Freedom of fear on Election Day

It’s like living on the boardwalk.

You walk down major streets in many American cities and all you see are boards covering the windows of stores — from major big box retailers to your neighborhood bodega.


It’s Election Day, and there is fear of violence in the air.

Brave Iraqi women after voting. (Photo: CNN)

Will people who vote get purple dye on their fingers, as in Iraq? Or would they be afraid to be identified as voters?

It is better to be prepared for unrest than not, but this is America, the world’s most successful democracy. Is this how we picture ourselves? Is this what we sign up for when we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, assuming that is still required anywhere?

Where does the fear come from? The Democratic dingbat mayor of Portland — that bastion of calm — blames white supremacists, while Republican mayors brace for BLM or Antifa. Each side blames the other, despite the reality that polling place violence is extremely rare. Who benefits from fears being fanned?

Will there be voter “intimidation?” Depends on how you define it.

An uber progressive Facebook friend posted dark warnings of right-wing terrorists threatening voters at polling places. Like these, I asked him?

New Black Panthers at polling place (Photo: NPR)

You may recall these militia-clad New Black Panther Party clowns showing up at a Spring Garden polling place in the 2008 Barack Obama election. They wore berets (sexy!) and carried batons.. But who were they trying to intimidate in the largely Black and Latino ward described to me by a local politician as “the knife and gun club?” Police and the Committee of Seventy received no complaints of intimidation.

In Northeast Philly, some voters said they were intimidated by some men wearing T-shirts  bearing the name of their union. Nothing more, just T-shirts.

Just seeing them unnerved some voters? I have a feeling those who felt intimidated weren’t members of the Greatest Generation, who lived through a Depression, rolled down their stockings and learned to handle a rivet gun, and who stormed ashore at Normandy. Instead of backbones Americans now have triggers for every occasion and a list of microaggressions as thick as a telephone book.

You feel scared? You have a phone, call the cops.

As today unspools, we will find out if there is actual danger, and who brings it. If there is, it must be squashed and prosecuted.

We are Americans. Do not live in fear.

20 thoughts on “Freedom of fear on Election Day”

  1. Stu – a very well thought out and explained composition. I agree with you and want to believe that likely nothing major will happen, but on the other side of the coin, with recent events, who can blame storeowners for doing the prep?

    At least freedom of expression is still with us….mostly…sort of…

  2. Heading out to vote now, Stu, past all of our boarded and boarding up stores and restaurants…with the list of “protests” scheduled over the next few days, I must say that we are having second thoughts about not having done the same. This is what the management of one nearby apartment complex sent out to residents:

    November 2nd

    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Day After Day Demand Trump/Pence Out Now!
    Independence Mall

    9:00 PM
    Justice for Walter Wallace, Jr.
    Location TBA

    November 3 – Protests / Events

    7:00 AM
    Election Day Results Protest
    Philadelphia City Hall – 1400 JFK Blvd.

    9:00 AM
    4 Day Blitz to Defeat Trump
    TBA Philadelphia

    5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
    Standing in Solidarity for Racial Justice
    6511 Lincoln Dr.
    Unitarian Society of Germantown

    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Election Night Gathering
    Independence Mall at 525 Market Street

  3. Stu- I am fully confident that if Biden wins, Trump supporters will not take to the streets, loot and destroy property. Perhaps some loud horn honking and angry flag waving. If Trump should win, the lunatics on the left Will engage in violence to manifest their Trump Derangement Syndrome. And the media and some liberals will sympathize and justify their actions. Frankly, I am with the horn honkers and flag wavers. Come Wednesday, they will go to work and get on with their lives

  4. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    I recall a famous quotation from FDR:

    “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

    We should go out and see American courage assemble.

    H.G. Callaway

  5. Stood in line for two hours this morning, with several people wearing TRUMP hats, and a bunch of probably Biden voters, too. I heard no rude comments, heard no threats, just saw a bunch of people from both sides of the aisle enjoying a brisk fall morning, making chit chat and in good humor overall. The strength of our nation is our ability to hand off government to the incoming party (no matter whom) and peacefully — mostly — march into the future. I suspect the big cities, in the chokehold of the left, can’t deal with other points of view. Thus, riots and mayhem. Philadelphia: great potential, but mismanaged for years and years. That, my friends, is the real tragedy.

  6. Hi Stu. We won’t find out who won PA until after the mail-in ballots are counted. Thanks to state Republican intransigence, ballots couldn’t start to be tallied until 7 am. today, instead of in advance, like in other, voter-friendly states.
    P.S. I’m sick & tired of Trump bashing PA in general, and Philadelphia, specifically.

  7. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    I was out to vote this morning, and I saw nothing exceptional or unusual. Everyone waited patiently in line, the poll workers were helpful and thanked everyone for voting.

    Where I stood in line, the people were chatty; and we exchanged stories about the city. No one asked about voting preferences, and everyone thought it important to vote.

    I will certainly accept the outcome; and I think that the alarm and forebodings are vastly overdone in the media. Whatever the problems, we will solve them. It may take a few days.

    H.G. Callaway

  8. I worked the polls this AM and I’m to pleased to report there were no incidents. Very impressed w/the number of young and 1st time voters!

    ( for some, yes. not for me )
    Chester County is at 57% as of 7:00 a.m.. Too close to call for the Presidency. All state positions are swinging right except for two. My guy is getting trounced in the heavy dim precincts. We tried.
    I worked the poll all day in my area. From what I heard throughout our district. Chester County had no trouble. Heavy lines upon opening the polls. Large mail in ballot count.
    The process will eventually show a winner – and loser. Hopefully, America will accept the outcome.

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