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.
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?
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.