It’s tempting right now to let one’s emotions run wild. The combination of a hotly-contested, high-stakes election and an unrelenting global pandemic will do that. All across the nation, Americans are worried about what the next few weeks hold and even whether there might be violence in the election’s aftermath.
As a spot-on editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal this past weekend explained, however, it’s a time for everyone to “keep calm and vote.”
First, the editorial rightfully spotlights the outrageous and un-American behavior of a handful of right-wing extremists who threaten violence if President Trump loses the election:
Among them are members of the white supremacist fight club Proud Boys, who reportedly took Trump’s suggestion earlier this month to “stand back and stand by” to heart.
During a Trump rally in Staten Island last week, a Proud Boy member was recorded saying, “If Trump doesn’t get reelected, there’s going to be a riot. If he doesn’t get elected, this is when you’re going to see a civil war. My recommendations to anyone, stock up on ammo, get your guns.”
Members of other right-wing groups like Oath Keepers and Three Percenters have expressed their willingness to pull out their weapons if Trump doesn’t score a clear victory. They portray themselves as patriots and their opponents as traitors — but, like Trump, they fail to produce any evidence of the voter fraud they claim.
Next it blasts Trump for inciting this troubled crowd:
It’s irresponsible for Trump to make outrageous claims about Biden cheating when he knows that outliers like these will hear his message — and he knows that many of them have access to weapons.
It’s also irresponsible for Trump to encourage his supporters to go to the polls and “watch very carefully.” Some will be tempted to make a ruckus anytime they see a voter who doesn’t look like they think he or she should.
Finally, after pointing out that while left-wing violence does occur, it’s clear — according to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security — that “right-wing white supremacist violence is the most persistent and deadly domestic terror threat facing the country,” the editorial concludes on this responsible note:
If violence occurs, here or elsewhere, some here may be tempted to panic.
Please don’t. Let’s remain calm through this whole process. After the election, wait. We may not see the last shoe drop on Nov. 3. Just wait.
And to those who are listening to Trump’s divisive and dangerous rhetoric and giving it any credence: At this point, you should really know better.
Click here to read the entire editorial.