America is an imperfect nation, but one of its many virtues is the peaceful transfer of power. Unfortunately, some of Donald Trump’s most rabid supporters want to undermine that basic tenet of democracy. If they lose, some are talking about a forceful and violent rebellion according to the Boston Globe:
“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.”
He then placed a Trump mask on his face and posed for pictures.
Even Mike Pence knows how dangerous this kind of talk is. That’s why the Republican vice presidential nominee tried to shift a woman’s focus toward winning the election when she told him she was ready for a bloody revolution should Trump lose.
It’s healthy to stay engaged and involved with regard to the issues and make your voice be heard so that your representatives (be they of your party or not) run your country in a way that is pleasing to you. But you have to accept that it takes words and not actions, accept that there are winners and losers in these things, and accept the fairness of that when you’re dealing with something that is bigger than yourself. Anger can be the motor that propels your activism, but it can’t take the wheel.
While Donald Trump’s running mate is willing to choke off the air supply to suggestions of a revolution, Trump has repeatedly (and for some time) stoked suspicions about an effort to rig the election at rallies and on Twitter, and people are starting to notice not just that rhetoric but the risk associated with it because some people believe everything Trump says. And some surrogates, including Milwaukee sheriff David Clarke (who spoke at the Republican National Convention), are going further.
It’s hard to know when it happened, but at some point, this whole thing jumped the tracks and turned from a campaign to a cult. People within the conservative wing of the Republican party were eager to follow a leader who could both perceive and match the anger that they feel over lost jobs and the increasing diversification of the country. Keenly aware of this, Donald Trump stepped in and has deftly played to that angst, positioning himself as a certain savior in these uncertain times. He says that he will protect them. He will be their champion. He will bring back the jobs, make it harder for immigrants to come to America, and “Make America Great Again.” And all they have to do is swear a vow of fealty and follow him. Even as his own anger threatens to drive him (and them) off a cliff.