike a blow against “Those People” and rally his fellow white supremacists to the battlefield. This is literally the textbook example of terrorism. If Dylann Roof had been Mohammed al-Maud’dib, he would have been labeled a terrorist before the bodies were cold. To this day, Roof is not considered a terrorist.
Yet, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s going to be a spat of lynchings and localized riots throughout the South. When Trump’s supporters talk about “PC culture,” what they’re actually talking about is being allowed to verbally and physically assault minorities again, like the good ol’ days of the 1950s. When they’re deprived of their last, best chance at turning back the clock, they’re going to take their rage out on every non-white person they can find.
If President Obama’s Justice Department, followed by President Clinton’s, does not expend significant resources in tracking all of these people down and putting them in jail for decades, we will have once again condoned white violence. It wasn’t acceptable when America did it back in the 50s and it sure as hell isn’t acceptable now.
President Clinton needs to make it a large and loud priority of her early administration that America will not stand for the kind of domestic terrorism that white people have gotten away with for decades. This will send a very strong signal to America’s minorities that our leaders will no longer turn a blind eye to their needs; that they’re no longer second class citizens. It should be the official policy of the Clinton administration that black (and Latino and Muslim and LGBT) lives matter.
The far right will cry that it’s political persecution but it will give the moderates and the GOP establishment the room they need to push the extremists out of their party. It will let them save face as they try to recalibrate their party back towards the center right. If they choose to turn away from the toxicity of Trumpism, that is.
And speaking of Trump, if he encourages people to riot in protest of a “Stolen” election, he should be arrested for incitement and have the book thrown at him.
After the end of the Bush Era, Obama made a conscious decision not to go back and persecute Bush and his administration for what many consider obvious war crimes. He also chose not to arrest and prosecute the Wall Street scumbags that collapsed the economy. His reasoning was sound, if not popular: America was in the middle of a serious crisis and this wasn’t the time.
But that’s not the case now (assuming nothing dramatic happens between now and November). The only real crisis will be the wave of hate crimes Trump will have incited with his months of hate speech, paranoia and appeals to white supremacy.
The natural inclination of White America will be to shake their collective head and wonder how so many isolated incidents could happen in such a short amount of time. Let the good ol’ boys let off some steam and things will get better.
Fuck that. If these animals do what I think they’re going to do, they need to be treated like the burgeoning terrorist threat they are. Once they get a taste of “revenge” on Those People for taking away “their” country, the white supremacists are not going to stop. We either stomp on it or wait for the next Oklahoma City bombing.
Featured image by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images