The reaction to the results of the 2016 election: protests and more

The Daily Kos reports on protests in response to the election results. Admittedly, protests of some sort are something we don’t see that often in the US.

Given how divisive this election was, we were virtually guaranteed a reaction of this sort regardless of the eventual winner. If there was an ever an election where I felt like I was choosing “the lesser of two evils” this was it. I voted for Hillary Clinton, but it was a more of a vote against Donald Trump. I toyed with the idea of voting third-party but that went out the window the moment some polls indicated Texas was a toss-up state (our 38 electoral votes wound up going to Trump, alas).

So, personally, it’s hard to blame all these people who (presumably) voted for Hillary Clinton (or someone else) who are out there protesting. The preliminary popular vote totals indicate that Hillary actually won the popular vote–meaningless in the grand scheme of things because it’s the Electoral College vote that really matters, but symbolic in that there were more actual people who wanted Hillary to be our next president. Given a lot of the things that Donald Trump said during the campaign, and some things that came to light including blatant misogyny in the form of the “grab ‘em by the (vaginal area)” recording with Billy Bush (which eventually cost the latter his most recent job as host of Today despite the fact the recording was from over a decade ago), the protests aren’t much of a surprise to me.

The First Amendment is a powerful thing. It protects many vital freedoms, including freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. These include the right to protest peacefully, and it is this last point that protesters must remember. Once violence is added to the mix, it’s not really a protest anymore, but a riot. I get that people are pissed off. Heck, I’m still pretty pissed off, and the election was three days ago.

That said, violence won’t solve anything. The problem is definitely not that too few people think that everyone who voted for Clinton (or Johnson, Stein, McMullin, etc), and who is upset enough to protest, has the intelligence and temper of an uncaged wild animal. In addition, there’s just no need for violence to establish that you are unhappy with the election of Donald Trump and all that he stands for. Violence also gives law enforcement a quite legitimate reason to arrest someone.

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