Anger stoked by Trump not go­ing away

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Es­ther J. Cepeda Colum­nist Es­ther Cepeda is syn­di­cated by The Wash­ing­ton Post Writ­ers Group.

In its trade­mark satir­i­cal style, The Onion nailed it: “Trump Maps Out Plan For First 100 Days Of Not Con­ced­ing Elec­tion.”

De­li­ciously, the imag­ined post-elec­tion press re­lease from the floun­der­ing Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date de­tailed: “Within my first 10 days, I will in­tro­duce a com­pre­hen­sive plan for my dis­grun­tled sup­port­ers to march on the White House, and by day 30, I will sub­mit a for­mal pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing Clin­ton’s im­me­di­ate re­moval from of­fice.” The spoof con­cluded by say­ing Trump “looks for­ward to fiercely dis­put­ing the le­git­i­macy of a Clin­ton pres­i­dency for the next four years.”

You’d be for­given for ac­ci­den­tally be­liev­ing this was a le­git­i­mate state­ment from Trump, who has man­aged to suck so many peo­ple into his re­al­ity dis­tor­tion field that even nor­mally lev­el­headed peo­ple are get­ting out of whack.

For­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date John McCain made re­marks last week that ba­si­cally out­lined a sce­nario in which a Clin­ton win would trig­ger four years of Repub­li­cans block­ing any Supreme Court nom­i­nee put for­ward by the new pres­i­dent. McCain even­tu­ally walked back his stri­dent com­ments but they give you a good idea where things stand.

For those of us who be­lieve in the strength of a two-party sys­tem in which the loser of an elec­tion peace­fully con­cedes to the vic­tor and works harder to win next time, things look grim. Trump’s in­sin­u­a­tions of rigged elec­tions and his call for his sup­port­ers to mon­i­tor polls for fraud — mostly in com­mu­ni­ties of color, it turns out — are erod­ing what lit­tle pub­lic trust in gov­ern­ment is left.

Mean­while, Amer­i­cans are re­port­ing elec­tion-re­lated anx­i­ety that in­cludes real symp­toms like dif­fi­culty sleep­ing, ir­ri­tabil­ity and heart pal­pi­ta­tions due to the un­prece­dented bile of this cam­paign. The Amer­i­can Psychological As­so­ci­a­tion’s most re­cent sur­vey found 52 per­cent of Amer­i­can adults say the 2016 elec­tion “is a very or some­what sig­nif­i­cant source of stress.”

Many of these peo­ple are look­ing for­ward to the re­lief of the elec­tion be­ing over. Un­for­tu­nately, a lot of us are even more wor­ried about what hap­pens af­ter Elec­tion Day, be­cause the forces that have been un­leashed aren’t go­ing to make newly nor­mal­ized ha­tred mag­i­cally go away.

In Septem­ber, sev­eral women were tar­geted in a se­ries of fire at­tacks in New York — a 14-yearold boy was ar­rested in one in­ci­dent, ac­cused of at­tempt­ing to set a teen girl’s shirt on fire. Other women, some of them in Mus­lim at­tire, had their skirts set ablaze with lighters in the same vicin­ity.

His­panic chil­dren have been bul­lied and taunted in school about bor­der walls, and adults have been asked for their “pa­pers” by peo­ple with zero au­thor­ity to do so. Women have re­ported feel­ing tar­geted as “pearl-clutch­ers,” i.e. too sen­si­tive, af­ter rev­e­la­tions of Trump’s de­grad­ing re­marks about women thrust “locker room talk” into the pub­lic dis­course. African-Amer­i­cans have been re­duced to stereo­types of vic­tims liv­ing in the so-called hell of in­ner cities, Jews have ex­pe­ri­enced an uptick in anti-Semitism, and on and on. The “Trump Ef­fect” ex­am­ples are end­less. And they are per­va­sive. New York Times in­ves­tiga­tive re­porter Michael Luo re­cently de­scribed a woman curs­ing at him and his fam­ily as they were leav­ing church. “Go back to China. Go back to your [ex­ple­tive] coun­try,” he said the woman yelled to him.

Luo, in front of his chil­dren, was re­duced to yell back, “I was born in this coun­try!”

This is what life feels like for any­one with an eth­nic-sound­ing name or non­white out­ward ap­pear­ance in the wan­ing days of our first African-Amer­i­can pres­i­dent’s sec­ond term in of­fice.

Be­fore the Trump can­di­dacy, “mi­croag­gres­sions” — sub­tle slights of one’s eth­nic­ity or other cul­tural char­ac­ter­is­tics — were the day-to-day con­cern of non­whites. It’s safe to say that for the 40 per­cent of Amer­ica that is non­white, mi­croag­gres­sions have given way to plain old ag­gres­sion from peo­ple who are look­ing to blame “bad hom­bres” for tar­nish­ing Amer­ica’s great­ness halo.

And we’d bet­ter pre­pare our­selves for the anger and re­sent­ment to per­sist af­ter Nov. 8, re­gard­less of who wins.

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