To many of us, perhaps the only thing more surprising than Donald Trump's astonishing Election Day victory over Hillary Clinton has been the sustained, hysterical reaction of Clinton's supporters to her defeat.
Maybe we shouldn't be so surprised. After all, anti-Trump activists expressed their displeasure repeatedly throughout his campaign: attempting to shut down his events, and actually succeeding in Chicago; assaulting Trump supporters, including punching them, spitting on them, pelting them with eggs; damaging property with small-scale rioting; instigating clashes with police.
We support the First Amendment right of the people to express their opinions, whatever those opinions may be, in respectful, thoughtful, nonviolent ways. But the thuggery of these raucous anti-Trumpists went too far and undermined the message of opposition that their more benign brethren wanted to convey.
Yet, the pre-election preview did not prepare many of us for what has happened since Nov. 9, and continued through at least last week, when more Trump haters were arrested in Portland.
Now, anti-Trumpists are urging the delegates to the Electoral College to vote for Clinton and deny Trump the presidency.
The Constitution mandates that each state's delegates to the College formally select the president after the voters go to the polls. The delegates, whose numbers equal each state's congressional representation, typically are party stalwarts and don't waver in supporting whomever won the popular vote in their state. But on rare occasions — 157 times throughout our nation's history — "faithless electors" opt to support someone other than the candidate who carried their state.
One anti-Trump call to reverse the election night results comes from a petition at Change.org, which has gathered 4.6 million signatures in the effort to encourage the electors to abandon Trump. Proponents argue that Clinton's roughly 2 million-vote lead in the nationwide popular vote illustrates the will of the people, not the Electoral College, which Trump leads by a 306-232 margin.
In a way we can appreciate the passion of Clinton's backers. After having been fed near-daily media reports for more than a year that she was destined to be the next occupant of the White House, these true believers undoubtedly were shocked by Trump's win.
People don't have to like Trump personally or his policies, yet perpetual tantrums that dismiss our two-century-old process for electing presidents, sow doubt about the legitimacy of our system and demean Trump supporters as racist and sexist are risky to the continued stability of our country.
REPRINTED FROM THE NORTHWEST FLORIDA DAILY NEWS