While students across the country have taken to the streets in protest, for most locally, the response has been commentary. S.C. ACLU Co-President Joann Day from Columbia this week said the nonpartisan organization’s response follows others waiting in a holding pattern.
Donald Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton to win last week’s presidential election spawned a variety of responses around the country. Locally, that response has been relegated to muted acceptance with some protests from area students.
Others are waiting to see how the Trump administration will develop. He’s so far appointed two cabinet members – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff and media executive, businessman and Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon as senior counsel to the president. Both are considered staunchly conservative. Bannon has been described as a white supremacist.
National Action Network Vice President for Religious Affairs and External Relations Rev. Nelson Rivers said Trump’s presidential campaign was all about white supremacy. Who Trump hires for his cabinet tells us who he is, Rivers said. “It will take years to unfold how Donald Trump won the election, but we know it was all about white supremacy. White supremacy trumps all,” he said.
Day’s comments were less inciting, but she agreed Trump’s campaign contributed to one of the most divisive elections in memory. “They went into the elections divided and came out divided,” she said. “The tenor and tone of the election was discouraging. We hope the tenor and tone will change.”
South Carolina Progressive Network Executive Director Bret Bursey issued a call to action. “Mr. Trump’s victory is going to make it easier to organize the shift from a thing oriented society to a people oriented society,” he said. “Too many in the white working class have been led to believe that poor people, minorities and immigrants have caused their problems. Now that their Republican champions hold all the power, they will soon find themselves in the same state and perhaps understand who their real enemies are, as well as their real allies.
“The majority party (Republican) has, over the past 23 years, drawn political district maps to insure they remain the majority party. 78% of voters in SC had only one major party candidate to vote for Tuesday. Most of our legislators are chosen in the primary by fewer than 12% of the voting age population they represent. This is not what democracy looks like. All over the nation people are pondering what to do in the face of this civic disaster. What Modjeska Simkins said during the days that black citizens couldn’t vote is important to repeat now that there’s little salvation at the ballot box, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is no sitting down time.”
S.C. Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison issued a statement after the election saying, “To say that I am disappointed in last night’s (Nov. 8) results would be an understatement. The implications will take some time to fully assess, process, and come to terms with. but the time for reflection must be brief, and must be followed by action.
“As the minority party in both Washington and South Carolina next year, Democrats must seek to work collaboratively across the aisle when we see opportunities to do well. When no such opportunities are available, we must clearly lay out the stakes and offer an alternative vision to our fellow citizens. In a democracy, there are no permanent victories and no permanent defeats. We must fight to ensure that last night’s defeat is as temporary as possible and that its negative consequences are minimized, especially for the most vulnerable.”
One local legislator speaking candidly said political deals that were cut in anticipation of a Clinton victory have been dashed. But unsuccessful First Congressional District challenger Dimitri Cherny’s visions of ending the slow decline of our communities, effectively providing reparations to the next generation, and kick-starting an entrepreneurial renaissance in America still are vivid, he said. Pastor Thomas Dixon, who failed in his challenge to win the U.S. Senate seat in South Carolina against Sen. Tim Scott, said such visions only have been delayed.