How Much Abuse Can a Democracy Stand?



Over the course of my 46 years as a voting member of the American electorate, I’ve experienced the tension and suspense of presidential election night eleven times. hanging-chadWell, to be accurate, some were not really all that suspenseful (Nixon’s trouncing of McGovern by 23% or Reagan defeating Mondale by 18%) but who could forget the hanging chad nail biter of 2000 in which Bush was proclaimed President by the Supreme Court after having lost the popular vote by 0.5%?  But this year is different – I’ve never been consumed with as much dread of what lies ahead.

FBI Director Comey

Just three weeks ago, after Low-Life’s hot mic revelations and Hillary’s third consecutive clock-cleaning debate performance, it seemed she had a comfortable lead and the nation was finally coming back to its senses. But with FBI Director Comey’s last minute underhanded smear, the race tightened closer than anyone imagined.  His 11th hour announcement exonerating Clinton from further suspicion is an attempt to close the barn door after the Republican smear campaign easily bolted across the nation.

I’m nervous that the large turnout of voters needed to keep the Donald in his tower and out of the White House will say, “Screw it” and stay home (or just as bad, cast a throw-away “protest” vote for Jill Stein).  Or will be intimidated by the Donald’s vigilante security squads he’s implored to patrol our polling places.  Or will be kept from voting by having their names mysteriously removed from voting rolls.  Or will be prevented from participating by 8 hour lines at overcrowded polling locations after many were eliminated.  And he’s crying foul about the election being rigged?


Militia of Trump supporters

Bill Maher recently called Trump’s rise to power “the slow march to fascism.” In addition to the Donald’s active support for interfering in the democratic voting process,  he’s encouraged Putin to continue to hack our computer privacy.  He’s suggested his supporters with guns might take things into their own hands if Clinton is elected.  After countless racist and xenophobic statements, he has drawn the devoted support of the white supremacists of the alt right and has refused to distance himself.  And in his twisted fun house mirror, reality show view of the world, he and he alone has the ability to “make America great again.”

But even if Hillary wins (and my rational sense says she still will), I’m nervous the Donald and his supporters will continue their unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that the election was rigged and for the first time in our nation’s history, refuse to accept the results. They have already laid the groundwork to throw a monkey wrench (or Molotov cocktail as the case may be) into the democratic peaceful transition of power.

burned-churchIn a literal sense, another African-American church was fire bombed this week and left with the message, “Vote Trump” while Trump-supporting militias have stepped up training exercises in anticipation of the day they will violently “defend” their way of life.

Figuratively, even his less enthusiastic supporters within the traditional Republican ranks are pledging to block any Supreme Court nominee that Clinton puts forward.  The Republican Congressional caucus has already threatened to continue its policy of blatant and complete obfuscation for the sole purpose of preventing successful governance under a Democratic president.

They might as well say, “Vote for us or we’ll break America’s knees.”  Just how much abuse can a democracy withstand?


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